5 best ways to stay safe online with Chrome

5 best ways to stay safe online with Chrome

By Valentina Tuta

As you know, Chrome has been specially designed to make your browsing secure by default, protecting you from dangerous and untrusted sites that could steal your passwords and even infect your device. What’s more, Chrome pioneered many of the techniques that are now fundamental to browser security (such as sandboxing and site isolation).

And with recent advances like predictive phishing protection, you can rest assured that the Google team is working hard every day to use the latest technology to keep your data safe.

What can you do yourself to make sure you stay safe online?

However, as an internet user, it’s also important to take action on your own to make sure you’re safe online, and to commemorate Cybersecurity Awareness Month, we spoke to some Chrome security engineers to share some tips:

Keep Chrome up to date

It should be noted that hundreds of Google security engineers work to keep Chrome safe from the latest threats, and those improvements appear at least every two weeks. In fact, the team explains that they always try to shorten the time between the discovery or report of a security bug and the release of a fix.

Likewise, Amy Ressler, technical security program manager, argued that “no matter how fast we work, we know that motivated adversaries are looking for opportunities to exploit the ‘patch gap’ between the time we release the bug and the time some users upgrade to the latest version.”

Therefore, Chrome regularly checks for updates and when one is available, the browser downloads it immediately, applying it automatically when you close and reopen the browser. Nevertheless, if you haven’t closed your browser for a while, you may have a pending update visible in the upper right corner of the browser window. 

No problem though; to apply the update, just click “Refresh” or simply close and reopen Chrome. Don’t worry: you won’t lose your tabs and it will only take a few seconds.

Store strong, unique passwords with Google Password Manager

Basically, using a password manager (even if it’s not Google) will help you store and use a secure, unique password for each site you need to log in to.

If your password is compromised through a phishing attack or security breach, says security software engineer Nwokedi Idika, “using a unique password for each site reduces its value to an attacker because it only provides access to a single site, not multiple sites.” But keep in mind that if you’re using a password manager to store “fido1234” for each site, you’re not getting the most out of the tool.

What’s more, Google Password Manager can suggest and store a secure, unique gobbledygook password (such as KZamPPzj43T9mQM). Then Chrome will automatically fill in the password the next time you need it, on any device.

Similarly, Chrome should suggest a new strong password when you create a new account, or you can always right-click in the password field and click “Suggest password”.

Don’t ignore Chrome’s download warnings

Chrome and Safe Browsing work together to ensure that we warn you about dangerous downloads when possible. So, when you see a download warning, you can still download the file, but we strongly advise against it.

In fact, computers are often compromised by malware because users don’t understand or ignore the warnings. “We hear comments from people who think Google disapproves of that download or software, so they ignore the warning,” says software engineer Daniel Rubery. “But the file is actually malicious!”

Likewise, Rubery explained that they work day in and day out removing, re-evaluating, and reducing their list of dangerous file types and even commented that in their most recent analysis, they reduced low-risk warnings by more than 90%. Which means you can be confident that a download warning really means danger.

Browse the web with Enhanced security protection

This is a very useful alternative, because in order to be more secure while browsing the web in Chrome, you can enable Enhanced Safe Browsing protection in the browser settings. 

This way, you will significantly increase the protection against dangerous downloads and websites by sharing data in real time with Safe Browsing. Security software engineer Javier Castro suggests that “by enabling enhanced protection, you are enabling Chrome to use the latest threat intelligence and more advanced user protections to keep you safe while browsing.”

So if you’re signed in, Chrome and other Google apps you frequent (Gmail, Drive, etc.) will be able to provide you with enhanced protection based on a holistic view of the threats you encounter on the web, attacks against your Google account, and how people using Enhanced Safe Browsing are phished 20-35% less.

Protect your Google Account with 2-step verification

Two-factor authentication can use your phone to add an additional step to verify that it is you when you log in. You see, logging in with a password and a second step on your phone is a good protection against password theft scams.

In addition, software engineer Diana Smetters says, “It’s easy to turn on and you only have to use your phone the first time you log in to each of your devices.” If an attacker gets your password online and tries to log in, they will be blocked because they don’t have your phone. “

So if you sign in to Chrome with a Google account, make sure you have two-step verification to protect your account.

Final thoughts

Our final recommendation is that you should take at least a few minutes during this month to update Chrome and follow all the advice from Google experts. Remember, you can always confirm the use of security features by running a Safety Check in Chrome’s settings.

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