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Google's Chrome Gets Serious About Security

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    NEWSLETTERS

    As of December 2011, Chrome was used by 34.6 percent of internet audience. Firefox holds a slim lead with 37.7 percent.

    A new patch for Google's Chrome 16 browser squashed three high-risk bugs, causing some to wonder how secure the second-most popular browser is.

    Google is releasing "Safe Browsing" in  a new version of the browser, called Chrome 17, according to the Google Chrome Blog. Right now that version is in beta, but will likely released the final version later this month.

    On the security front, improvements to Chrome’s Safe Browsing technology should help protect you from additional types of malware attacks. Previously, Chrome focused primarily on protecting you from sites that would exploit your computer with no user interaction required. Now, we’re seeing an increase in malicious websites that try to convince you to download and run a file that will harm your computer. Some websites even pretend this malicious file is a free anti-virus product.

    Although Google is quick to remind us all that "no technical mechanism can ever protect you completely from malicious downloads," Chrome 17 will analyze executable files (such as .exe and .msi) and compare them with flagged sites and files. For some, this sounds an awful lot like Microsoft's Internet Explorer 9's Application Reputation which also analyzes files and sites to figure out if it's a known application with an established reputation, according to Computerworld. (But isn't imitation the sincerest form of flattery?)

    Google is also awarding $1,000 bounties for software bugs (it just gave $2,000 away last week,) and paid out $180,000 last year.

    Either way, users can only be happy that Chrome is becoming safer. It's now used by 1 in 4 people (25.69 percent) and that means it's becoming a bigger target for malware and viruses. Google now has to become more vigilant and proactive to make sure its product is secure enough to attract more users.