Why You Should Use Google Chrome’s Enhanced Safe Browsing Mode

Threats to your personal data have become more common in recent years, and they are unlikely to go away anytime soon. There was a record number of data breaches last yearand in the cases of the first quarter of this year increased by 14% since last year. At this rate, data breaches will soon be as common as houseplants in a millennial’s home.

The folks at Google offer Chromium User safeguards to protect their personal data from malicious online activity with Enhanced Safe Browsing Protections. These additional protections were released in 2020 and received an update last year. Google reports that people who enable these protections are 35% less likely to fall victim to phishing scams than others, but these protections come with some caveats.


Here’s what to know about Chrome’s enhanced safe browsing protections.

These protections are not enabled by default, which means that you must enable them if you want additional security. Here’s how to activate them.

1. Open Chromium from your computer or Android device.

2. Click or press the button three points in the top right corner of your browser or screen.

3. Click or tap Settings.

4. Click or tap Privacy and Security.

5. Click or tap Security.

6. On your computer, click Improved protection. On Android, tap Secure browsing.

Google hasn’t brought Enhanced Safe Browsing to iOS, but that could change.

One important thing to note is that if you activate these protections from one device, they do not carry over to your other devices. This means that you must activate protections for all your devices if you want full coverage.

If you decide that Enhanced Safe Browsing is more trouble than it’s worth, you can turn them off by following the steps above and clicking or tapping standard coverage Where No coverage. Nevertheless No coverageas the name suggests, does not give you any protection, so it is not recommended.

Benefits of Enhanced Safe Browsing

If you turn on Enhanced Safe Browsing protections, Chrome will check in real time to see if a site you’re about to visit might be a phishing site. These scans could protect users from accidentally handing over their information to malicious actors, potentially saving them time and money.

When you’re about to download a new extension from the Chrome web store, enhanced safe browsing protections let you know whether the extension is trusted or not. Approved extensions follow the Chrome Web Store Developer Program Guidelines.

Chrome also scans files before downloading them to block suspicious files. If the files are risky but not clearly dangerous, Chrome will ask users if they want to send the file to Google for further analysis. These scans shouldn’t take more than a few minutes, and the extra caution is worth it to make sure you’re as safe as possible.

Google will also analyze usernames and passwords associated with data breaches to see if your information is compromised. It could save you a lot of headaches and worry. A notification from Google could warn you before you are hit with fraudulent charges.

Disadvantages of Enhanced Safe Browsing

These guards are nice, but there are a few downsides.

If you turn on Enhanced Safe Browsing, you share more data with Google. If you’re signed in to Chrome, your Google Account is temporarily tied to your browsing data. According to Google, this is to tailor protections to your specific situation, and this data is anonymized after a short period of time to protect users. However, according to a study by Princeton and Stanford Universities, anonymized data, including search histories, can be linked to social media profiles using publicly available data.

Improved Safe Browsing could also hurt developers. If you are a new extension developer, you should wait for Google to say that your product can be approved. Google requires new developers to follow Developer Program policies for a few months before they can be labeled as trusted. This policy could hurt new developers who depend on income from their work, and it could lock in talented developers who can’t afford to wait those months.

For more Google news, see why Google is suing Sonos, what you need to know about Google’s new Wallet app and how to free up space in your google drive.

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