Chrome’s most robust browser security: What you give up when you use Enhanced Safe Browsing Mode
Threats to your personal data have become more common in recent years and are unlikely to go away anytime soon. There was aand cases in the since last year. At this rate, data breaches will soon be as common as houseplants in a millennial’s home.
The folks at Google suggestUser safeguards to help protect their personal data from malicious online activity, with enhanced Safe Browsing. These additional protections were released in 2020 and received an update last year. Google reports that people who enable these protections are 35% less likely to fall victim to phishing scams than those who don’t.
While these protections certainly help keep you safe online, your privacy could suffer. By activating these protections, you allow Google to access more detailed information about your browsing habits.
Here’s what to know about Chrome’s enhanced safe browsing protections.
How to enable Enhanced Safe Browsing
These protections are not enabled by default, which means that you must enable them if you want additional security. Here’s how to activate them.
1. Open Chromium from your computer or Android device.
2. Click or tap the three points in the top right corner of your browser or screen.
3. Click or tap Settings.
4. Click or tap Privacy and Security.
5. Click or tap Security.
6. On your computer, click Reinforced protection. On Android, tap Safe navigation.
Google hasn’t brought Enhanced Safe Browsing to iOS, but that could change.
One important thing to note is that if you enable these protections from one device, they do not carry over to your other devices. This means that you must activate protections for all your devices if you want full coverage.
If you decide that Enhanced Safe Browsing is more trouble than it’s worth, you can turn them off by following the steps above and clicking or tapping Standard protections Where No protection. However, No protectionas the name suggests, does not offer you any protection, so it is not recommended.
Benefits of Enhanced Safe Browsing
If you turn on Enhanced Safe Browsing protections, Chrome will check in real time to see if a site you’re about to visit might be a phishing site. These scans could prevent users from accidentally giving their information to malicious actors, which could save them time and money.
When you’re about to download a new extension from the Chrome web store, enhanced safe browsing protections let you know if the extension is trustworthy or not. Approved extensions follow the Chrome Web Store Developer Program policies.
Chrome also scans files before downloading them to block suspicious files. If the files are risky but not clearly dangerous, Chrome will ask users if they want to send the file to Google for further analysis. These scans and scans shouldn’t take more than a few minutes, and the extra caution is worth it to make sure you’re as safe as possible.
Google will also analyze usernames and passwords associated with data breaches to see if your information is compromised. It could save you a lot of headaches and worries. A notification from Google could warn you before you fall victim to fraudulent charges.
Disadvantages of Enhanced Safe Browsing
These guards are nice, but there are a few downsides.
If you turn on Enhanced Safe Browsing, you share more data, like what you download, with Google. If you’re signed in to Chrome, your Google Account is also temporarily tied to your browsing data. According to Google, this is to tailor protections to your specific situation, and this data is anonymized after a short period of time to protect users. However, according to a study from Princeton and Stanford universities, anonymized data, including search histories, can be linked to social media profiles using publicly available data.
Improved Safe Browsing could also harm developers. If you’re a new extension developer, you should wait for Google to say your product is trustworthy. Google requires new developers to follow the Developer Program rules for a few months before they can be labeled as trusted. This policy could hurt new developers who depend on income from their work, and it could block talented developers who can’t afford to wait those months.
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