Google is expanding its Advanced Protection Program to its Chrome browser. If you’re an Advanced Protection Program user and you have sync turned on in Chrome, you will now automatically receive stronger protections against risky downloads.
Google didn’t go into much detail regarding the protections, likely not to publicly give away how they work. But the company did say that when users attempt to download “certain risky files,” Chrome will now show additional warnings, or in some cases even block the downloads outright. The warnings are, however, only available in Chrome for Windows, Mac, and Linux. Google is not rolling out the Advanced Protection Program to Chrome for Android and iOS.
Google announced the Advanced Protection Program in October 2017. The program is designed for individual Google accounts that may be more susceptible to being compromised via tactics such as phishing scams or through sharing access to Google data with malicious third-party applications. In short, the Advanced Protection Program helps prevent cyberattacks against activists, business leaders, journalists, politicians, and other high-profile targets.
Google expanded the program to cover Apple’s native iOS apps in May 2018 and let G Suite admins enroll high-profile users last week. Now the company is making the program even more proactive by leveraging its browser.
Since day one, Advanced Protection users have gotten malware protections beyond what Gmail already offers. It’s been too effective. “As a result, attackers are shifting their strategies to threaten Advanced Protection users outside of email,” Google says. The company now wants to also protect against drive-by downloads — malicious files unknowingly downloaded by users as they browse the web. “While Chrome protects all users against malware, Advanced Protection users will get an even stronger level of protection,” Google added. Hopefully Google will find a way to bring those protections to all Chrome users one day.