Google started blocking websites using deceptive content in a new bid to make our browsing experience safer. The Safe Browsing feature now has an extended scope. We’re all familiar with the warning red page that pops out when accessing a dodgy search result.
Now, Safe Browsing will also roll out to block websites using deceptive content. Since November last year Google announced that it has a zero-tolerance policy towards websites using ‘social engineering attacks’. The added scope of Safe Browsing now extends to adverts under the same umbrella. What is deceptive content? For once, that fun multitude of fake download buttons sported on some websites.
Playing ‘finding Waldo’ when you’re looking for the right download button may turn into an adventure. Often, clicking the wrong download button results in malware being installed on your device. Another instance of deceptive content are those annoying pop-up pages prompting immediate action against alleged malware infections. Revealing sensitive information is often associated with such deceptive content.
Taking note of such lurking dangers, Google started blocking website using deceptive content. The newly introduced measure will be rolling out gradually. With millions of websites out there, it will take a while for Google to figure out which exact websites are targeted offenders. Safe Browsing isn’t news. The security feature has been around for years. Google has gradually expanded Safe Browsing’s scope to address more and more online threats.
Blocking websites that use deceptive content is just the latest addition to an otherwise already useful feature. Back in November, Google defined ‘social engineering attacks’ as:
“deceptive tactics that try to trick you into doing something dangerous”.
Beyond this at large definition, Google also announced on the security blog that social engineering attacks come from entities which may mimic a trusted, familiar entity such as your browser or device, or even the website you are visiting. These attacks will generally prompt you to reveal sensitive information which you would normally do with a trusted entity.
Safe Browsing will now act on Apple Safari, Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox browsers. Any detected deceptive content will draw the blocking of the website. Before this happens we’ll be warned by a pop up alert signaling the type of embedded deceptive content. This is huge considering a host of issues can be thus avoided. Wishful thinking or not, as Google started blocking websites using deceptive content, the end draws near for such practices.
Photo Credits: jisc.ac.uk