Google has added a new feature today to APP; its security program meant for high-risk users, such as journalists, political organizations, and activists.
Starting with today, APP users browsing the web with Chrome can send suspicious files they just downloaded to Google servers and have them scanned for malware.
The feature is the latest addition to APP, or the Google Advanced Protection Program.
Launched in 2017, the APP is a special program from Google, not enabled for all users. Nonetheless, while the program was launched with high-risk individuals in mind, there’s no restriction on who can apply, and anyone can sign up for the APP via the program’s official website.
To sign up, all a user has to do is own and connect a hardware security key to their Google account. Once they do, their Gmail account will be protected by the security key, which will serve as a 2FA method, and the user’s incoming emails will be scanned more thoroughly for potential threats, such as malware-laced attachments, phishing links, and emails coming from known state-sponsored groups.
The APP initially launched as a set of extra security features added to an individual’s Gmail account, but the program expanded in 2019 to users browsing the web with Google’s Chrome browser.
Starting last year, Google began showing warnings to APP users when they downloaded files using Chrome that looked to be malicious.
Earlier today, Google says it updated this warning to add an option to let APP users upload the file to Google servers and have it scanned by the Google Safe Browsing service, using its internal static and dynamic analysis techniques.
The new feature is ideal for users who can’t afford to buy an antivirus program, such as activists with low income, or living in US sanctioned countries where some security vendors might not have a presence.
For APP users to take advantage of this new feature, they have to browse the web using Chrome and be signed into Chrome with their APP-protected Google account.