Cyber Security

New Chrome version aims to remove all ads from abusive sites

The move is part of Google’s continued clampdown on adverts that are intended to hoodwink users

Chrome 71, due out in December, will come with enhanced in-built protections aimed at safeguarding users from harmful advertising, according to a note by Google Product Manager Vivek Sekhar this past Monday.

Using a feature called abusive sites filtering, the incoming version of the world’s most popular web browser will remove all (i.e. not just the offending) ads from websites with “persistent abusive experiences”. Those practices mostly involve deceptive ads that trick users into clicking on them by pretending to be system alerts or “close” buttons that, however, are anything but.

(source: Chromium blog)


Additional deceptive site practices that Google intends to deep-six with Chrome 71 include the use of scroll bars, buttons, links, or typically non-clickable areas that, when clicked, lead to adverts without the user’s knowledge and can be more than “just” a nuisance.

Scammers can also deploy deceptive ads and page elements with the aim of stealing users’ personal data, including by duping them into divulging the data themselves. The full – and by no means short – list of behaviors classified by Google as abusive is available here.

The measure is another iteration in Google’s continued efforts to banish unwelcome website behaviors. Back in November 2017, Google announced a set of protections to block “pop-ups and new window requests from sites with certain abusive experiences like redirecting pages”, with the protections rolled out two months later.

Website administrators can use Google’s Abusive Experiences tool to check if their website harbors any such offending ads. If so, they will have a 30-day grace period to put things in order.

“Stronger protections ensure users can interact with their intended content on the web, without abusive experiences getting in the way,” said Sekhar.

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