Safe Browsing is a widely used list of dangerous URLs that Google maintains, helping to keep users away from malicious sites. Google now builds on the blocklist API with Enhanced Safe Browsing in Chrome to “substantially increase protection from dangerous websites and downloads,” protecting four billion devices daily.
Enhanced Safe Browsing is rolling out today in Chrome 83, with a suite of other security and privacy measures. Google claims that having a “more advanced level” of browsing protections is not feasible as “one-size-fits-all” security strategies against the most persistent threats.
It involves users exchanging data in Google Safe Browsing in real time, so that Chrome can provide proactive protection. Chrome currently checks every site you visit for the URL against a local list that is downloaded every 30 minutes. However, by switching domains quickly, “sophisticated phishing sites” are getting updates of around 30 minutes.
The enhanced protection works by sending “real-time unusual URLs” to determine if you are about to visit a phishing site. Chrome will also send a “small sample of pages and suspicious downloads.” Additional measures are active if you’re signed in with Gmail, Drive, and other Google services working with Chrome to provide a “holistic view of threats” on the web and attacks against your Google Account.
Google is preparing additional protections such as tailored warnings for phishing sites and downloads of files, as well as cross-product alerts over the coming year.
On the privacy issue, the data sent is temporarily attached to your Google Account. Google claims that this is to adapt the protections of Safe Browsing to “the situation,” with the data being anonymised after a “short period.”
Enhanced Safe Browsing is gradually rolling out for Mac , Windows , Linux and Chrome OS with Chrome 83. You’ll need to opt-in to take advantage of the new measures:
In a future release, it’s coming to Chrome for Android, with “Standard Protection” and completely removing Safe Browsing, too.