|Operating system||Android, Chrome OS, Windows, macOS, iOS, Web browsers|
Google Safe Browsing is a service from Google that attempts to help protect devices by showing warnings to users when they attempt to navigate to dangerous sites or download dangerous files. Safe Browsing also notifies webmasters when their websites are compromised by malicious actors and helps them diagnose and resolve the problem so that their visitors stay safe. Safe Browsing protections work across Google products and are claimed to “power safer browsing experiences across the Internet”. It lists URLs for web resources that contains malware or phishing content. Browsers like Google Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Vivaldi, Brave and GNOME Web use these lists from Google Safe Browsing service to check pages against potential threats. Google also provides a public API for the service.
Google also provides information to Internet service providers, by sending e-mail alerts to autonomous system operators regarding threats hosted on their networks.
According to Google -as of September 2017- over 4 billion Internet devices are protected by this service. Alternatives are offered by both Tencent and Yandex.
Google maintains the Safe Browsing Lookup API, which has a privacy drawback: "The URLs to be looked up are not hashed so the server knows which URLs the API users have looked up". The Safe Browsing Update API, on the other hand, compares 32-bit hash prefixes of the URL to preserve privacy. The Chrome, Firefox and Safari browsers use the latter.
Safe Browsing also stores a mandatory preferences cookie on the computer.
Google Safe Browsing "conducts client-side checks. If a website looks suspicious, it sends a subset of likely phishing and social engineering terms found on the page to Google to obtain additional information available from Google's servers on whether the website should be considered malicious". Logs, which include an IP address and one or more cookies, are kept for two weeks and are tied to the other Safe Browsing requests made from the same device.
Websites not containing malware have been blacklisted by Google Safe Browsing due to the presence of infected ads. Requesting removal from the blacklist requires the webmaster to create a Google Webmaster's Tool account and wait several days for removal to come into effect. There have also been concerns that Google Safe Browsing may be used for censorious purposes in the future, however this has not yet occurred.
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