Google’s new Chrome Extension Rules – More Privacy and Security

Google has announced that the upcoming Google Chrome update will provide more privacy and security to users. Chrome 70, set to launch this month, takes a tighter stance on extensions and developers in favor of the user.

Google's new Chrome Extension Rules - More Privacy and Security

Google’s new Chrome Extension Rules – More Privacy and Security

Google Chrome’s New Extension Rules

Google is tightening the reigns when it comes to its browser’s extensions. In an effort to make it easier to closely monitor new and existing extensions, Google is “banning” obfuscated code.

Obfuscation is the act of creating code that’s intentionally difficult for any person to understand. Usually, developers do this to protect their source code and intellectual property. However, obfuscated code is also used to hide the purpose of the code itself. This opens up a lot of room for malicious code to be snuck into an extension.

Google is giving developers with already existing extensions only 90 days to remove all obfuscated code. New submissions must be free of obfuscated code upon submission. Google will also be enforcing a new compliance review for extensions that ask for high levels of permissions.

Chrome’s Changes with Extension Permissions

Chrome 70 will also give back more control to the user. Chrome users will be able to restrict the access of extension to a custom list of sites. Users will also be able to configure these extensions, allowing them access to sites with just one click. Google is also going to amp its monitoring of all permission-heavy extensions.

Additionally, Google will be monitoring any extension that uses remotely hosted code very closely. Google is even suggesting that developers include permission requests that are as narrowly scoped as possible.

Developers and 2-Step Verifications

Starting in 2019, developers will have to implement Google’s 2-step verification. Following a series of Chrome extension hijacks, Google now wants to make sure that no phishing scam can compromise the browser experience of their millions of users. According to James Wagner, Chrome Extensions product manager:

” If you extension becomes popular, it can attract attackers who want to steal it by hijacking your account, and 2-Step verification adds an extra layer of security…”

Google’s New Chrome Extension Rules – Final thoughts

While not perfect, Chrome’s change in direction towards a slightly more user-centric browsing experience comes as a good sign for the future. In fact, most of these updates were made based on pure consumer feedback. That being said, we should wait and see for Chrome 70 before passing judgment on Google’s change of heart. In the meantime, check out these amazing Chrome extensions for privacy and security.

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