Here’s how Google will keep you safe when browsing the web on your phone

8 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Android users now benefit from Google’s Safe Browsing service.

Not anymore. The protective service is used in Google Chrome as well as in other web browsers like Firefox and Safari and protects mobile web users from accessing malicious web pages.Google’s Safe Browsing feature, a tool that provides a notification when the user navigates to a website Google deems unsafe, is now rolling out to all Android Chrome users.

In a post on its online security blog, Google has announced its Chrome browser on Android will have Google Safe Browsing search turned on by default – a big leap for web safety as two-thirds of online traffic moves through Chrome according to W3Schools, a leading web developer information website. To make sure the site isn’t trying to infect your device with malicious software or steal your data, Google will keep a list of sites on your device that have been known to be “naughty”.

And that might mean only sending a brief update to stop people from unwittingly ending up at the riskiest sites known to Google, particularly phishing sites. According to TechCrunch, the search giant wanted to ensure the Safe Browsing did not hog processor cycles and battery life before it enabled the feature for everyone. Because, as the blog post says thrice, “Data size matters a lot.” The Safety Browsing API is code that can be included in apps by developers to add this feature for free, giving all the mobile antivirus and safe browsing apps a run for their money. Google is even relying on compression in order to keep data small — because Google doesn’t want to use up people’s mobile data plans unnecessarily. “We hunt badness on the Internet so that you don’t discover it the hard way, and our protection should never be an undue burden on your networking costs or your device’s battery. With the data compression service, all your unencrypted web traffic is routed through Google’s servers, where Google can then easily check URLs against its blacklist.

On mobile, it’s not that easy. “Bytes are big: our mantra is that every single bit that Safe Browsing sends a mobile device must improve protection,” Google’s Safe Browsing team members Noé Lutz, Nathan Parker, and Stephan Somogyi said in today’s announcement. “Network bandwidth and battery are the scarcest resources on a mobile device, so we had to carefully rethink how to best protect mobile users. Some social engineering attacks only happen in certain parts of the world, so we only send information that protects devices in the geographic regions they’re in.” With this update, Google says, the company is extending this protection to “hundreds of millions of Chrome users on Android” (there are a total of over 800 million mobile Chrome users, but that number also includes iOS users).

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