Safe Browsing has been protecting over one billion people from traditional phishing attacks on the web for more than eight years. The threat landscape is constantly changing—bad actors on the web are using more and different types of deceptive behavior to trick you into performing actions that you didn’t intend or want, so we’ve expanded protection to include social engineering.
Social engineering is a much broader category than traditional phishing and encompasses more types of deceptive web content. A social engineering attack happens when either:

  • The content pretends to act, or looks and feels, like a trusted entity — like a bank or government.
  • The content tries to trick you into doing something you’d only do for a trusted entity — like sharing a password or calling tech support.

Below are some examples of social engineering attacks that try to trick you into thinking the content is delivered by Google or Chrome. Other trusted brands are also commonly abused for social engineering attacks.

This page tries to trick you into downloading and executing malware or unwanted software. It uses Chrome’s logo and name to confuse you into believing the site is operated by Google. Content like this may include an inconspicuous legal disclaimer that states it is not affiliated with Google. This does not change the deceptive nature of this content—as always, use caution when downloading files from the web.

This is a fake tech phone support page. This page mimics a warning and may trick you into calling a third-party company that pretends to be Google or some other trusted entity, but charges a fee for support. (Chrome does not offer paid remote support). 

This is a fake Google login page. It might trick you into disclosing your account login credentials. Other phishing sites like this could trick you into giving up other personal information such as credit card information. Phishing sites may look exactly like the real site—so be sure to look at the address bar to check that the URL is correct, and also check to see that the website begins with https://. See more information here.

If we identify that a web page contains social engineering content, Chrome will warn you by displaying the following warning:
(If you believe Safe Browsing has classified a web page in error, please report it here.)

We'll continue to improve Google's Safe Browsing protection to help more people stay safer online. Check out the Safe Browsing Transparency Report to find out more.

 Anti-Fraud and Abuse Research and Nicolas Lidzborski, Gmail Security Engineering Lead

Newer security challenges and how we can address them

Our study identified several new security challenges as well.

First, we found regions of the Internet actively preventing message encryption by tampering with requests to initiate SSL connections. To mitigate this attack, we are working closely with partners through the industry association M3AAWG to strengthen “opportunistic TLS” using technologies that we pioneered with Chrome to protect websites against interception.

Second, we uncovered malicious DNS servers publishing bogus routing information to email servers looking for Gmail. These nefarious servers are like telephone directories that intentionally list misleading phone numbers for a given name. While this type of attack is rare, it’s very concerning as it could allow attackers to censor or alter messages before they are relayed to the email recipient.

While these threats do not affect Gmail to Gmail communication, they may affect messaging between providers. To notify our users of potential dangers, we are developing in-product warnings for Gmail users that will display when they receive a message through a non-encrypted connection. These warnings will begin to roll-out in the coming months.

All email services—Gmail included—depend on the trust of their users. Partnering with top researchers helps us make the email ecosystem as a whole safer and more secure for everyone. Security threats won’t disappear, but studies like these enable providers across the industry to fight them with better, more powerful protections today and going forward.

[This work was made possible thanks to the contribution of many Googlers including Vijay Eranti, Kurt Thomas, John Rae-Grant, and Mark Risher.]


This post updates our previous notification of a misissued certificate for

Following our notification, Symantec published a report in response to our inquiries and disclosed that 23 test certificates had been issued without the domain owner’s knowledge covering five organizations, including Google and Opera.

However, we were still able to find several more questionable certificates using only the Certificate Transparency logs and a few minutes of work. We shared these results with other root store operators on October 6th, to allow them to independently assess and verify our research.

Symantec performed another audit and, on October 12th, announced that they had found an additional 164 certificates over 76 domains and 2,458 certificates issued for domains that were never registered.
It’s obviously concerning that a CA would have such a long-running issue and that they would be unable to assess its scope after being alerted to it and conducting an audit. Therefore we are firstly going to require that as of June 1st, 2016, all certificates issued by Symantec itself will be required to support Certificate Transparency. In this case, logging of non-EV certificates would have provided significantly greater insight into the problem and may have allowed the problem to be detected sooner.
After this date, certificates newly issued by Symantec that do not conform to the Chromium Certificate Transparency policy may result in interstitials or other problems when used in Google products.
More immediately, we are requesting of Symantec that they further update their public incident report with:
  1. A post-mortem analysis that details why they did not detect the additional certificates that we found.
  2. Details of each of the failures to uphold the relevant Baseline Requirements and EV Guidelines and what they believe the individual root cause was for each failure.
We are also requesting that Symantec provide us with a detailed set of steps they will take to correct and prevent each of the identified failures, as well as a timeline for when they expect to complete such work. Symantec may consider this latter information to be confidential and so we are not requesting that this be made public.

