ESET partners with Google on Chrome Cleanup tool

Chrome Cleanup provides the same benefits for the Google browser that Defender provides for Microsoft tools, and while it’s not itself a channel play, it has some indirect benefits for ESET partners.

Juraj Malcho, Chief Technology Officer at ESET

Endpoint security vendor ESET has announced a new partnership with Google, which has led to the launch of a new Chrome Cleanup tool that is available through the Chrome browser.

“Chrome Cleanup looks for malicious or unwanted families of malware, anything that negatively impacts a user experience,” said Juraj Malcho, Chief Technology Officer at ESET. “These include many kinds of activities, such as hijacking a start page, or injecting ads. It isn’t limited to known families of malware, as it contains heuristics that identify particular behaviour.”

Users of Microsoft tools already have this capability with Windows Defender. Google’s browser had no parallel protection in a Windows environment.

“Because Google does not own the Windows platform, they did not have the same kind of Cleanup protection that Defender provides,” Malcho said. “They were looking for a partner to help them, since this is outside their area of expertise. We already knew each other from research circles, particularly in the Clean Software Alliance, where we worked with them in the past.”

For ESET, entering into this kind of relationship with Google is a very big deal. Part of it is simply the prestige of being picked to provide the capability, something the company will be able to use to advantage in its marketing. Malcho said that it has technology advantages as well.

“Partnering with Google is a big plus because they are very technologically driven, as are we,” he said. “We also wanted to do this as a feasibility study. While we provide the scanning and cleaning engine, the design of the cleaner was dictated by the Google software. So we had to work our design to be compatible with Google.”

Chrome Cleanup is now a feature within the Chrome browser, which is gradually being released in stages on a geo basis. It will alert Google Chrome users to potential threats when it detects unwanted software, and users are given the option of removing the software. If they choose to remove it, Chrome Cleanup deletes it and informs the user once the task is done.

There’s not a direct channel play for this, since Chrome Cleanup is a free part of the browser, but there are a couple pluses for ESET partners from it. One is the prestige of partnering with Google on the tool. The other though is that this is the first of what are likely to be an expanded set of development options partners can use.

“One of the things we are working on know reviving our SDK kit, something we haven’t really been focused on,” Malcho said. “This is a part of our refreshment in this area. Look to have something new in terms of a new SDK from us next year, which will provide new ways of working with us in terms of things like content scanning.”