tech

Google Chrome will soon block downloads of these popular file formats

Google Chrome will start cracking down on “insecure downloads” which include popular file formats like APK and Mp3.

Google plans to remove all insecure downloads from Chrome this year.
Google plans to remove all insecure downloads from Chrome this year. (Pixabay)

Google has been cleaning up Chrome with every new update. Google recently announced it would remove video ads from Chrome. It will now block "insecure downloads" like apk and mp3 files from Chrome on secure pages.

Google plans to do this in a phased manner with every Chrome update. Towards the end of the year, Google will have blocked all insecure downloads from Chrome. Google will start this process by March this year on all its platforms.

"Insecurely-downloaded files are a risk to users' security and privacy. For instance, insecurely-downloaded programs can be swapped out for malware by attackers, and eavesdroppers can read users' insecurely-downloaded bank statements," Google explains in a blog post.

Google's timeline for removing insecure downloads on Chrome.
Google's timeline for removing insecure downloads on Chrome. (Google)

Starting with Chrome 81 in March, Google will issue console warning about all mixed downloads. The next Chrome 82 update in April will have a direct warning about mixed content downloads which include file formats like .exe and .apk.

Things will get stricter with Chrome 83 scheduled to roll out in June. This update will block .exe and .apk downloads from Chrome. The next update which is Chrome 84 will release in August. This update will block more insecure downloads like .zip and .iso. Similarly, Chrome 85 in September will add more files like .pdf and .docx to the block list.

Finally with Chrome 86 update in October, Google will block more insecure downloads including .png and .mp3. Chrome updates that follow will block all mixed content downloads. Google will first enable the restrictions on Chrome for Windows, macOS, Chrome OS and Linux. It will be delayed for Android and iOS platforms by one release. Google will start with warnings on Chrome 83 for its mobile platforms.