Following the implementation of these corrective steps, we expect Symantec to undergo a Point-in-time Readiness Assessment and a third-party security audit. The point-in-time assessment will establish Symantec’s conformance to each of these standards:
  • WebTrust Principles and Criteria for Certification Authorities
  • WebTrust Principles and Criteria for Certification Authorities – SSL Baseline with Network Security
  • WebTrust Principles and Criteria for Certification Authorities – Extended Validation SSL

The third-party security audit must assess: 
  • The veracity of Symantec’s claims that at no time private keys were exposed to Symantec employees by the tool.
  • That Symantec employees could not use the tool in question to obtain certificates for which the employee controlled the private key.
  • That Symantec’s audit logging mechanism is reasonably protected from modification, deletion, or tampering, as described in Section 5.4.4 of their CPS.

We may take further action as additional information becomes available to us.


You’re browsing the web, checking out the latest news on your favorite band, when suddenly you see a red warning screen: “The site ahead contains malware.” These warnings aren’t new—since 2006, Google Safe Browsing has shown them when you navigate to an unsafe site. The warnings protect you from harms caused by unsafe sites, such as malware infections and phishing attacks. But it hasn’t always been clear why a specific website triggers a warning, and you may want to learn more.

To demystify these warnings, we’re launching a Site Status section in the Transparency Report. The next time you come across a Safe Browsing warning, you can search for the blocked website in the Transparency Report to learn why it’s been flagged by our systems.

The new Site Status section of the Transparency Report replaces our previous Safe Browsing diagnostic page. It includes a clearer interface and simpler explanations of the issues, such as details for sites that host unwanted software. We’ve added it to the Transparency Report so that the Safe Browsing section of the report is a one-stop shop for information to help you understand what Safe Browsing is and how it works.

If a favorite website shows up as “dangerous,” it’s often due to user-uploaded bad content or a temporary malware infection. The Site Status will return to normal once the webmaster has cleaned up the website. To help speed up this process, we automatically give the webmaster a heads-up about the problem via Search Console; if you use Google Analytics, we’ll also warn you there if your site has malware on it. (Webmasters, check the help center to learn how to remove malware from your websites.)

We’re constantly working to keep users safe and informed online. Visit the updated Site Status section in the Transparency Report to experience it yourself.


Sometimes, websites try to use HTTPS to be secure and get it mostly right, but they have minor errors. Until recently, Chrome marked this security state with a yellow “caution triangle” badge on the page security icon in the URL bar.

Starting with version 46, Chrome will mark the “HTTPS with Minor Errors” state using the same neutral page icon as HTTP pages.
There are two reasons for this:
  1. This change is a better visual indication of the security state of the page relative to HTTP.
  2. Chrome users will have fewer security states to learn.

(Not) Warning About Mixed Content

This change will mainly affect HTTPS pages that contain certain mixed content, such as HTTP images.

Site operators face a dilemma: Switching an HTTP site to HTTPS can initially result in mixed content, which is undesirable in the long term but important for debugging the migration. During this process the site may not be fully secured, but it will usually not be less secure than before.

Removing the yellow “caution triangle” badge means that most users will not perceive a warning on mixed content pages during such a migration. We hope that this will encourage site operators to switch to HTTPS sooner rather than later.

Fewer Security States

This change will reduce the number of page security states in Chrome from four to three.

We have to strike a balance: representing the security state of a webpage as accurately as possible, while making sure users are not overwhelmed with too many possible states and details. We’ve come to understand that our yellow “caution triangle” badge can be confusing when compared to the HTTP page icon, and we believe that it is better not to emphasize the difference in security between these two states to most users. For developers and other interested users, it will still be possible to tell the difference by checking whether the URL begins with “https://”.

In the long term, we hope that most sites on the internet will become secure, and we plan to reduce the icon to just two states: secure and not secure. The change announced in this post is a small step in that direction.


Since 2008, we've worked to encrypt the connections between our users and Google servers. Over the years we've announced that Search, Gmail, Drive, and many other products have encrypted connections by default, and most recently, we've made a similar announcement for our ads products.

In this same vein, today we're expanding on the HTTPS Everywhere mission and beginning an initial rollout of HTTPS support for Blogspot. HTTPS is a cornerstone of internet security as it provides several important benefits: it makes it harder for bad actors to steal information or track the activities of blog authors and visitors, it helps check that visitors open the correct website and aren’t being redirected to a malicious location, and it helps detect if a bad actor tries to change any data sent from Blogger to a blog visitor.

While this initial rollout won’t support all of our Blogger users, we wanted to take the first step to make HTTPS available for Blogspot; for those users who want to try it early.

We’re rolling this out gradually and Blogspot authors interested in enabling HTTPS support can begin opting-in today. Simply log into, click on the blog you’d like to make HTTPS enabled, navigate to the Settings page, and select "yes" for "HTTPS Availability". Unfortunately, blogs with custom domains are not supported in this first version.
Once enabled, your blog will become accessible over both HTTP and HTTPS connections. Blogspot authors should be aware that if they choose to encrypt at this time, some of the current functionality of their blog may not work over HTTPS. This can be a result of template, gadgets, and blog post content, and is often caused by mixed content errors, some of which may be fixable by the author themselves.

