Google Chrome announced plans to protect people from insecure downloads


The internet is replete with viruses and bugs that are hidden in folders that phish files and bank details once opened. These corrupt folders are usually acquired through insecure and unsafe downloads from unverified websites and links. In the past 6 months alone, almost 12 million computers were affected by different types of viruses and bugs. To make surfing the internet safe and secure, Google had announced plans for desktop platforms that will protect people’s computers from insecure downloads.

The Chrome browser software will ensure that only secure HTTPS pages will be allowed to download files.  This software is a big step towards securing data of Chrome users. Before this, Chrome didn’t use to notify their users of insecure downloads that might corrupt their desktops. Google is planning to roll out the new chrome in different phases. With each phase tackling those issues and bugs first that pose the most threat to computers. This method of introducing the chrome will also give web developers a chance to modify their websites according to guidelines. These guidelines provided by Google and thus giving them ample time before the chrome is introduced fully.

The desktop Rollout plan for insecure downloads

The following are the plans for the desktop rollout to protect users from insecure downloads

  • Chrome 81 – This particular version will be released in the month of March 2020 and will print a console warning every time an insecure download is made from an unknown HTTP website.
  • Chrome 82 – This version will be released in the month of April 2020 will print console & user warnings for the unverified executable folders like .exe files.
  • Google Chrome 83 – This version will be released in the month of June 2020 and will have the capability to completely block downloads of mixed content executables from all unverified and insecure websites. The version will also warn about insecure archives (.zip) and disk images (.iso) files too.
  • Chrome 84 – This version will be released in the month of August  2020. This version will block mixed content files like archives and disk images and will print warnings for other downloads too except for images, video, and audio files.
  • Chrome 85 – This version will be released in the month of September 2020 and will have the capability to print warnings for downloads of images, audio, and video files from unverified websites and will block all other mixed content downloads from such sites.
  • Chrome 86 & Later – This version will be released in the month of October 2020 and would be the final version of the software. It would have the capability to block all mixed content downloads from insecure websites.

Other Platforms (iOS, Android)

Google will delay the chrome software’s rollout in Android and iOS by one version. This means that the warnings for mixed content downloads will start from Chrome 83 instead of Chrome 82. This will give the developers to tweak their websites accordingly for the mobile version of Chrome. Also, It will give them an ample amount of time to do so. The mobile platform would have to make do with their native protection until all the versions are released.

Take Away

In this era of insecurity and personal data being stolen or phished and privacy reduced to being just a term, Google is making commendable strides in the field of data security and privacy. With the new versions of Chrome being rolled out in the subsequent months, the chrome browser would be able to prevent the downloading of files and folders from unknown and unverified websites that might contain viruses and bugs in them.

Websites that contain these viruses could capture personal information from the desktops which might have devastating results on an individual. For example, the bank statement that is given by the bank’s website is not encrypted and can be acquired by a phishing virus that might have entered the desktop from an insecure download done from the internet. As for the mobile platform, Google will be giving developers time to change their websites in accordance with the new set of regulations so that Android and iOS users would encounter fewer warnings while downloading files and folders from secure and verified websites.

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