Google adds new Chrome reset feature to combat browser hijacking

By on February 5, 2014, 6:00 PM
google, chrome, browser, hijacking, malicious software, settings, linus upson, vp of engineering

Google has now added a new feature to its Chrome browser that automatically warns users when malicious software is tampering with their settings. Google VP of engineering Linus Upson, announced the update recently on the Google Chrome Blog. The new feature is designed to update and enhance one introduced in the Fall of last year that allows Chrome users to easily reset browser settings back to their original state.

Hijackers can introduce malicious code through free software downloads and things of that nature that alter Chrome settings, as you may know. Typically they introduce ads and other methods of monetization into your daily web browsing and then lock you out so you can't revert back to the factory settings.

Upson explains that even though Google introduced the revert function last October, settings hijacking remained the company's "number one user complaint." He goes on to say the feature will prompt "Windows users whose settings appear to have been changed" to set the system back to the factory default by clicking "Reset" when the window seen below appears:

Upson also notes that this command will disable any browser extensions and apps you may be running. Users will have to manually reactivate Extensions through the "More Tools" menu, but apps will automatically be available next time you go to use them.

Google says that some settings hijackers will leave code around that will engage a second attack immediately after the first one has been rectified. In this case Google suggests heading over to the Chrome help forums for information on how to remove said programs and also to remember that the "Reset" settings feature is always an option even if the auto prompt doesn't come up.

(Image via Shutterstock)

User Comments: 5

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1 person liked this | cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I don't understand why restore points are not used. Once a user gets a browser setup to their liking, I see no reason why a recovery point can not be created.

Reverting all the way back to default settings is inconvenient and inefficient waste of users time. If someone uses several add-ons and custom themes, it is almost as inconvenient as using a full system recovery. This inconvenience is probably why I don't even bother using add-ons unless they are absolutely needed for the page to function.

To me application recovery is as important as system recovery, but yet to my knowledge no one programs their application with settings recovery in mind. Any application that has the ability to be customized to the users liking, should have recovery methods for when things get screwed up. What is so difficult about taking an occasional snapshot, to give users options other than defaulting all the settings?

Guest said:

I absolutely agree about application restore points. I completely dread setting up apps after reinstalling a OS. I now use system imaging snapshot software so the pain is lessened.

Skidmarksdeluxe Skidmarksdeluxe said:

And this is another reason why I wont use any other browser but Chrome.

mojorisin23 mojorisin23 said:

This seems like it should've been there since the beginning... just proves my point that most programmers and designers probably don't even use the programs they create. otherwise there would be so many more changes like this!

Guest said:

This is why you don't use anything but Chrome? First you do realize that the device is made by Google, same people that make your beloved Chrome, also this affected all browsers/devices not one specific. It was a Chromecast issue from the beginning, had nothing to do with whether you used Chrome, Safari or IE.

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