Would you let users vouch for unknown software's safety with an upvote? Google does

Would you let users vouch for unknown software's safety with an upvote? Google does

POLL Google has revealed that its internal anti-malware tools include a “social voting” scheme that lets staff vouch for code they want to install won’t do any damage.


The ad and search giant’s rationale is that blocking all unknown software works but may limit productivity, while blocking only known unsafe software requires a lot of vetting.

“The obvious difficulty is that the more freedom you want to allow over the software your workforce can install outside your pre-vetted software, the more unmanageable the policy becomes,” wrote Max Saltonstall, a developer advocate at Google Cloud.


Google’s answer is code called Upvote that it’s just posted to GitHub.

“Upvote consists of both a web-based frontend for user voting and a policy server that works with the Santa system for Mac OS and the Carbon Black Protection (formerly Bit9) system for Windows,” Saltonstall wrote.


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“When a user (a Mac user, in this example) tries to run an unknown binary Santa—running in ’lockdown’ mode, allowing only allowed software to run—blocks the binary and Upvote allows the user to vote to allow it, surfacing a VirusTotal analysis so that they can make an informed decision.”


“If others also vote to allow it and the total number of votes reaches a certain threshold, the voters—and ..