Google released the enhanced Safe Browsing feature for the Chrome desktop in May. It is now available for Android smartphones. The idea is to provide a tailor-made solution to users based on the threats they face rather than opting for a single response.
Hackers are increasingly sophisticated in their approach and we must engage them with equal vigor if we are to protect our data and our interests. We’ll show you how to enable Enhanced Safe Browsing in Android and how it works in the background to protect you from emerging threats.
Improved Safe Browsing operation
What Google will do is share “security data” to assess threats in real time. For example, if you type in the URL of a popular site, Google won’t even flinch, but if you enter an unusual URL, Google will check whether it is a phishing site or not. All of this will happen before the site actually loads on your browser. This collected data will also help other Chrome users if they visit the same page. These incorrect / infected URLs are then added to a blocklist API shared with other Chrome users to protect them from the same threat you were encountering. I hope the list only grows over time. Google updates this list every 30 minutes, which also includes downloads and extensions.
But that means there is a 30 minute window before the list is refreshed again, and so to fix this, Google has released improved Safe Browsing. It depends on the real-time data to combat the delay problem. Why share data in real time? Hackers can easily change phishing domains / URLs very quickly to avoid getting banned and bypassing the blocklist.
Google notes that the sample data is associated with your Google account, but only temporarily. Google explains that this is done to help them offer personalized security protection against threats targeting you, your region, or even your specific account.
This data is then anonymized to protect your identity and save your profile on Google’s servers. Enhanced Safe Browsing is optional. So if you are unsure about the data collection or if you depend on some other service to secure your online presence, you can turn off the service. We recommend that you activate it. Partly because the amount of data Google has access to is unmatched, and using machine learning and AI, they’re in a better position to protect you. Billions of people use Google apps, after all. And in part because Google already knows pretty much everything about you. If you are concerned, start using TOR or Brave for the browser, DuckDuckGo for search, and a VPN to hide IP / identity.
How To Enable Enhanced Safe Browsing In Chrome Android
I recommend that you update the Chrome app to the latest version to make sure you have this feature on your phone. Open the Play Store, find the Chrome app, and show the Update button in green if the app isn’t already updated. You need to use Chrome version 86.0.4240.114 or higher for this to work.
Step 1: Launch the Chrome app on your phone and navigate to chrome: // flags. You’ll enter this in the address bar to reveal a hidden section where you can activate experimental features before they even launch. Search safe navigation in the search bar.
2nd step: You should receive the Improved Safe Browsing Protection on Android flag. Although this is obvious, you should also enable the Security section on Android flag just below. Select Enabled from the drop-down menu under each indicator. Tap the Relaunch button at the bottom of the screen to relaunch Chrome. This is necessary to implement the recently made changes.
Step 3: Tap the three-dot menu icon in the upper right corner to select Settings and tap Privacy & Security.
Step 4: Tap Safe Browsing inside. The parameter was missing before, as you may have noticed. You will notice three security settings to choose from: Enhanced, Standard, and No Protection.
Step 5: The default is Standard protection, but you need to tap Enhanced protection to activate it. There is a brief description under each option to explain in more detail what it does. The real difference is that the Standard Protection will update the Blocklist every 30 minutes while the Enhanced Protection will update it in real time.
The web browser is our window to the world. This is mainly how we access the wild web. It makes a lot of sense to stop threats at the source rather than allowing them to infect our machines and find ways to get rid of them using antivirus and the like. Google has taken a step in the right direction, but frankly, they should have done so sooner. Even better now than ever.
This does not mean that you are free to open any site you want and that you do not need to take care of your computer. Google isn’t the only one improving its game. Hackers are doing it too, and guess what? They often break these defenses, wreaking havoc in personal and professional life. You can never be too careful. This is just another tool in your arsenal. Ultimately, you are responsible for your own data and your security. It’s just like that.
Looking for other metrics to explore on your Android Chrome browser? Click the link below to find our favorite Chrome flags.
Last updated on Nov 9, 2020
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