Google announced that Chrome will block risky downloads, soon. This step is set in order to make browsing more secure. Thus, Google considers “mixed content downloads” initiated on HTTPS web pages but which originate from HTTP pages, as unsafe.
So, starting Chrome 83, which should be released in June, the browser will automatically block any downloads. Still, Google will not block HTTP downloads initiated from HTTP pages. Usually, HTTP pages are less secure than those that use the HTTPS protocol. In order to trick users into downloading malicious content, some website try to trick them.
At this moment, Chrome does not issue a warning when a user is about to download content that might be unsafe. But, with the release of Chrome 82 in April, it will start warning them when they initiate a mixed content download. At first, the browser will warn users of the most harmful file types, such as executable files. Then, the warning system will extend to more files.
Warnings on desktop browsers, first
According to Google, this feature will be first introduced to the browser on desktop platforms including Windows, macOS, Chrome and Linux. The company will delay the rollout on mobile platforms, iOS and Android, by one release. So, mobile users will begin to receive warnings from Chrome 83 build. Still, the automatic block will come into effect later on.
The update may not apply to enterprise consumers who use controlled environments like Intranet, where HTTP content may be less risky. Google’s decision that Chrome will block risky downloads comes after it had announced less intrusive ads in videos. The company will apply this rule both on its Chrome browser and on YouTube.
This is how the things will go with the new builds :
- Chrome 81 (March 2020) – Chrome will print a console message warning about all mixed content downloads.
- Chrome 82 (April 2020) – Chrome will warn on mixed content downloads of executables (e.g. .exe).
- Chrome 83 (June 2020) – Chrome will block mixed content executables. Chrome will warn on mixed content archives (.zip) and disk images (.iso).
- Chrome 84 (August 2020) – Chrome will block mixed content executables, archives and disk images. Chrome will warn on all other mixed content downloads except image, audio, video and text formats.–
- Chrome 85 (September 2020) – Chrome will warn on mixed content downloads of images, audio, video, and text. Chrome will block all other mixed content downloads.
- Chrome 86 (October 2020) – Chrome will block all mixed content downloads.