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Chrome and Firefox slowdown

posted 25 Feb 2010, 13:23 by Ian Gilliam
Both of the browsers use the Google safebrowsing cache to determine if a site being visited is one known for phising or malware.  The only problem with this is that it relies on a file being downloaded from Google containing a partial and encoded list of urls.  See http://code.google.com/p/google-safe-browsing/wiki/Protocolv2Spec for more details. 

It became apparent that something was causing a network slowdown and data transfers.  Machines running Firefox, Chrome and/or the Google Toolbar became subject to excessive disk activity without any process being located to match this disk activity.  Switching off malware and phising detection options in these browsers seem to stop this effect from happening.

The activity was determined by checking our Squid proxy log which showed repeated attempts to contact the safebrowsing cache site.  Any network analysing program should show you this.

Please note that we use the OpenDNS service which supplies phising and malware protection, most modern AV solutions also provide this facility.