Expanding on its Safe Browsing feature that blocks many types of malicious websites and downloads, Google announced today that it is making it more difficult for malware to secretly install Chrome extensions on Windows machines. The search-engine giant is planning to do this by restricting installation of extensions only if they are hosted on the Chrome Web Store.
In its Chrome blog, Google explains that malware can alter how Chrome works by discreetly installing extensions on the machine. These extensions then perform unwanted functions like inject ads or track browsing activity. Like Google mentions, we’ve noticed this happen on multiple occasions with strange advertisements cropping up from time to time, broken web pages or slow browsing speeds after installing the new extensions/plugins. We have spent hours trying to uninstall unwanted extensions and welcome this move by Google.
“From now on, to protect Windows users from this kind of attack, extensions can be installed only if they’re hosted on the Chrome Web Store,” said Google the blog post. “With this change, extensions that were previously installed may be automatically disabled and cannot be re-enabled or re-installed until they’re hosted in the Chrome Web Store.”
The new policy only applies to Windows machines running a stable version of Chrome and that it will have no effect on PCs running Windows’ Canary and Dev channel builds of Chrome, as well as users running Mac, Linux or Chrome OS variants of Google’s browser.
With the recent release of Chrome 35, Google has decided that it’s finally time to flip the switch. The hope is that this will limit the amount of malicious extensions installed on Chrome for Windows, although at the expense of Windows users being able to install any extension they want.