Last year, Google brought the Advanced Protection Program to its browser. APP in Chrome is now letting users send risky files to the cloud for a thorough malware scan.

The Advanced Protection Program bundles together Google’s strongest security measures to “secure people at higher risk of targeted online attacks.” This includes activists, journalists, and political campaigns. 

Since last August, Advanced Protection in Chrome has warned about or blocked malware and other “risky downloads” that are considered to be drive-by downloads. Google noted how attackers have moved away from sending malicious files over email give how Gmail scans incoming attachments and URLs.

APP is now giving Chrome users the option to send risky files to the cloud where Google will scan it with “Safe Browsing’s full suite of malware detection technology.” Static and dynamic analysis techniques are leveraged, while files are deleted a “short time after scanning.”

When a user downloads a file, Safe Browsing will perform a quick check using metadata, such as hashes of the file, to evaluate whether it appears potentially suspicious. For any downloads that Safe Browsing deems risky, but not clearly unsafe, the user will be presented with a warning and the ability to send the file to be scanned.

A “short wait” is required, and a warning is returned if a file is deemed unsafe. Users have the option to disregard the alert and open without scanning. 

Google expects “cloud-hosted scans to significantly improve [its] ability to detect when these files are malicious.” Chrome and APP will continue to add new features as threats evolve over time.

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