Chrome will start protecting users from insecure downloads in April

Marc DeAngelis
Contributor
Engadget

Google Chrome will soon deliver on last year's promise to better protect users from insecure content -- downloads not encrypted via HTTPS -- on otherwise secure pages. Chrome 82, which will be released in April, will be the first version of Google's browser to warn users before allowing them to download certain insecure file types. In future releases, they'll be blocked outright.

April's release will only warn users when they try to download insecure executables -- such as .exe files -- since they pose the most risk for introducing malware into a system. Chrome will alert users to less dangerous types of insecure downloads on a rolling basis -- archive, text and image files will trigger warnings in future releases. By the end of the year, Chrome will do away with the warnings and outright block insecure downloads from websites that are otherwise using HTTPS.

The mobile versions of Chrome will receive the same updates, but they'll be one version behind the desktop versions of the browser. According to a Chromium blog post, mobile apps have better protection against malicious downloads, and the delay will give developers more time to concentrate on helping desktop users avoid malware.

While these updates may be frustrating -- lots of warnings are bound to pop up -- Chrome users will have a much safer browsing experience. Less tech-savvy users may benefit the most, as they often can't spot fishy downloads. In other words, we may be able to spend less time removing malware and viruses from our friends' and relatives' computers once these new versions of Chrome roll out.