Being a whistleblower isn’t exactly what you might call the epitome of human interaction, but at times, it’s for the best. And no, I’m talking about becoming the job weasel because it’s not healthy nor productive. So, in my opinion, the best way to spill the beans is to tell father Google which website’s naughty or nice.
More specifically, Google has developed a new Chrome extension, which allows Internet silver surfers to flag down suspicious websites. The tool’s currently available for the desktop version, with no word about when the mobile one will come out.
Do I get any golden stars for ratting out a website?
Unfortunately, you won’t get any prizes for becoming the Internet’s whistleblower, but you can help your fellow surfers avert some nasty stuff like DoS and ransomware. Now that’s what I call putting back nobility in ignobility.
Anyway, Google’s latest gadget called the Suspicious Site Reporter, is part of a larger venture, one that aims to make surfing safe again. You can download and install the extension from Chrome’s store for free.
So, how does this work? Well, normally, when Chrome detects abnormal traffic or any other suspicious cues, it automatically displays the “return to safety message.”
However, there are times when the Safe Browsing tool doesn’t rise to expectations. That’s where this nifty extension comes into play – if you have reasons to suspect that a website is fake, you can fire up the report to send Google feedback.
Obviously, you will need to back up your claims for Google’s malware-sniffing guard dog to spring into action. This includes the website’s URL and your IP address.
You can opt to send additional details such as referrer chain, DOM content (which includes all HTML of the website), and a screenshot.
Now, the question at hand is how do I know when the time’s right to send the report? Well, according to Google, fake websites come with tell-tale signs. The most common are domains that use uncommon characters, low rank (the website is not in the top 5K sites) or low to zero traffic in the last three months.
Don’t worry too much of triggering a false alarm. Every report passes through Google’s Safe Browsing algorithm, which analyzes the website according to the above-mentioned criteria. If the website’s fake, then Google will include it in the list of untrusted websites. Well, maybe not all reports will lead somewhere, but you never know.
Is the Internet safe again? Doubtful, but there’s one more tool we can use in order to protect our devices from malicious content. Now, according to Google, the site report tool can only be used in Chrome’s desktop version.
The company didn’t say anything about a mobile version, yet we can safely assume that one is on the way. So, if you’re still using browsers other than Chrome, you should consider making the switch if you value your privacy.
Have you tried out Google’s site-reporting extension? If so, do share your thoughts, insights, or rants with the rest of the Cybersecurity Magazine community.