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Download Bombs can Now Freeze Chrome on Malicious Sites

Google Chrome Keeps Freezing

Chrome Freeze On Malicious Sites

Scammers operating tech support scam websites have come up with a new way to the get visitors blocked from browsing the web. This happens when a person visits the shady sites set up by said scammers, and is intended to scare non-technical users into asking for assistance. Help invariably shows up in the form of unneeded software or servicing fees from the scammers.

How the problem first comes on is through JavaScript code, which is present on the malicious pages that the user visits. Such a page immediately starts thousands of file download operations, which then quickly consume the memory resources on the user’s computer, so that Chrome gets frozen on the scam site. Panicked users then turn to the tech support number shown on the page. Even the latest version of Chrome, version 64.0.3282.140, can freeze when one of these sites is visited.

Leading expert Jérôme Segura from Malwarebytes said that the new method makes uses of the JavaScript Blob, as well as the window.navigator.msSaveOrOpenBlob function, which are put to work creating a “download bomb” that freezes Chrome while browsing the web. According to other experts, the way to stop the attack is by opening Task Manager in Windows and closing the web browser.

Chrome On Malicious Websites

Common Browser Issues

This may still be a problem if the browser is configured to open the last open pages after restarting, in which case it is best to close the tabs on the malicious site first thing. That way, the page cannot load and begin any downloads on your computer, so you know you are mostly safe.

The download bomb trick comes on the heels of the history.pushState API, which similarly froze Chrome on malicious websites. Google had comes up with a fix for the latter, after which the download bomb began attacking users. The trick, as such, only works in Chrome, and if the user lands on the same sites while using other browsers, they will be redirected to other pages. So the next time Google Chrome keeps freezing on a new site, you know what the reason may be.

As long as we are on the topic of shady sites, you should also stay clear of sites that push fake Adobe Flash update packages. These can contain CPU miners, which can cause your system to slow down. Also dangerous are dubious sites pretending to sell you browser updates.

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