We’ll also be moving some of our own blogs over to HTTPS gradually, beginning with the Official Google Blog and the Google Online Security Blog.

For the Blogspot authors who try this out - we’re interested to hear your feedback while we continue to improve this feature and its capabilities! For more information, visit our Help Center.



On September 14, around 19:20 GMT, Symantec’s Thawte-branded CA issued an Extended Validation (EV) pre-certificate for the domains and This pre-certificate was neither requested nor authorized by Google.

We discovered this issuance via Certificate Transparency logs, which Chrome has required for EV certificates starting January 1st of this year. The issuance of this pre-certificate was recorded in both Google-operated and DigiCert-operated logs.

During our ongoing discussions with Symantec we determined that the issuance occurred during a Symantec-internal testing process.

We have updated Chrome’s revocation metadata to include the public key of the misissued certificate. Additionally, the issued pre-certificate was valid only for one day.

Our primary consideration in these situations is always the security and privacy of our users; we currently do not have reason to believe they were at risk.


  1. TLS 1.2 must be supported.
  2. A Server Name Indication (SNI) extension must be included in the handshake and must contain the domain that's being connected to.
  3. The cipher suite TLS_ECDHE_RSA_WITH_AES_128_GCM_SHA256 must be supported with P-256 and uncompressed points.
  4. At least the certificates in must be trusted.
  5. Certificate handling must be able to support DNS Subject Alternative Names and those SANs may include a single wildcard as the left-most label in the name.

In order to make testing as easy as possible we have set up https://­cert-test.­sandbox.­google.­com, which requires points 1–3 to be met in order to make a successful connection. Thus, if your TLS client can’t connect to that host then you need to update your libraries or configuration.

No longer serving a cross-sign to Equifax

At the moment the certificate chains that Google properties serve most often include a cross-sign from our CA, GeoTrust, to our previous CA, Equifax. This allows clients that only trust our previous CA to continue to function. However, this cross-sign is only a transitional workaround for such clients and we will be removing it in the future. Clients that include our required set of root CAs (at will not be affected, but any that don’t include the needed GeoTrust root may stop working.


For the last few months, we’ve been raising awareness of the ad injection economy, showing how unwanted ad injectors can hurt user experience, jeopardize user security, and generate significant volumes of unwanted ads. We’ve used learnings from our research to prevent and remove unwanted ad injectors from Google services and improve our policies and technologies to make it more difficult to spread this unwanted software.

Today, we’re announcing a new measure to remove injected ads from the advertising ecosystem, including an automated filter in DoubleClick Bid Manager that removes impressions generated by ad injectors before any bid is made.

Unwanted ad injectors: disliked by users, advertisers, and publishers
Unwanted ad injectors are programs that insert new ads, or replace existing ones, in the pages users visit while browsing the web. Unwanted ad injectors aren’t part of a healthy ads ecosystem. They’re part of an environment where bad practices hurt users, advertisers, and publishers alike.

We’ve received almost 300,000 user complaints about them in Chrome since the beginning of 2015—more than any other issue, and it’s no wonder. Ad injectors affect all sites equally. You wouldn’t be happy if you tried to get the morning news and saw this:
Not only are they intrusive, but people are often tricked into installing them in the first place, via deceptive advertising, or software “bundles.” Ad injection can also be a security risk, as the recent “Superfish” incident showed.

Ad injectors are problematic for advertisers and publishers as well. Advertisers often don’t know their ads are being injected, which means they don’t have any idea where their ads are running. Publishers, meanwhile, aren’t being compensated for these ads, and more importantly, they unknowingly may be putting their visitors in harm’s way, via spam or malware in the injected ads.

Removing injected inventory from advertising
Earlier this quarter, we launched an automated filter on DoubleClick Bid Manager to prevent advertisers from buying injected ads across the web. This new system detects ad injection and proactively creates a blacklist that prevents our systems from bidding on injected inventory. Advertisers and agencies using our platforms are already protected. No adjustments are needed. No settings to change.

We currently blacklist 1.4% of the inventory accessed by DoubleClick Bid Manager across exchanges. However, we’ve found this percentage varies widely by provider. Below is a breakdown showing the filtered percentages across some of the largest exchanges:
We’ve always enforced policies against the sale of injected inventory on our ads platforms, including the DoubleClick Ad Exchange. Now advertisers using DoubleClick Bid Manager can avoid injected inventory across the web.

No more injected ads?
We don’t expect the steps we’ve outlined above to solve the problem overnight, but we hope others across the industry take action to cut ad injectors out of advertising. With the tangle of different businesses involved—knowingly, or unknowingly—in the ad injector ecosystem, progress will only be made if we all work together. We strongly encourage all members of the ads ecosystem to review their policies and practices and take actions to tackle this issue.