27 September 2023

Whistleblowing: How Google will help users spot deceptive websites

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Sergiu Gatlan* says Google has announced a new feature to help users detect fake websites and a new extension by which to report them.

Google has announced the addition of a new feature that warns users of sites that try to pose as recently visited pages and a Google Chrome extension designed to allow them to report suspicious sites to Google’s Safe Browsing team.

Chrome 75 will now alert its users whenever deceptive websites attempt to trick them “by using a confusing URL”, Google said.

“For example, it’s easy to confuse ‘go0gle.com’ with ‘google.com’.”

“In Chrome 75, we’re launching a new warning to direct users away from sites that have confusing URLs,” says Chrome Product Manager, Emily Schechter.

As Schechter explains, the new warning will compare the URL of the page you want to visit with URLs from pages you’re recently browsed.

If Chrome considers that it looks too similar, it will automatically trigger an alert letting you know and allowing you to go back to safety.

Google also launched the Suspicious Site Reporter Chrome extension, designed to improve the online safety of Chrome users by allowing them to easily report suspicious websites to Google’s Safe Browsing team.

“Google Safe Browsing has helped protect Chrome users from phishing attacks for over 10 years, and now helps protect more than 4 billion devices every day across multiple browsers and apps by showing warnings to people before they visit dangerous sites or download dangerous files,” Schechter said.

Once a web page is reported as being suspicious, the report will be used by Safe Browsing to protect all other Chrome users, as well as users of other browsers with support for the Safe Browsing API, if the site is deemed unsafe after further evaluation.

With the help of the just-launched Suspicious Site Reporter Chrome extension, users and security experts alike will be able to help Google constantly improve Safe Browsing by sending in not only the URL but a screenshot, the DOM content (including full HTML), and the referrer chain.

“We believe that you shouldn’t have to be a security expert to feel safe on the web, and that many Chrome power-users share our mission to make the web more secure for everyone,” concludes Schechter.

* Sergiu Gatlan is a reporter for Bleeping Computer. He tweets at @serghei.

This article first appeared at www.bleepingcomputer.com.

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