How we help you keep your computer and device clean

While some criminals might be after your information, like your bank account details, email inbox or online passwords, others may be looking to take control of your device – your computer, tablet or phone.

Criminals can then use your device to find other devices that they can control. They often use armies of computers to knock websites offline or breach their security systems.

One of the top ways that criminals can take control of your computer is by installing malicious software, or malware. You can help to protect your computer from malware, but Google also works hard to help protect you too, with hundreds of security experts working around the clock to help ensure that your data and devices are secure.

Helping you to avoid malware

Just like Google searches the web for sites with the best answers to your questions, we also look for sites that appear to be harmful to users or have malware on them. Every day we identify and flag more than 10,000 of those unsafe sites, and we show warnings on as many as 14 million Google Search results and 300,000 downloads, telling our users that there might be something suspicious going on behind a particular website or link.

We also use the same technology to help identify if someone is sending you a message in Gmail that might be harmful or have malware, and to warn you if you try to download something from a website that might look like a ringtone or a PDF, but secretly contains code that could harm your computer.

Even if you do go to a page with malware, Google’s engineers have built additional defences into the Chrome browser that help prevent malware from installing itself on your computer and minimise the impact of malware on your computer.

Helping you to stay up to date

One way that criminals sometimes gain access to your computer is by looking for known security problems in old versions of software running on your device. They know that many people don’t always update to the latest version of their computer software and programmes, which have the best security protection. Google knows this too, which is why we built the Chrome browser to auto-update to the latest version every time that you start it up, so that you can get up-to-date security protection without any extra work.

Chrome sometimes has to work with other software, called plug-ins, to do things like show pictures or video properly. These plug-ins can also be a way for criminals to gain control of your computer. If Chrome detects an out-of-date plug-in with a security problem, it will block that plug-in until you have the most up-to-date and secure version and show you a message telling you that the plug-in needs to be updated.

Helping you keep your mobile device safe

Smartphones running Google’s Android software have similar protections in place to reduce the risk of damage.

Android also requires that every app in the Google Play store list what kind of information the app wants to collect or access from your device, so that you can decide whether you trust the app or not. We also automatically scan Google Play to block and remove harmful apps, and for some Android phones, our Google Application Verifying Service will check for potentially harmful applications no matter where you are installing them from. So, if you install applications from unknown sources like the web or a third-party app store, this free service will provide you with another layer of security.