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Google releases Chrome-based Web security scrutinizer

An open-source Chrome extension called DOM Snitch peers at Web site software sent to the browser and looks for vulnerabilities.

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Google today released an open-source tool called DOM Snitch that tries to flag Web site software that would be dangerous to run in a browser.

The software is an experimental Chrome extension that examines how Web site code executes to see if commands could lead to cross-site scripting or other attacks used to deliver malware to computers via a Web browser.

DOM Snitch (download) "enables developers and testers to identify insecure practices commonly found in client-side code," said Google security test engineer Radoslav Vasilev in a blog post. He elaborated:

To do this, we have adopted several approaches to intercepting JavaScript calls to key and potentially dangerous browser infrastructure such as document.write or HTMLElement.innerHTML (among others). Once a JavaScript call has been intercepted, DOM Snitch records the document URL and a complete stack trace that will help assess if the intercepted call can lead to cross-site scripting, mixed content, insecure modifications to the same-origin policy for DOM access, or other client-side issues.

The move is one of many Google has made of late to improve security on the Web--a medium the company believes is the programming platform of the future and that holds a dominant role in its own business. The company also is working hard to improve Chrome's own security.

Other open-source Google security products include Skipfish and Ratproxy, which let people test the security of Web applications.