April 24, 2024

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Google says Chrome can now better protect you while preserving your privacy

Google says Chrome can now better protect you while preserving your privacy

Google She added Real-time browsing protection for Chrome that claims it should protect your privacy. The feature, which Google says hides URLs you've visited, is now available in the default standard mode of Safe Browsing on Chrome.

For many years, Chrome's Safe Browsing feature has automatically added potentially unsafe URLs to the list that Google stores on your device. Every time a user visits a site, Google checks the URL against that list and issues a warning. The problem is that Google only updates the locally stored database every 30 to 60 minutes. Since most risky sites exist for less than 10 minutes nowadays, a lot of unsafe sites slip through the cracks.

Sign up for Safe Browsing Enhanced protection The mode handles this by using Google's Safe Browsing server-side database, which detects unsafe URLs much faster in real time. However, users must provide Google with more security-related data to get full protection, which is why this is an opt-in mode.

Google claims that the new version of Safe Browsing solves this problem with an API that hides the URLs of visited sites from Google. Now, Google says it will perform a real-time scan of sites it can't find in its database, then send an encrypted version of the URLs to Fastly's independently running privacy server.

Google says the privacy server will then strip the URL of any potential user identifiers such as IP addresses and will not be able to decrypt the URL. After that, it will be sent to the Safe Browsing server database via a TLS connection that mixes your request with requests sent by other Chrome users.

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Safe Browsing should then be able to decrypt the URL to its full hash form – which still hides the URL – and check it in its list. If Safe Browsing finds a match, Google says it will just send the encrypted hash form to Google, and Google will then warn the user.

As a result, throughout the process, Google claims that your browsing activity remains private; No single party will be able to see your IP address and URL hash prefixes. Meanwhile, Google says it should be able to block 25% of phishing attempts.

However, while the standard and enhanced modes can now perform real-time scanning, Google claims that the enhanced version continues to offer greater protection. This is because it comes with additional features, such as artificial intelligence to prevent attacks, deep file scans, and additional protection from dangerous Chrome extensions.

The new real-time verification feature for Standard mode is currently available on Chrome desktop and iOS and will be rolled out to Android later this month.