Google has updated Chrome to detect phishing attacks much faster than before. The latest version of the world’s most popular web browser can uncover attempts to steal your data, payment details, and more, around 50 times faster than before, according to internal testing from Google.
The timing couldn’t be better. The update to Google Chrome arrives after a wave of phishing scams rocked the UK, with millions receiving fraudulent delivery texts claiming to be from Royal Mail, DHL, and Hermes. Another scam, claiming that phone owners have a new voicemail, sends users to websites designed to steal data. Microsoft has revealed its latest research around scams and the extent of the problem.
Thankfully, the new version of Google Chrome should be able to help prevent bad actors from pilfering your credit card details, home address, email and phone number.
Google says the key to its speedier phishing prevention boils down to how it processes images.
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In a blog post about the latest update, Google explains: “Every time you navigate to a new page, Chrome evaluates a collection of signals about the page to see if it matches those of phishing sites. To do that, we compare the colour profile of the visited page – that’s the range and frequency of the colours present on the page – with the colour profiles of common pages”
Since Chrome is evaluating every single pixel on-screen – and displays can contain more than 14 million pixels – the entire process can be pretty taxing on your CPU. This leads to slowdown of any other applications running in the background, and can cause the fan on your laptop to spin up and make a racket.
“Chrome now executes image-based phishing classification up to 50 times faster at the 50th percentile and 2.5 times faster at the 99th percentile. On average, users will get their phishing classification results after 100 milliseconds, instead of 1.8 seconds,” Google adds.
The reduction in the amount of time crunching on your CPU – from almost two seconds to milliseconds – should result in “less battery drain and less time with spinning fans”. And of course, more important than that, it should also help warn users when they stumble upon a website designed to steal your details.
As always, Google Chrome should update on its own.
However, if you can’t wait for the improvements to roll out automatically to your local area (Google usually staggers its global roll out… so it might take some time to land near you), it is possible to push Chrome automatically to update. To do that, click the three dots in the right-hand corner of the app and head to Help > About Google Chrome.