Chrome Cleanup Tool Enhancements Protect Users From Unwanted Software

New features have been added that gives Chrome for Windows users better protection against unwanted and unsafe software.

Chrome Cleanup Tool

Google has added new features in Chrome for Windows that it says will better protect users against from the risks of unwanted and potentially harmful software on their computers.

The new features complement the protections that are currently already available via the Chrome Safe Browsing service that identifies and alerts users when they navigate to potentially unsafe websites.

As part of the service, Google notifies webmasters and website owners about any potential security issues that its search engine crawlers might discover on their site so measures can be taken to address the flaws.

Google has claimed the Safe Browsing service identifies thousands of unsafe websites on a daily basis—many of them websites that have been compromised without the knowledge of the site owners or operators.

The new additions to Chrome that Google announced Monday are designed to address issues that manage to get past Safe Browsing protections. One of them helps warn users about browser settings that may have been reset without their knowledge or permission. Adware tools and some extensions for Chrome for instance can hijack and change settings, like a user's default search engine setting, without the user being aware of the change. 

"Now, when Chrome detects that user settings have been changed without your consent, it will offer to restore the modified settings," Google product manager Philippe Rivard announced Oct. 16 in Google's The Keyword blog.  "In the past month, this feature has helped millions of people recover from unwanted settings."

Google has also upgraded the technology behind its Chrome Cleanup tool for detecting and removing unwanted software. The company worked with security vendor ESET to integrate its browser sandbox technology with ESET's malware detection engine. 

The new sandbox engine is not a general-purpose antivirus tool, Rivard clarified. Rather, ESET's technology will improve Chrome Cleanup's ability to detect and remove unwanted software like stubborn pop-up ads, unwanted Chrome extensions, toolbars and browser redirecting software.

Google has begun rolling out the new capability to people using Chrome for Windows and it should become widely available over the next few days.

Another feature makes its easier for users to get details on any software that Chrome might have identified as risky or unwanted and to take action on it. When Chrome for Window detects potentially harmful software it serves up an alert to users offering to remove the software and restore their system to the original settings. The dialog box also gives users the option of declining the offer or getting more details on the software.

In a separate but security-related announcement Google said it has added a new site-blocking feature for customers of Google WiFi. The company touted as a capability that consumers can use to block access to more than 8 million websites that the company has identified as being risky for kids. The feature leverages Google's SafeSearch technology for blocking explicit results in Google Search.

Jaikumar Vijayan

Jaikumar Vijayan

Vijayan is an award-winning independent journalist and tech content creation specialist covering data security and privacy, business intelligence, big data and data analytics.