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'Canary' Chrome chirps when it smells malware

Gregg Keizer | Nov. 4, 2013
Google expands on work since 2011 to keep attack code off personal computers

Google's malware blocking is part of its Safe Browsing API (application programming interface) and service, which Chrome, Apple's Safari and Mozilla's Firefox all access to warn customers of potentially dangerous websites before they reach them.

In Chrome's case, the malware warning stems not only from the Safe Browsing "blacklist" of dodgy websites, but according to NSS Labs, a security software testing company, also from the Content Agnostic Malware Protection (CAMP) technology that Google has baked into its implementation of Safe Browsing.

CAMP is a reputational technology, similar to Microsoft's SmartScreen Application Reputation (App Rep), which was first added to Internet Explorer in version 9 (IE9) in March 2011. Both CAMP and App Rep use a combination of whitelists, blacklists and algorithms to create a ranking of the probability that a download is legitimate software. Files that don't meet a set legitimacy bar trigger a warning.

Since Google started using CAMP, NSS Labs said in a report issued last week ( download PDF), Chrome's ability to spot and block malware has increased dramatically: From a 70% blocking rate in 2012 to 83% in 2013.

Users can try out the Canary build of Chrome by downloading it from Google's website.


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