Home Android How to give Chrome a super-simple security upgrade

How to give Chrome a super-simple security upgrade

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Smart security, just like autumn attire, is all about layers. The more effective pieces you have working to protect you, the less likely you’ll be to let a burst of cold air — whether a metaphorical one or a literal one — catch you off-guard. (Also, the more flannel, the better. I’m not entirely sure how that applies to the tech side of things, but I’m stickin’ with it.)

When it comes to browsing this wild ol’ web of ours, after all, potential threats are a-plenty. Shady sites sit in wait to try to trick you into doing something dangerous, passwords are compromised constantly, and ghoulish virtual boogeymen who look curiously like Gary Busey crouch behind dark corners and prepare to pounce.

All right, so the threat of the electronic Busey dopplegangers might not be so massive. But the web is full of security trapdoors. And Google’s got a brawny new layer to add to your ensemble and help keep you extra safe.

It’s a new form of enhanced protection from web-based security threats in Chrome, and it’s there and waiting to be activated. By default, though, it isn’t on — and you’d probably never even know it was available. But if you take two minutes to find and enable it, it’ll be a valuable extra piece of your tech protection outfit. You can even pretend it’s flannel, if you want.

We’ll start with the simpler side of things, on the desktop front, and then move from there to Android — where the feature requires a teensy bit of extra effort to uncover. Before we get into the specifics, though, let’s take a second to break down this new form of browsing protection and what it’s all about.

Chrome’s Enhanced Safe Browsing mode: A quick overview

Right now, whether you realize it or not, your Chrome browser is probably using something Google calls Safe Browsing — on your computer, on your phone, and anywhere else you’ve got the thing installed.

Safe Browsing has been around in Chrome for a long time — since 2007, in fact, which was roughly 749 years ago by my current estimation. The system keeps an eye out for any signs of web-based malware, phishing, social engineering, and a bunch of other scary-sounding things. It also checks the URL of every page you open in the browser, in a split second before the site comes up, to make sure the address isn’t listed in a collection of questionable sites Google maintains and stores locally in your Chrome browser (with updates trickling down from Google’s own servers periodically).

If you’ve ever tried to open a web page and found yourself facing a weird error message telling you the site you’re trying to pull up might try to steal your information, eat all your Mars Bars, or be unsafe for some other ungodly reason, well, there ya go — that’s the Safe Browsing system at work.

Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.

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