Google has launched a new security feature aimed at protecting its Chrome browser from the malicious files which increasing numbers of people are tricked into downloading from web sites.
Starting with malicious Windows executables, the feature will be integrated into Chrome and will display a warning if a user attempts to download a file suspected of containing a malicious executable, explained Moheeb Abu Rajab of the Google security team in a blog post.
"This warning will be displayed for any download URL that matches the latest list of malicious web sites published by the Safe Browsing API," he said.
Drive-by-downloads may have been getting more press, but there is a growing need to protect against sites hosting free downloads which use social engineering techniques to get users to click on them.
"It's easy to find sites hosting free downloads that promise one thing but actually behave quite differently," said Rajab.
"These downloads may even perform actions without the user's consent, such as displaying spam ads, performing click fraud or stealing other users' passwords."
The latest security feature will be phased in for a small number of users who have subscribed to the Chrome development release channel, although the plan is to include it in the next stable release of the browser.
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