Feeds

Google Chrome will block out-of-date plug-ins

One-ups Mozilla

High performance access to file storage

Google will soon prevent insecure versions of plug-ins from running on top of its Chrome browser to make sure they don't contain security bugs that can be exploited by malicious websites.

In a blog post, members of Google's security team said the feature, to be delivered "medium-term," will prevent Chrome from running "certain out-of-date plug-ins." It will also help users find updates.

The announcement comes a few months after anti-virus maker F-Secure said Adobe's Reader application replaced Microsoft Word as the program that's most often exploited in targeted malware campaigns, like the one that Google disclosed in January that exposed sensitive intellectual property. F-Secure said the increase is "primarily because there has been more vulnerabilities in Adobe Acrobat/Reader than in the Microsoft Office applications." Other plug-ins such as Adobe's Flash Player and Oracle's Java Virtual Machine are also routinely attacked.

The ability to run scores of browser plug-ins makes it hard for users to keep their systems fully patched. Mozilla recently addressed this problem by notifying users who run out-of-date add-ons on top of Firefox. Google seems to be going one step further by blocking them altogether.

"Since many plug-ins are ubiquitous, they pose the most significant risk to our user base," the Google employees wrote.

The auto-blocking will join several other security features being baked into Chrome. Chief among them is a home-grown PDF reader integrated into Chrome that sports its own security sandbox. This is now available in a developer build. The stable Chrome includes a built-in Flash plug-in that Google will automatically update via the browser's existing update mechanism, which does not ask for the user's approval.

Chrome has long boasted one of the most advanced sandbox designs, which thwarts attacks by running individual windows and plug-ins in a separate process with limited access to the operating system kernel. Chrome was the only browser at the recent Pwn2Own hacker contest that wasn't exploited. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
This time it's 'Personal': new Office 365 sub covers just two devices
Redmond also brings Office into Google's back yard
Oh no, Joe: WinPhone users already griping over 8.1 mega-update
Hang on. Which bit of Developer Preview don't you understand?
Microsoft lobs pre-release Windows Phone 8.1 at devs who dare
App makers can load it before anyone else, but if they do they're stuck with it
Half of Twitter's 'active users' are SILENT STALKERS
Nearly 50% have NEVER tweeted a word
Internet-of-stuff startup dumps NoSQL for ... SQL?
NoSQL taste great at first but lacks proper nutrients, says startup cloud whiz
IRS boss on XP migration: 'Classic fix the airplane while you're flying it attempt'
Plus: Condoleezza Rice at Dropbox 'maybe she can find ... weapons of mass destruction'
Ditch the sync, paddle in the Streem: Upstart offers syncless sharing
Upload, delete and carry on sharing afterwards?
New Facebook phone app allows you to stalk your mates
Nearby Friends feature goes live in a few weeks
Microsoft TIER SMEAR changes app prices whether devs ask or not
Some go up, some go down, Redmond goes silent
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.