Chrome 86: Google is testing new phishing protection

In future, the browser will only display the domain name to some users. This should help users to recognize manipulated URLs. Apple is already following this approach with its Safari browser.

Google has announced a large-scale test to find out how users react when they only see the domain name and not the URL of the page they are visiting in the address bar of their browser. The developers want to find out whether they can better protect users from phishing attacks.

Google Chrome (Image: Google)A prerequisite for participation is Chrome 86. The browser is currently available in the Developer Channel and should be released into the Beta Channel in early September. Google plans the final version for the beginning of October.

By default, Chrome 86 only shows the domain name in the address bar. Users who want to see the full URL only have to move the mouse pointer over the address bar so that it is temporarily displayed. Participants can also switch off the new function. A right mouse click in the address bar enables the command “always show complete URL”.

According to Google, there are many ways for cybercriminals to design a URL in such a way that the actual domain name is no longer clearly visible, in order to simulate users that they are on a legitimate website. Google blames the URL format for its poor user-friendliness. In addition, the company refers to a study in which more than 60 percent of respondents were deceived by a misleading URL.

“Our goal is to use it in the real world to understand whether displaying URLs in this way will help users know they are visiting a malicious website and protect them from phishing and social engineering attacks “Says the Chromium blog.

There is currently no uniform solution to this problem. Of the Apple-Browser Safari, for example, is already limited to displaying the domain name in the address bar. Opera and Firefox, on the other hand, have not even followed Apple and Google’s example and still show the protocol used in the address bar instead of just identifying an encrypted connection with a lock.

Users who are not randomly selected for the test can still activate the option in Chrome 86. Instructions for this can be found in Google’s blog post.

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