Harmful Download Warning

Description of the issue: I have 4 Windows computers and 1 Android device on a sync chain together. All 5 were behaving as expected until recently I needed to reinstall Windows on one of the computers. After reinstalling Windows, I installed Brave and rejoined the computer to the sync chain. I noticed that after this reinstallation, any .exe I downloaded on this computer always gave the message in the image below. It does not matter which .exe I attempt to download, it always gives this message. If I attempt to download the same exact .exe from any of the other computers on the sync chain, they do not receive this message. One of these other computers is in the same network with the same router, DNS, and firewall settings.

How can this issue be reproduced?

I do not know that this issue can be exactly reproduced; as of right now, I am only seeing this issue on a single computer. I do not have another computer to truly test on and the last thing I want to do is cause issues on one of working computers to get this fixed (that being said, in the name of science, if I need to, we can try that). However, the issue seems to be directly related to the sync chain. If I uninstall and reinstall Brave, I do not get the warning at all until the very moment I rejoin this computer to the sync chain. I have also attempted to reinstall Windows again with no change.

Expected result:

The same result on any of the working computers; it downloads .exe’s from trusted sources like Adobe without warning that the file can be harmful.

Brave Version( check About Brave): 1.22.67

Are you able to share the URL of a download page where you are seeing this problem?

You’re saying that it happens for any .exe. Does that for example include this one: https://www.videolan.org/vlc/download-windows.html

(I just downloaded that one myself and it wasn’t blocked.)

Correct, that download does show the same warning for me:

Another URL that does that for me as well is https://creativecloud.adobe.com/apps/all/desktop?action=install&source=apps&productId=creative-cloud

If I take the same links into Google Chrome and download the files, I do not receive any sort of similar warning.

The Adobe download page requires an account to download, but the fact that VLC triggers that warning on your machine and not on mine (Brave 1.22.70 on Windows 10) tells me that there is something wrong with your browser.

Can you take a screenshot of what you see if you open brave://safe-browsing/#tab-db-manager?

Here’s what it looks like in my browser:

I’m sure I can find more downloads that give me the message if you need.

It looks like it’s the same on mine:

Can you try the test cases under “Desktop Download Warnings” on https://testsafebrowsing.appspot.com/? (all of these files are safe, it’s the official Google test page for Safe Browsing)

You should see a different kinds of warning:

Looks normal as well:

Ok, so Safe Browsing is working fine in your browser. There must be something else erroneously flagging these legit downloads.


  1. Can you tell me if you have any extensions installed at this time? If so, can you please try disabling them and see if this changes the behavior?
  2. Do you have any Anti-virus software installed on your desktop?

You may want to go a step further and just try creating a temp. browser profile and see if you’re getting this warning when using a new profile with no data as well.

This issue may be much simpler than I initially thought. The issue has expanded to the other computers is my sync chain; since it did, I decided to try an entirely clean computer. I installed it on a clean Windows 10 install, no antivirus or anything. I think I have traced it to the option “Ask where to save each file before downloading.” As soon as I disable that on the new computer, it begins warning me about the download.

I am almost certain this is a new development as I have had that option disabled on all of my computers since I installed Brave for the first time 2 months ago. This is the first it has done this to me that I can recall. It is possible I brushed it off initially until I had to download dozens of executables when I had to rebuild my computer. Is this expected behavior?

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