Fix Chrome’s Safe Browsing Feature Blocking Some Downloads in the Browser

This sounds like it could either be very helpful or an invitation to trouble … depending on what you’re trying to download.

Google Chrome, Chromium, and probably the majority of web browsers based on it, come with a security module that scans file downloads automatically. The feature, called Safe Browsing by Google, displays a prompt at the bottom of the browser screen that informs you about malicious files that it. In fact, there are two different messages that may be displayed by Safe Browsing. The first reads “This file appears to be malicious. Are you sure you want to continue” while the second reads “[filename] is malicious, and Chrome has blocked it”.

The first gives you options to discard the download or save it anyway, while the latter only a dismiss button with no option whatsoever to download the file anyway to your system.

When you try to download the most recent version of the popular Bittorrent application uTorrent for example from the official website, you get the second warning which blocks the file from being downloaded to your system.

Since you only have a dismiss option, you cannot command Chrome to save the file anyway on your system, at least not using this menu.

chrome is malicious

A quick test on Virustotal, a Google service that scans files with more than 50 different antivirus engines, returned exactly 0 hits. This means that all antivirus engines used by the service did not find any traces of malware in the file.

It is not clear why Chrome determined that uTorrent is malware, especially since its own virus scanning service came to a different conclusion during tests.

So what can you do about it?

chrome malicious protection

Google Chrome Privacy Preferences

You could turn off Google’s Safe Browsing feature in Chrome to avoid this from happening in the future.

  1. Load chrome://settings/in the browser.
  2. Select “show advanced settings” at the bottom of the screen.
  3. Under Privacy, locate “enable phishing and malware protection” and remove the checkmark from the preference.
  4. This disables all phishing and malware checks in the browser.

If you rely on those, it is better to keep it turned on considering that this impacts other security features such as phishing protection as well.

Note also that Chrome will displays a “This type of file can harm your computer. Do you want to keep [filename] anyway?” warning even if you have disabled the protection feature under privacy.

If you happen to open the downloads page by loading chrome://downloads/# you will notice that the files are listed here including an option to “recover [the] malicious file”. If you do that, the file is restored on the system so that it becomes available one it.

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