Really, Google? Chrome 57 kills the ability to control and disable plugins


With web browsers being among the most frequently used pieces of software out there, it’s little wonder that there is so much concern about security surrounding them. Browser plugins can be a major security worry, and with Chrome 57 Google has taken the strange decision to block users from disabling them or changing their settings.

While this is not the same as preventing users from changing the settings for extensions, or removing them, it still has important implications — particularly if a security problem should be discovered in a plugin Google bundles with Chrome.

In Chrome 57, the page which has traditionally been used to control plugins — chrome://plugins/ — no longer works. While it was previously possible to visit this page to either completely disable a plugin or change its run settings, now users must visit Settings to control the Adobe Flash Player and Chrome PDF Viewer plugins. Any other plugins are untouchable.

As well as hiding or completely removing the option to change plugin settings, killing the chrome://plugins/ page means that there is now no easy way for Chrome users to see a list of plugins and their descriptions.

This decision by Google is both a step in the wrong direction in terms of user-friendliness, and also a security concern.

Photo credit: Evan Lorne / Shutterstock


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