Google Safe Browsing Now Blocks “Deceptive Software”

From the Google Online Security blog:

Starting next week, we’ll be expanding Safe Browsing protection against additional kinds of deceptive software: programs disguised as a helpful download that actually make unexpected changes to your computer—for instance, switching your homepage or other browser settings to ones you don’t want.

I posted a comment asking:

How is it determined, and who determines, what software falls into this category and is therefore blocked?

However, this question has not been approved for publication, let alone answered :-( At Mozilla, we recognise exactly the behaviour this initiative is trying to stop, but without written criteria, transparency and accountability, this could easily devolve into “Chrome now blocks software Google doesn’t like.” Which would be concerning.

Firefox uses the Google Safe Browsing service but enhancements to it are not necessarily automatically reflected in the APIs we use, so I’m not certain whether or not Firefox would also be blocking software Google doesn’t like, and if it did, whether we would get some input into the list.

Someone else asked:

So this will block flash player downloads from https://get.adobe.com/de/flashplayer/ because it unexpectedly changed my default browser to Google Chrome?!

Kudos to Google for at least publishing that comment, but it also hasn’t been answered. Perhaps this change might signal a move by Google away from deals which sideload Chrome? That would be most welcome.

7 thoughts on “Google Safe Browsing Now Blocks “Deceptive Software”

  1. “At Mozilla, we recognise exactly the behaviour this initiative is trying to stop, but without written criteria, transparency and accountability, this could easily devolve into “Chrome now blocks software Google doesn’t like.” Which would be concerning.”

    Or perhaps Chrome and Firefox considering we will be using their API to check downloads?

    • Or perhaps Chrome and Firefox considering we will be using their API to check downloads?

      I covered that in the following paragraph…

  2. Mozilla would never want to arbitrarily block software without a good reason. A CEO sure, but not software.

  3. I have been experiencing almost any website that has a link and or video to be blocked by the “safe browsing” what-cha-ma-call-it.
    Tried to click on a Yahoo article that had a video… Blocked.
    Tried to access that same video through YouTube… Blocked.
    Searched and tried to access the video through ABC News… Blocked.
    This is now happening on almost every site which I never had a problem with before and very annoying.
    I really like Chrome and would like to keep it but if this persists… I will drop Google.

    • I don’t think it is Google Safe Browsing causing your problems – it shouldn’t block any of those things. Either you have a firewall, or anti-virus software, or some malware installed.

      • Thanks gerv… I am looking into it but may have found out at least part of the problem & solution.
        I was not “signed-in” to my Google account and the sites were being blocked. Once I signed in, I was able to access the sites with no hang-ups.
        I then “signed-out” and was still able to access the sites so I was thinking that once Google enables “cookies” or some other way of recognizing my computer, it enables these sites (and no more big red screen).