Google Chrome could soon save you from malware extensions | Digital Trends

Google Chrome could soon save you from malware extensions | Digital Trends

This Google Chrome feature may save you from malware

Alex Blake


There are probably hundreds of thousands of Google Chrome extensions out there, and with so many options to choose from, it can be hard to know whether the plugin you want to install is hiding malware nasties.

That could become a thing of the past, though, as Google is testing a feature that will warn you if an extension you installed has been removed from its Chrome Web Store.

Dennizn / Shutterstock

Yanking an extension from the store usually means Google has discovered it contains malware or is otherwise harmful, so getting a warning this way could prompt you to remove it from your computer before it’s too late.

The issue of browser extensions that pose a threat to users has become something of a problem for Google, with one estimate saying up to half of all Chrome extensions could be violating user privacy. Given its popularity and the large number of people who consider it to be one of the best browsers out there, Chrome is a large and tempting target for hackers.

Staying safe

A MacBook with Google Chrome loaded.
Firmbee / Unsplash

Malware extensions are often promoted through scam ads, bringing them to a large audience of potential victims. They can be (and often are) produced very quickly, and new ones pop up all the time. As fast as Google removes harmful extensions from its store, others appear in their place.

And while the new security feature would warn you about extensions that have been removed from the Chrome Web Store, it won’t actually remove them from your machine. That means users could simply ignore the warnings and leave the hazardous software in place.

Still, it’s better to have a warning than nothing at all. Google is apparently planning to roll out the new feature in Chrome 117, but it can be tested in Chrome 116 if you enable its Extensions Module in Safety Check feature. To do so, paste ‘chrome://flags/#safety-check-extensions’ into the Chrome address bar and press Enter. Enable the Extensions Module in Safety Check feature and restart your browser.

Tracking your extensions

Google Drive in Chrome on a MacBook.
Digital Trends

Once the new tool is enabled, it will appear in Chrome’s settings under the Privacy and Security section. Under a “Safety check” heading, Chrome will prompt you to review any extensions that have been removed from its store.

Clicking the prompt will take you to a page listing the extensions in question. Helpfully, it will also explain why each extension was removed, including whether they contain malware.

Aside from being potentially dangerous, extensions can be removed because their developer unpublished them or because they violated Google’s policies. Even if they are free from malware, you should still uninstall removed extensions because they could quickly become outdated and ripe for exploitation by hackers.

Because of that, it’s a good idea to keep an eye on this settings page and keep track of any extensions you have installed. You never know, it could spare you the headache of a virus infection or data loss.

Editors’ Recommendations

Alex Blake

In ancient times, people like Alex would have been shunned for their nerdy ways and strange opinions on cheese. Today, he…

Google Chrome’s latest update solves the browser’s biggest problem

Google Chrome icon in mac dock.

Google Chrome is one of the best browsers around, but it’s always had a big problem with memory usage. It’s finally addressing the issue in a new Chrome 110 update that promises to reduce RAM usage by up to 30% and make the browser for efficient.

Chrome has a reputation for its speed, security, and feature drops, as well as a penchant for hanging on to your precious RAM like an episode of Hoarders. Granted, Google has made strides in improving Chrome’s memory efficiency by hibernating tabs in the background, but it still struggles with it compared to Microsoft Edge or Mozilla Firefox.

Read more

Chrome’s take on Nvidia DLSS is set to launch, but you can’t use it yet

Three RTX 4080 cards sitting on a pink background.

Exciting new Nvidia tech is coming to Google Chrome, and on the browser side, the update is ready. We’re talking about Nvidia’s RTX Video Super Resolution (VSR), which is said to support upscaling up to 4K.

However, if you’re itching to try it out, we have some bad news — you can’t use it just yet.

Read more

Google may have just fixed Chrome’s most annoying problem

A Macbook with Google Chrome opened to a Gmail inbox.

While Google Chrome is one of the best web browsers, over the years it has gained a reputation for being something of a resource hog, gobbling up your PC’s memory like it’s going out of style. That can be a problem if you’re running other resource-heavy tasks and don’t want things to slow down. Now, Chrome has been updated with two new features that cut down on memory usage and extend your laptop’s battery life, according to Google. The changes are set to roll out today with the latest release of Chrome on desktop (version m108).The first new feature, dubbed Memory Saver, is designed to reduce the amount of memory Chrome’s tabs use. It does this by freeing up memory from inactive tabs, and putting them to sleep so they can’t monopolize your system’s resources. When you need to access the tabs again, they will be reloaded and become active. The goal of Energy Saver, meanwhile, is fairly self-explanatory — helping your laptop battery last longer — but it does so in a somewhat interesting way. When your battery drops to 20%, Chrome will try to prolong your battery life by “limiting background activity and visual effects for websites with animations and videos.”Presumably, this means Chrome will limit the kind of flashy effects that have made a comeback in web design in recent years. Google says that when these new features launch, users will still be able to customize them to their liking. You can disable either Memory Saver or Energy Saver (or both), and mark certain websites as exempt in Chrome’s settings. The changes could turn out to be important. While Chrome has managed to become the dominant Windows web browser and one of the best browsers for Mac, it has been plagued by poor memory management for years. If Memory Saver and Energy Saver are able to help ameliorate that — and make your battery last longer too — then Google might have gone some way to fixing Chrome’s biggest problem. Both Memory Saver and Energy Saver will be launched globally over the next few weeks. The features are coming to Chrome on Windows, macOS, and ChromeOS.

Read more

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *