Google Chrome adds new security protections to warn you of bad extensions

Chromebox Chrome Logo
Chromebox Chrome Logo (Image credit: Jerry Hildenbrand / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • Google is introducing new protections in the Chrome browser for downloads and extensions.
  • Chrome will now warn users if an extension is not trusted by Enhanced Safe Browsing.
  • Users will have the ability to perform an enhanced check on a downloaded file if it's deemed potentially unsafe.

Google is rolling out a couple of improvements to Enhanced Safe Browsing on Chrome to help keep dangerous extensions and files from being downloaded and installed.

You can already easily manage all of your extensions in Chrome from a Chromebook. Now, when you attempt to install a new extension from the Chrome Web Store, a new dialogue will appear to warn you if the extension is not listed as trusted by Enhanced Safe Browsing. You can then choose to cancel the installation or continue through with the process.

Google Chrome Enhanced Safe Browsing Extension

Source: Google (Image credit: Source: Google)

Google states that apps will be deemed trustworthy if they adhere to the company's Program Policies, although it can take a few months for new developers to become trusted. As it stands, nearly 75% of extensions in the Chrome Web Store are considered trusted.

Google is also taking extra measures to ensure that downloaded files are safe. When you download a file, the Chrome browser will perform an initial scan of the metadata of potentially risky files to determine their safety. If the preliminary scan reveals that a file might be dangerous, you can push the file through a more comprehensive scan. If the file is determined dangerous, Chrome will block it.

Google Chrome Enhanced Safe Browsing Download

Source: Google (Image credit: Source: Google)

Google states that you can bypass both of these new measures if you choose, but it's obviously at your own risk. The company touts the track record of Enhanced Safe Browsing, saying that users "are successfully phished 35% less than other users" since its launch last year.

These new measures are examples of Google's focus on the safety of its users. Earlier this year, the company removed and disabled a popular Chrome extension after it was deemed harmful by reportedly introducing tracking software. With the improvements to Enhanced Safe Browsing, users will be more aware of the extensions and files they're downloading.

The new additions are coming to Chrome 91, which is widely available now, including all the best Chromebooks. You must enable Enhanced Safe Browsing, which can be found in Chrome settings under privacy and security > security > Enhanced protection.

Derrek Lee
Managing Editor

Derrek is the managing editor of Android Central, helping to guide the site's editorial content and direction to reach and resonate with readers, old and new, who are just as passionate about tech as we are. He's been obsessed with mobile technology since he was 12, when he discovered the Nokia N90, and his love of flip phones and new form factors continues to this day. As a fitness enthusiast, he has always been curious about the intersection of tech and fitness. When he's not working, he's probably working out.