Google Chrome won’t allow users to manage and disable plugins

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No matter what kind of activity you engage at the computer, you’re probably using a web browser. As such, it’s understandable how any modification developers make to their browser is scrutinized under a microscope.

Google’s Chrome browser is considered the very best browser at the moment and has held that title for quite some time now. Speaking of Chrome, new interesting details emerge from the drawing board of Chrome 57, the latest build of the popular web browser.

Plugins are off-limits

Plugins are something that pretty much everyone uses or at least knows about. They are great because they give your browser new functionality that facilitate a more feature-rich browsing experience.

A decision made by Google concerning Chrome 57, however, has struck concern among the community. Starting with Chrome 57, users will be unable to change the settings of plugins or disable them. Now, many are scratching their heads trying to understand why Google has come to this decision.

Implications and security risks

Plugins can be very useful, but at the same time can also provide attackers with a much-needed backdoor to more important information. If there’s a security vulnerability present in one of your plugins, you should be able to disable it until the problem is fixed. However, that won’t be possible anymore thanks to Google’s changes, meaning that users are in a tough spot.

Currently, only Chrome PDF Viewer and the baked in Adobe Flash Player plugins are available for modifications. They can only be accessed through the browser’s Settings page. The previously available page which you could access through the address chrome://plugins/ is now no longer usable. Additionally, any other plugins that aren’t one of the two aforementioned exceptions will be unreachable.

But why, though?

The reason why Google came to this decision is probably more important to some than the actual change. Here’s what one of the company’s engineers said about this change:

It is part of an ongoing effort to deprecate the page chrome://plugins. In a nutshell you can still control the state of the two plugins that are part of Chrome’s bundle but do not represent essential Chrome components – PDF and Flash – both of those can be controlled through the content settings dialog that you can reach from the settings page.
If you are interested in more details and want to follow the process further you can subscribe to this issue https://bugs.chromium.org/p/chromium/issues/detail?id=615738 .

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