Danish Kapoor
Danish Kapoor

Privacy bar rises in Chrome: Real-time secure browsing is enabled

Subscribe to Teknoblog content on Google News:

Google’s popular web browser Chrome has received an important update that will take users’ online privacy to the next level. Now, Chrome protects the URLs visited by users in real time with its Safe Browsing feature. This new step is available as a feature enabled in Chrome’s default Standard mode and promises users stronger privacy protection.

For years, Chrome’s Safe Browsing feature has been storing a list of potentially threatening URLs and issuing warnings by comparing them with this list when a user visits a website. However, Google’s local update of this list every 30 to 60 minutes was insufficient today as most dangerous sites appear and disappear in less than 10 minutes.

Real-time security and privacy in Chrome

Safe Browsing’s Enhanced protection mode addresses this problem by using Google’s server-side database to catch dangerous URLs faster in real time. This mode requires the provision of more security-related data and is therefore left to the users’ choice.

Google claims to have resolved issues in providing real-time protection with an API that hides the URLs of visited sites from Google. Google will do a real-time check for sites it can’t find in its database and then send an encrypted version of the URLs to an independent privacy server operated by Fastly. This privacy server will strip possible user identifiers, such as IP addresses, from the URL and send the URL, without decrypting it, to Safe Browsing’s server-side database over a TLS connection, combined with requests from other Chrome users.

Throughout this process, Google ensures that users’ browsing activities remain private; It claims that no single party can see both your IP address and the URL’s hash prefixes. At the same time, Google states that it can block 25% more phishing attempts with this new system.

While Standard and Enhanced modes are now both capable of real-time control, Google claims that the Enhanced version provides greater protection by offering additional features. These additional features include artificial intelligence (AI) to block attacks, deep file scans, and extra protection from dangerous Chrome extensions.

Currently available for Chrome on desktop and iOS, this new real-time control feature will also be available for Android later this month. With this update, Chrome strengthens the protection of users against online threats while also protecting their privacy more effectively.

Danish Kapoor