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Friday, 27 July 2018 08:40

Chrome 68 Has Arrived With Features That Improve Internet Safety

Author:  Kevin Murnane 

 Source: This article was published forbes.com By Kevin Murnane - Contributed by Member: David J. Redcliff

The Chrome browser continues to evolve with the release of Chrome 68 for Windows, Mac, and Linux earlier this week. The update includes new features for users and developers along with many security enhancements and bug fixes. Here are two changes designed to improve internet safety.

Google calls out all websites that use the HTTP network protocol

By this time most have noticed that website URLs include the prefix HTTP:// or HTTPS:/. HTTP (HyperText Transfer Protocol) is a protocol that governs communication between browsers and websites. Data is sent in clear text over HTTP which means anyone who intercepts it can read it. This is not good if, for example, you enter your credit card information when you buy something online. HTTPS is a secure version of HTTP. Communication between the website and the browser is encrypted and if it is intercepted, it can’t be read without the encryption key.

Chrome rules the browser space with over 60% market share according to NetMarketShare. Google has been leveraging Chrome’s dominance to push websites to use the more secure HTTPS protocol. Last year, Chrome began adding the label “Not secure” in the URL bar for some HTTP websites. They’ve gradually expanded the use of the label, and with Chrome 68, it’s now attached to every website that still uses HTTP. The label is scheduled to flash from black text to red when the user enters data on an HTTP website in Chrome 70 which is scheduled for release in October.

Chrome 68CREDIT: GOOGLE

Some website redirects now demand user permission

A website redirect sends the user to a different website or pops up a new window when the user opens a page. Redirects have many legitimate uses, but they are also commonly employed to pop up annoying ads or surreptitiously send users to malicious websites.

Chrome 68 gives users control over two kinds of redirects that are often misused. The small rotating ads that appear on websites are embedded in iframes that can include code that hijacks the browser and sends the user to a different website. With Chrome 68, iframe redirects will pop up a window that gives the user the option of moving to the new website or staying where they are.

Tab-under simultaneously redirects to a website where the user may want to go while opening up a new browser window to an additional website. The additional website is typically located in the new browser window which is hidden under the main browser where it can’t be seen until the main browser is closed or minimized. Porn and phishing sites love tab-under. Chrome 68 alerts the user to the tab-under and provides the option to move to the new website if desired.

Both of these changes in Chrome 68 are designed to increase internet security. The “Not secure” warning for HTTP websites is a massive change. The user has to notice the label and understand what it means for it to have the intended effect. Blocking unwanted redirects takes a more active approach by forcing the user to give permission for the redirect to complete.

The recent unveiling of Site Isolation combined with the security enhancements in Chrome 68 illustrates Google's commitment to protecting users from harm on the internet. The internet isn’t safe, but it’s safer than it was last week for people using the Chrome browser.

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