Posted On 08 Jan 2019
You may have experienced “back button hijacking” yourself in the past and witnessed firsthand just how frustrating it can be.
Essentially, malicious websites can hijack Chrome’s history by using countless redirects to the same page. This means that the browser history become useless as it is flooded with the same URL, meaning that the user cannot navigate away.
This is particularly annoying when an ad page uses the technique, trapping a user with the only option to close the tab. Some websites also inject an ad page into the history, meaning that when the user backs out of the page, they will see an ad that they have never visited.
Google’s talented engineers are aware of this troublesome practice and they’re hard at work on developing a solution. They have released a series of source code updates for Chromium, the browser that powers Chrome and other popular browsers.
In a blog post on 9to5google – a site dedicated to all things Google – it was explained how the ultimate end game is to remove these fake history entries entirely.
These updates play an important first step as it allows the user to see whether those history entries were created as a consequence of user interaction of by an automated and malicious method. In the first phase, these reports will simply be sent to Google’s engineers so that they can assess the techniques that the pages are using.
Eventually, back button hijacking will be removed entirely. The engineers are erring on the side of caution, however, given that they don’t want to remove legitimate entries to the history function. This would be disastrous and would lead to countless issues.
It is expected that the process will continue to be refined and will be ready at some point within Q1 of 2019. Keep your eyes peeled and you’ll notice that the feature will make browsing on Chromium-powered browsers much more pleasant.
The initiative is just one element in Google’s constant fight to offer users the best user experience possible. Earlier this year Google announced that frustrating ad experiences would be blocked from its browser as it followed guidance laid out by the Coalition for Better Ads. Back button hijacking is a very negative experience and its solution will be sure to delight users.