Google Chrome will offer Advanced Protection users the ability to send risky files to Google for scanning
Google’s Advanced Protection Program is the company’s strongest security for “those who need it most.” This program can safeguard personal or business Google accounts of anyone at risk of targeted attacks, like political campaigns, journalists, business leaders, etc. While it’s not something most people need, it is available to anyone. Back in March 2020, Google announced that the program will block the sideloading of non-Play Store apps on Android. Now, the company is offering users within the program the ability to send risky files to Google for scanning from within Google Chrome.
Google Chrome is expanding on its download scanning options for users of Advanced Protection. In August 2019, Chrome had already begun warning users in the program when a downloaded file may be malicious. Now, in addition to this warning, Chrome will also give them the ability to send risky files to be scanned Google Safe Browsing’s full suite of malware detection tech before opening the file. These cloud-hosted scans will significantly improve Google’s ability to detect when these files are malicious.
Safe Browsing already performs a quick check whenever a file is downloaded, using metadata such as hashes, and presents an evaluation on whether the file is potentially suspicious. For downloads that are deemed risky but not very clearly unsafe, the user under the Advanced Protection Program will be presented with a warning and the ability to send the file to be scanned. If you do agree to send the file, Chrome will upload it to Google Safe Browing, which will scan it using its static and dynamic analysis techniques in real-time. After a short wait, if Safe Browsing determines the file is unsafe, Chrome will warn the user. As always, users can bypass the warning and open the file without scanning, if they are confident the file is safe. Safe Browsing deletes uploaded files a short time after scanning, though Google has not specifically declared this time span.
You can join the Advanced Protection Program here.