Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sun 10th Jun 2012 22:36 UTC
Google So, Google has made it very hard to install Chrome extensions outside of the Chrome Web Store - out of security concerns. In addition, they sprung this on users and extension developers without much consultation or consideration for their concerns. As always - understandable to protect users, but the handling has an almost Apple-like bluntness to it. Next up: how to jailbreak your browser?
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Alfman
Member since:
2011-01-28

darknexus,

"Sandboxing doesn't help in this situation. Even if a piece of software can't get outside the sandbox, if you voluntarily run it inside of your browser, it has access to whichever features the parent process does."

That's probably the heart of the disagreement right there. It's not really the case that a sandboxed extension has to have the same level of access as the parent process.

Reply Parent Score: 3

darknexus Member since:
2008-07-15

That's probably the heart of the disagreement right there. It's not really the case that a sandboxed extension has to have the same level of access as the parent process.


Not the same level of access. But, given the tasks of most browser extensions (to alter your browser environment or your displayed web page in some way) I'd like you to explain how a browser extension could operate without having access to the browser's dom or the ability to use the network. Those two abilities are the only things modern malware need to steal any information you enter while online.

Reply Parent Score: 2

Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

It can be a challenge to come up with good permissions. And sometimes legitimate code will require access to functionality that would be exploitable by malware. To make things even more confusing, sometimes the same code can be both legitimate and malware depending on how it is used. How do you classify such things? My own opinion is that technology should err on the side of freedom, so long as users are properly informed of the risks.

I must acknowledge there are differing opinions like yours out there. But I'd like you to elaborate how the walled garden is any better at pre-emptive security when software channels aren't officially being vetted? To repeat an earlier point, I don't think the walled garden offers any pre-emptive security at all on it's own.

As for reactive security, of course malware can be pulled from a google repo, but then it can be blacklisted from other sources too. So what security advantage is there to making users download from a centralised repo?

The centralised repo will only be more secure if google starts to police the submissions, and that brings us full circle to the points made earlier about the consequential loss of freedom. Even so, a better, far less controversial solution to this whole ordeal of sideloading would be for google to maintain white/blacklists that could be enabled by default in the browser. This way everyone could benefit from warnings that something is known to be explicit malware, which is much more useful than assuming that anything not loaded from google's repo *might* be malware.

Edited 2012-06-13 03:33 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2