Google has announced that it will expand the features of its advanced protection program so that users can send risky files to the company that will be scanned for malware and other threats.
The company first introduced its Advanced Protection Program (APP) three years ago to help protect the accounts of journalists, political organizations, activists and other users who are at greater risk of targeted online attacks.
APP users are already well protected against phishing attacks, so cyber criminals are now trying to trick them into downloading malicious files instead. In August last year, Google started warning APP users when they downloaded a file that could be harmful.
According to a new blog post However, the company is expanding its program by allowing users to send risky files to be scanned by the full suite of malware detection technology in Google Safe Browsing before opening the file. While this will further help protect users, Google also expects these cloud-hosted scans to significantly improve its own ability to detect malicious files.
Send risky files to Google
When a user of Google’s Advanced Protect program downloads a file, Safe Browsing first performs a quick check using metadata, including hashes of the file, to determine whether it appears suspicious.
For all downloads that Safe Browsing deems risky but not clearly unsafe, users will receive a warning and the option to send the file to be scanned.
If the user chooses to send the file to Google, Chrome uploads it to Google Safe Browsing, which then scans it in real time using static and dynamic analysis techniques. After a short wait, Chrome will notify the user if Safe Browser determines that the file is unsafe. Users can still bypass this warning and open a file without scanning it if they are sure the file is safe. For added security, Safe Browsing deletes all files uploaded to it shortly after they have been scanned.
For those looking for extra security for their online accounts, sign up for Google’s Advanced Protection Program is free and only takes a few minutes.