Reading the security features of the new Chrome on beta release from Google might look like a release from a new antivirus software or internet security suite, but Chrome 17 for Windows has its beta update released for Windows that comes with changes to its browsing behavior. The beta release features download scanning technology that is standard in all internet security software.
This features stands out among other bug fixes and functional updates to be found on Google’s Chrome beta. The enhancement to its security behavior expands its safe browsing algorithm to enable it to scan and block malicious code from online downloads on top of the websites being visited. It will analyze installation files the browser downloads starting with executable EXE and MSI Windows files.
While the beta for Windows, Linux, Mac, and Chrome Frame has just been released today, the search engine giant has not confirmed if the scan will cover other file types for Windows as well as installer files for Linux and Mac operating systems. The new feature is said to have the advantage of being able to detect and block ransomware or “fake antivirus”, among other online malware. This makes it more potent than many of the standalone antivirus software on the market, including freeware.
The scanning engine works as you type in the URL address on the location bar or what Google calls the “omnibox”, Chrome 17 loads or pre-renders the page almost instantly in the background, according to a software engineer from Google, Dominic Harmon, on his blog site that announced the beta update. That’s when the scanning and blocking starts if it detects suspicious code in the pre-rendered page.
While the added security is most welcome against future online threats, it’s a bit late in coming, like closing the door after a burglar has already crept into the house. Fake antivirus codes have been in the wild for years now, plaguing Windows and making some notable attacks on the Mac. Not to rain down on the parade, but Chrome’s security powers is not new as a similar technology is being enjoyed by users of the Silk Browser on Amazon’s new Kindle Fire. Nevertheless, other browsers may learn from it.