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Attacks/Breaches

Experts Question Security of Google's Chrome Browser

Although the browser offers a range of privacy features, security experts expect say Chrome will be a target

Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) released the beta version of its new Chrome browser yesterday, but some security experts say it still needs some polish.

The search engine giant gave details on its new Chrome browserin a blog on Monday, and it even released a Chrome comic book on its Website. The company confirmed the availability of the beta version in its blog yesterday.

Google says the new browser is better designed to handle the application-heavy nature of the Web today than currently-available browsers. It touts the new software's ease of use, as well as a range of privacy features that are designed to protect the user's surfing history.

Chrome also offers a number of security features, Google says. "Under the hood, we were able to build the foundation of a browser that runs today's complex Web applications much better," the search engine giant said. "By keeping each tab in an isolated 'sandbox,' we were able to prevent one tab from crashing another and provide improved protection from rogue sites."

But security experts already have found vulnerabilities in the new Chrome browser. The WebKit engine used inside Chrome leaves it vulnerable to the infamous Safari carpet-bombing flaw, security researcher Aviv Raff warned.

"Anyone who has followed Google with respect to security would not trust that Chrome will be safe to use for quite some time," said Randy Abrams, director of technical education at ESET, a security software and research firm. "Google is at about the same place Microsoft was a decade ago. They have some bright security people, but marketing is trampling over security left and right."

Abrams said that built-in sandboxing for each tab is "a bit of a mitigating factor, but does not protect the user who visits a malicious site and then conducts personal or financial transactions in the same tab. If you throw bullies and weaklings into the same sandbox, the bully still kicks the crap out of the weakling. In everyday terms, if one tab is compromised and the same tab is used to visit your bank, your money is not safe."

— Tim Wilson, Site Editor, Dark Reading

Tim Wilson is Editor in Chief and co-founder of Dark Reading.com, UBM Tech's online community for information security professionals. He is responsible for managing the site, assigning and editing content, and writing breaking news stories. Wilson has been recognized as one ... View Full Bio

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