Google Chrome will warn users about potential ‘man in the middle’ (MitM) attacks, in which third-party software tries to hijack an internet connection.
A MitM attack happens when a communication between two systems is intercepted by a malicious actor through an application installed on a user’s computer, enabling them to send, alter and receive data meant for someone else.
It isn’t an easy attack to perpetrate, mainly because many MitM toolkits fail to correctly rewrite the user’s encrypted connections, causing SSL errors that Chrome can detect.
In Chrome 63, Google is introducing a new warning screen whenever the browser detects a large number of SSL connection errors within a short timeframe. This is a signal that an attacker is attempting to intercept the user’s web traffic, albeit with no success.
Errors can come from applications such as anti-virus software and firewalls, as well as from malware. But Chrome will filter the warning sign to only show up for software that has failed to rewrite SSL connections properly.
Chrome 63 is scheduled to be released on 5 December, according to the Chromium Development Calendar, and users can preview it through the Google Chrome development branch known as Google Canary.
The new security feature was developed by Sasha Perigo, a Stanford University student who interned at Google, working with the team responsible for Chrome. It isn’t enabled by default in Google Canary, but can be turned on manually.
Last month, Google revealed that it had developed a tool that lets users permanently mute websites that automatically play videos with sound.
The feature is currently only available in Google Canary as Google’s developers are still experimenting with it, but the company is likely to introduce the tool to Chrome users in the coming months.
The features come as the so-called ‘browser wars’ start to hot up, once again, with Vivaldi offering a feature-packed alternative to Chrome and Opera, and Microsoft seeking to entice Windows 10 users to Edge.
Firefox, meanwhile, has improved after the Mozilla Foundation ditched a number of marginal projects.