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Microsoft claims to make Chrome safer with a new browser extension

The plug-in alerts users about malicious links and directs a clear path back to safety

Photo (c) Vertigo3d - Getty Images
Google’s Chrome browser has competent protection against malicious websites already in place, but Microsoft feels it can make Chrome’s armor even stronger with a new browser extension called "Windows Defender Browser Protection."

The primary drawing point of Microsoft’s plug-in is added protection against phishing. Phishing occurs when hackers attempt to maliciously obtain sensitive information such as passwords and credit card details by posing as a trustworthy person or company. The scams usually come in the form of a spoof email that directs the user to a fraudulent, but authentic-looking, website.

Well-known examples of phishing include the Nigerian family who’s trying to flee the country, advanced fees paid for a guaranteed loan, and the “turn your computer into a money-making machine” ploy.

The more protection, the better

Microsoft rationalizes its reason for invading Google’s turf by pointing to a 2017 NSS Labs report on web browser security that showed its Edge browser thwarted 99 percent of phishing attempts while Chrome only caught 87 percent. In theory, Microsoft’s Edge plug-in should bring Chrome up to 99 percent as well.

"The Windows Defender Browser Protection extension for Google Chrome allows you to add an additional layer of protection when browsing online, powered by the same trusted intelligence found in Microsoft Edge," wrote Microsoft’s team. "The extension alerts you about known malicious links, and gives you a clear path back to safety."

Some pundits theorize that Microsoft stopped short of directly comparing its extension to Chrome’s current security component -- possibly in hopes of reclaiming some of the browser turf the company lost to Google.

They may be right. Microsoft Internet Explorer’s previous dominance of the browser market is now a ghost in the company’s rearview mirror, and its infant two-year-old Edge browser is still trying to gain traction. According to NetMarketShare, Chrome is the reigning king with more than 60 percent of the browser market, with Internet Explorer way back at 12 percent and Edge at 4 percent.

The Defender plugin is for use only by Windows users who are using the Chrome browser, but not by those using the Chrome operating system.

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