Chrome browser will block malware downloads

The new security feature is being tested publicly in a pre-release version of the browser

Google has developed a security feature for Chrome that lets the browser detect and stop malware downloads.

Browser hijacking and other browser-based malware infections are on the rise and Google needs to protect Chrome users with native security features, the company said. It is testing the feature in a pre-release version of the browser.

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"Online criminals have been increasing their use of malicious software that can silently hijack your browser settings. This has become a top issue in the Chrome help forums; we're listening and are here to help," wrote Linus Upson, a Google vice president, in a blog post.

The security feature will trigger an alert, displayed in the download tray at the bottom of the screen, saying that Chrome blocked a malware file from being downloaded. Malicious hackers typically disguise these files as harmless applications, like screensavers and even security updates, to trick users into downloading them.

When installed, this type of malware software wrests control of the browser from users, changing settings, such as the default home page, and displaying unwanted ads.

Google has added the capability to Chrome Canary, a very early pre-release version of the browser that is intended for developers and tech-savvy end users because it "can sometimes break down completely."

Google didn't immediately respond to a request for more details about the way this feature works. Since antivirus products often step over each other when run simultaneously on the same computer, it remains to be seen if this new Chrome functionality will trigger conflicts for people who use other security software.

Chrome already lets users reset their browser settings and alerts them when they're about to visit a site that the company has identified as dangerous.

Juan Carlos Perez covers enterprise communication/collaboration suites, operating systems, browsers and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Juan on Twitter at @JuanCPerezIDG.

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