Google Chrome found to start antivirus scans at every launch

Google Chrome comes with a built-in antivirus scanner. (Source: Google)
Google Chrome comes with a built-in antivirus scanner. (Source: Google)
A bug in Google Chrome is causing the inbuilt antivirus scanner in the browser to initiate scans during startup causing delays in launching the program. While Google will be addressing this bug in a future patch, the only workaround right now is to clear the download history to prevent the scan from occurring at launch.

Google Chrome has been found to initiate antivirus scans every time it is launched causing a perceivable slowdown in system performance. The issue has been traced to the Chrome Cleanup Tool, an antivirus component built into Google Chrome that automatically scans browser hijacking points. 

Kelly Shortridge, a product manager at SecurityScorecard found out that Chrome was running antivirus scans quietly on a non-system folder.

I was wondering why my Canarytoken (a file folder) was triggering & discovered the culprit was chrome.exe. Turns out @googlechrome quietly began performing AV scans on Windows devices last fall. Wtf m8? This isn’t a system dir, either, it’s in Documents

— Kelly Shortridge (@swagitda_) March 29, 2018

This is a result of a bug in the Chrome Cleanup Tool (CCT), which actually runs ESET's virus detection technology in Chrome's sandbox. The CCT, which was rolled out to Google Chrome users last October, helps restore a hijacked browser and reset hijacked settings. The checks should occur on previously downloaded files but apparently, the bug has moved the checks into the startup path causing delays in launching the browser. 

Google's security lead, Justin Schuh, advises users to clean up the list of downloaded files as a temporary workaround. He said,

If you are hitting this issue and you want a fix right now then go to chrome://downloads in your browser, go to the menu in the top right, and select Clear All. That will clear Chrome’s list of downloaded files so that it won’t have any files to existence-check at startup. If you have a large list of downloaded files then this will improve startup time slightly."

A bug report has been filed and will be addressed in an upcoming update to the browser. Till then, clearing the downloads list can help prevent the scans from occurring at startup.


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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2018 04 > Google Chrome found to start antivirus scans at every launch
Vaidyanathan Subramaniam, 2018-04- 9 (Update: 2018-04- 9)
Vaidyanathan Subramaniam
I am a cell and molecular biologist and computers have been an integral part of my life ever since I laid my hands on my first PC which was based on an Intel Celeron 266 MHz processor, 16 MB RAM and a modest 2 GB hard disk. Since then, I’ve seen my passion for technology evolve with the times. From traditional floppy based storage and running DOS commands for every other task, to the connected cloud and shared social experiences we take for granted today, I consider myself fortunate to have witnessed a sea change in the technology landscape. I honestly feel that the best is yet to come, when things like AI and cloud computing mature further. When I am not out finding the next big cure for cancer, I read and write about a lot of technology related stuff or go about ripping and re-assembling PCs and laptops.