Google helps network admins block dodgy software

Safe Browsing Alerts for network administrators extended to include unwanted software and social engineering

Network admins are about to get more help from Google protecting users from dodgy websites. 

Google has for five years offered warnings  called Safe Browsing Alerts by the company  to registered network administrators, letting them known when it spots dodgy URLs on their networks. 

That is now being expanded to also include unwanted or malicious software, as well as social engineering traps. 

That includes "deceptive websites that trick users into performing unwanted actions", Google software engineer, Nav Jagpal, said in a blog post

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In terms of software, "unwanted" does not mean Google will help admins block staff from running legitimate but sometimes unwanted apps, such as network hogging Spotify or download tools. 

Instead, it describes "unwanted" as having "harmful software traits such as modifying users' browsers experience unexpected ways and performing unwanted ad injections."

Google dubs such unwanted software "UwS" (and claims to pronounce it "ooze"). Last year, it created a Cleanup Tool to remove dodgy software that has been designed to be difficult to un-install. 

Google said that 1,300 network administrators already use the URL scanning protection, with 250 reports sent out each day.

"Network administrators can use the data provided by our service to gain insights into the security and quality of their network," Jagpal said. "By working together, we can make it more challenging and expensive for attackers to profit from user harm."

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