Malwarebytes Launches Browser Guard for Chrome and Firefox

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Malwarebytes Browser Guard screenshot

Malwarebytes has released their browser protection add-on for Firefox and Chrome. It has a few features other similar extensions don't have. Malwarebytes states using their add-on can increase your speed by blocking activity that normally takes up bandwidth and increases load times.

"Malwarebytes Browser Extension delivers a safer and faster web browsing experience. It blocks malicious websites and filters out unwanted content (resulting in up to three times faster webpage load times). The filtering is not based on definitions, so the extensions can block previously-unidentified fake tech support scams and their tactics".

Two Browser Guard features that are unique are the ability to block tech support scams, which can stop a browser from closing easily, and eliminating the  clickbait items that say "you may be interested in..." that often appear at the bottom or sides of a page. Two of the most familiar names that produce these are Taboola and Outbrain.

Other features include:

  • Identifies and stops browser lockers, browser hijackers
  • Blocks third-party ad trackers
  • Blocks web pages that contain malware, stops in-browser cryptojackers (unwanted cryptocurrency miners)
  • Blocks the downloading of potentially unwanted programs, including toolbars and pop-ups.

My experience with the extension is that it works well for the most part. It blocked most ads. I didn't notice a speed increase but I normally have add-ons that perform the same function so I wouldn't expect an increase. It stops the clickbait ads, greatly reducing the visual clutter on the sites that use those services. I haven't come across the tech support scams so I couldn't test that. 

Malwarebytes Browser Guard is a good extension if you like set it and forget it - it has basic settings that are accessible and useful, but if you like more control another option like uBlock Origin might be a better fit.

There are some issues with this extension. It may ask for an email address to activate the extension. Malwarebytes states they are doing this to improve product communication with the customers.
I found that Browser Guard blocked several legitimate sites. The function that let's you go to the site anyway often kept blocking the same site over and over. A few sites has problems displaying properly. Given that Browse Guard recently exited beta status some bugs might be expected and will probably get worked out.

You can download Malwarebytes Browser Guard here:

Google Chrome:
Malwarebytes Browser Guard
(supports Chrome GA (General Ability) version only)

Mozilla Firefox:
Malwarebytes Browser Guard
 

(h/t Techworld)

You can find more Tech Treats here.

 

 

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Comments

I have felt safest when using FF with NoScript. I have been using that for years.
I still can, because FF has stopped updating it's versions for those of us using XP
NoScript is no longer available in the later versions of FF.
For my XP browsing, it is lucky that FF insists that I have to use that earlier FF version (which NoScript still works in)

I use W10 occasionally, so I would be interested in knowing how I can have java script disabling like NoScript used to do.
Anyone have any suggestions ?

NoScript is currently at the Firefox add-on page:
https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/noscript/
If I can't get an add-on to install, I right click on it, save as .xpi, download, and drag and drop it on the extension page or use the Install Add-on from File option.

I usually use this instead:
https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/disable-javascript/

I've used this but it lacks site specific options:
https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/javascript-toggler
(toolbar button that toggles Java on and off)

I haven't used this but it looks promising, I'll have to give it a try:
https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/whitelist-javascript

Sounds like MB is trying to add Ghostery features. Love Ghostery because I can allow specific advertising sires on just one or two single survey sites. Surveys are many times put out by advertisers and if I cannot allow them on whichever survey I am doing I lose points and/or cut down the number of surveys I am shown. In other words, I cannot have a blanket shutdown of these ads/adware etc I will not be able to do most surveys. Ghostery allows the ad sites on my surveys without allowing all the ads everywhere else. Think I'll keep my Ghostery as it works with AdGuard perfectly. Thanx rhiannon.

I hadn't thought of it being like Ghostery. You can disable protection for individual sites in Malwarebytes - there's the option to turn off any or all of these options on individual sites: disable ads/trackers, malware, scams, and PUP's (potentially unwanted programs).

I don't like this idea from Malwarebytes:
"Communicate with cooperating websites".

That is always a personal choice.
The four permissions that the add-on asks for are listed on the page for the add-on:

This add-on can:

  • Access your data for all websites
  • Download files and read and modify the browser’s download history
  • Access browser tabs
  • Store unlimited amount of client-side data

I don't see "communicate with cooperating websites" listed there, or when the add-on is installed (I just installed it):


Here's a link to what permissions are in Firefox:
https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/permission-request-messages-firefox...

The "communicate with cooperating websites" isn't listed at the permissions page.

Is it better to have Malwarebytes collect my browsing habits, or these sites with unwanted content?

That is, as always, up to you.
You can go the Firefox add-ons page and view the privacy policy of any add-on.
As far as I know, most Chrome exensions have no listed privacy policy, it's probably available on the developers site.

Here's the link to Malwarebytes privacy policy for Firefox:
https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/malwarebytes/privacy/

Here's a link to what the permissions mean in Firefox:
https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/permission-request-messages-firefox...

If there's anything in the policy you aren't comfortable with I would avoid installing the add-on. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

For me the experience with Chrome has been slower instead of faster plus I keep getting this so I'll pass for now until they get it fixed. MC - Site Manager. https://i.imgur.com/JCwYy1E.png

I didn't experience a slowdown in any browsers (or additional speed) but the display issues, blocking too many legitimate sites and getting caught in a loop trying to whitelist sites added it to the "not right now maybe later" category. :)