Google Chrome Launches New Tools That Flag Suspicious Sites, Blocks Deceptive URLs

Posted: Jun 19 2019, 5:58am CDT | by , in Technology News


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Google Chrome launches new tools that flag suspicious sites, blocks deceptive URLs
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Some users, however, raised concerns about how the safety extension flags companies that are outside the top 5,000 sites online.

As more internet users now become susceptible to deceptive websites that ultimately steal user information, among other things, web browsers have also come up with solutions to protect their users against attempts to infringe personal information.

Google Chrome on Tuesday unveiled two new measures to address security concerns, including an extension that flags suspicious sites, as well as a new warning to protect users from sites with deceptive URLs.

The new features build on Google’s existing Google Safe Browsing blacklist service, which has been existing for over ten years. The service offers lists of URLs that contain malware or phishing content. Other than Chrome, other web browsers such as Safari and Firefox also use the lists to scan for possible threats to web pages.

In a blog post announcing the two new tools, Chrome Product Manager Emily Schechter said the Suspicious Site Reporter extension helps Google Safe Browsing by reporting suspicious sites. When installed, an icon of the tool will appear alongside other extensions on the right hand side of the browser if a user visits a suspicious site.

The icon is triggered whenever the tool finds that a website uses domain with uncommon characters, when the website is not among the top 5,000 sites online, or when it has not been visited in the last three months.

The extension will provide more details about why it tagged the site as suspicious. A click of the icon automatically sends the site to the Chrome team for further assessment. The report includes the URL, its IP address, a screenshot of the page, DOM content including the HTML of the site, as well as a chain to the referrer, or the user.

This way, if a site is found to be safe, it will be added to Safe Browsing’s lists so that further access to the site by other users will no longer be flagged as suspicious.

Schechter further warned against websites that trick users with their confusing URLs that often misspell a known website’s address. This is commonly used by phishing attackers who seek to penetrate people’s personal accounts. To combat this, Chrome is launching a new warning to direct users away from sites that have confusing URLs.

The warning is almost similar to Chrome’s “Your connection is not private” message whenever a user attempts to open websites that could harness information.
With the new “Continue to” warning message, users are prompted to either continue opening a site which they do not usually visit, or to go back.
“This new warning works by comparing the URL of the page you’re currently on to URLs of pages you’ve recently visited. If the URL looks similar, and might cause you to be confused or deceived, we’ll show a warning that helps you get back to safety,” Schechter said.
As of writing time, Google Chrome’s Suspicious Site Reporter has been downloaded by 25 users. However, majority of those who reviewed the extension criticized the tool. A number of them are concerned about the inclusion of sites that are outside the top 5,000 most visited websites online.
“It might be nice to have thresholds — e.g. ‘Site not in top 5K’ vs. ‘Site not in top 15k’ vs. ‘Site not in top 50k’ because there are absolutely tons of legit sites not in the top 5k,” according to one user.

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/81" rel="author">Mandy Jean</a>
Mandy covers the latest news in Tech and Business.




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