Google is expanding its Safe Browsing protection tool to block deceptive download buttons online.
The Web is vast and full of useful information, but it's also full of traps and tricky websites that con unsuspecting users. Social engineering refers to the various ways in which some websites trick people into clicking on bad links or downloading things they don't intend to download.
Google pledged to fend off social engineering scams with Safe Browsing, and it's now expanding the feature to combat fake download buttons as well.
"You may have encountered social engineering in a deceptive download button, or an image ad that falsely claims your system is out of date," Google explains. "Today, we're expanding Safe Browsing protection to protect you from such deceptive embedded content, like social engineering ads."
Safe Browsing is available for Google's Chrome browser and Android, displaying a warning screen to notify users when they're about to visit a harmful site. Google also shared the information security through a "safe browsing" application that works with Mozilla's Firefox and Apple's Safari, aiming to eliminate harmful browser software and protect as many Web users as possible.
In addition to protecting users from malicious websites that attempt to con them into giving up their credentials or install malware disguised as something else, Google's Safe Browsing now goes after embedded content as well.
Such embedded content scams target ads, and they're a bit tougher to combat because they're generally integrated right into the Web page. They replace legitimate content and look like they're the real deal, part of the page itself, but that's all just for show.
Simply put, embedded content can take the form of ads and attempt to con users into installing updates or applications that don't really exist.
One of the most common types of embedded content presents itself as a download button, oftentimes placed right beneath, or beside the real download button or link. When these fake download buttons also match the theme of the website in question, they're even harder to distinguish and they manage to trick more users.
To reduce such risks, Google's Safe Browsing will now flag deceptive content and display obvious warnings regarding the malicious activities. At the same time, Google will also notify Web page owners of the embedded content found on their pages. If visitors regularly encounter such warnings on a website, Google will flag the whole website and owners will have to ensure everything is safe.