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Jul 30 2018

Malwarebytes Introduces Browser Extension for Chrome and Firefox

California-based security and data protection specialist Malwarebytes has released the beta version of a prospective browser add-on that's supposed to shield non-IE/non-Edge users from malicious and other unwanted web content.

Released on August 26, the Malwarebytes Browser Extension (BETA) was designed to block browser hijackers and browser lockers, which scammers use to promote and sell fraudulent tech support; filter out clickbait and unsolicited ads; protect users from drive-by malware downloads, phishing sites, and background bitcoin miners that steal processing power; block trackers and various types of malicious code; and finally obstruct downloads of so-called potentially unwanted programs or PUPs, e.g. superfluous toolbars etc.

If all this sound slightly familiar, that's because it is: The Malwarebytes Browser Extension essentially offers the same capabilities as numerous other time-tested add-ons such as ad and script blockers and anti-tracking software. According to the official announcement found on the company blog, the tool may even detect and thwart social engineering scams, although the author doesn't really explain how that is achieved. At any rate, Malwarebytes' new tool differs from other protective technologies in two key aspects. First of all, it wraps up all these different functionalities into one neat package. And second, instead of relying on traditional malware definitions, signatures and address lists, it rather looks out for "threat behavior patterns" which it can then dissect and handle based on heuristic analysis. All in all, this approach is supposed to not only make it easier for users to protect themselves, but to also improve the browsing experience, as the tool should be able to filter out practically all Internet pests, which in turn improves page load times and thus allows for faster access to relevant information and services.

The Malwarebytes Browser Extension is currently available from the Chrome Web Store and the Firefox Add-on Repository. As noted above, the software's still in beta stage, so occasional malfunctions could occur; however, as Malwarebytes tells it, these will typically result in "false positives," meaning that the extension preemptively blocks legitimate sites and downloads or stops innocuous code from being executed. But this type of over-aggressive behavior may be easily cured with a few minor changes in the tool settings, where you can also turn off telemetry.


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