Cybersecurity Insight

Google Stepping Up Safe Browsing Defenses

4 Feb

Many of us have lives that revolve around being “connected”, and we often don’t suspect someone could use the Internet for harm. Unfortunately, cyber crime is at it’s highest levels and this fact has companies like Google concerned for their users’ online safety. Most of the concern centers around malicious advertising and phishing, meaning a user is tricked by a hacker into providing private information to an otherwise trusted or known entity.

Up until recently there was little or no warning that you may be visiting a malicious page or clicking an untrusted advertisement. Google is combatting this new trend through Safe Browsing, the name of their technology and API that Google says is used, “to identify unsafe websites and notify users and web masters so they can protect themselves from harm.”

Google examines billions of URLs each day looking for unsafe websites. Many are legitimate sites that have been compromised in some way, and are classified as the following:

Malware Site: Often legitimate sites containing code that installs malware onto a user’s computer, often unbeknownst to the webmaster and site owner.

Phishing Site: Sites that attempt to trick a user into entering private information such as a username or password.

Safe Browsing is helping web masters and users alike by notifying them when they visit a site Google deems unsafe. So far, it seems like Safe Browsing is doing the job it set out to do: in July 2015 over one week, Google reported that over 60 Million users saw a threat notification, whereas in January 2016 the top number is about 20 Million. It shows that Google is helping users create their own safety nets on the web – or at least is helping sites stay out of trouble.

Google having this safeguard in place is a major step forward in protecting users and the websites they visit. However, the creators of these websites need to take ownership and protect their sites – utilize outside resources to do a deep dive into the network and back end work that goes into creating a well-oiled website. Having another player in the game will allow your company to focus on your end goal and also realize other areas that may be lacking in your cyber security.