Google released the Advanced Safe Browsing feature for Chrome desktop in May. It has now also been released for Android smartphones. The idea is to provide users with a tailored solution based on the threats they face, rather than a one-size-fits-all answer.
Hackers are getting more and more sophisticated in their approach and we need to match them with equal strength if we want to protect our data and our interests. We will show you how to enable Advanced Safe Browsing on Android and how it works in the background to protect you from emerging threats.
How Advanced Safe Browsing Works
What Google will do is share ‘security data’ to evaluate threats in real time. For example, if you type the URL of a popular site, Google won’t even blink, but if you enter an unusual URL, Google will check to see if it’s a phishing site. All of this will happen before the site actually loads in your browser. This collected data will also help other Chrome users if they visit the same page. These corrupt/infected URLs are then added to a block list API shared with other Chrome users to protect them against the same threat you are facing. I hope the list will grow over time. Google updates this list, including downloads and extensions, every 30 minutes.
But that means there is 30 minutes before the list is refreshed again, and to fix this issue, Google has released Advanced Safe Browsing. It depends on real-time data to combat the latency issue. Why real-time data sharing? Hackers can very quickly change phishing domains/URLs to avoid getting banned and bypass the block list.
Google notes that the sample data is associated with your Google account, but only temporarily. Google explains that this is done to help them offer specific security protection against threats that target you, your region, or even your specific account.
This data is then anonymized to protect your identity and protect your profile on Google servers. Advanced Safe Browsing is optional. Therefore, if you are unsure about data collection or rely on another service to secure your online presence, you can disable the service. We recommend that you enable it. In part, Google is better positioned to protect you because the amount of data it accesses is unique and uses machine learning and artificial intelligence. After all, billions of people use Google apps. And partly because Google already knows almost everything about you. If you’re that worried, start using TOR or Brave for the browser, DuckDuckGo for search, and a VPN for IP/identity masking.
How to Enable Advanced Safe Browsing on Chrome Android
I recommend updating the Chrome app to the latest version to make sure your phone has this feature. Open the Play Store, search for the Chrome app and you should see the Update button in green if the app isn’t updated yet. You need to be on Chrome 86.0.4240.114 or higher for this to work.
Stage 1: Launch the Chrome app on your phone and navigate to: chrome://flags. You’ll enter this in the address bar to reveal a hidden section that you can unlock before the experimental features are even made available. To call Safe Browsing in the search bar.
Step 2: should be presented with Safe Browsing Advanced Protection on Android flag. While this is the obvious one, you should also enable it. Security Section on Android flag below. Select Enabled from the drop-down menu below each flag. Tap the Restart button at the bottom of the screen to restart Chrome. This is required to apply recent changes.
Stage 3: Tap the three-dot menu icon in the top right corner to select Settings and tap on Privacy & security.
Step 4: Tap Inside Safe Browsing. As you may have noticed, the setting was missing before. You’ll see three security settings to choose from: Advanced, Standard, and No protection.
Step 5: The default is Standard protection, but you have to tap Advanced protection to enable it. There is a short description below each option to further explain what it does. The real difference is that Standard protection updates its block list every 30 minutes and Advanced protection updates it in real time.
The web browser is our window to the world. This is how we access the wild web primarily. It makes a lot of sense to stop threats at source rather than allow them to infect our machines and find ways to get rid of them using antivirus. Google has taken a step in the right direction, but obviously they should have done this sooner. Still, it’s better now than never.
That doesn’t mean you’re free to open any site you want and you don’t need to look at your computer. Google isn’t the only one developing its game. Hackers do that too, and guess what? They often break these defenses, damaging personal and professional lives. You can never be too careful. This is another tool in your arsenal. At the end of the day, you are responsible for your own data and security. That’s it.
Next: Looking for more flags to explore in your Android Chrome browser? Click the link below to find our favorite Chrome flags.