Google said Tuesday that the company is redesigning some of its Google Chrome browser UI with an eye toward preserving user privacy, both in terms of the layout and what's under the hood. The changes will be coming to the desktop version of the Chrome browser over the coming weeks. Changes include communicating better about what data is synced with Google, and how the Chrome browser manages cookies, both in real-world browsing as well as in Incognito mode. Two other changes are being pushed out as part of the day-to-day browsing experience, including what Google calls Enhanced Safe Browsing as well as DNS over HTTPS. Enhanced Safe Browsing may have the most profound effect on your daily experience, though the feature will essentially live in the background most of the time.
Google will begin marking HTTP pages where users can enter data as "not secure" in its Google Chrome browser come October. The change will appear in the release of Chrome 62, and will expand on the browser's current warning system for unsecure websites. It will also add a "not secure" notification on all HTTP pages visited in incognito mode. Google's plan will mark any HTTP site that allows a user to type data into it as "not secure" as part of its expanding effort to protect users from sharing information on sites that do not have basic security protocols in place. "When users browse Chrome with incognito mode, they likely have increased expectations of privacy," Chrome security team member Emily Schechter said in a blog post.
The massive dump of CIA hacking tools by Wikileaks has everyone talking. Some of that talk has been quite sensational, claiming that the Agency has broken apps like Signal and WhatsApp. More measured responses, particularly from those in the cybersecurity business, say the leaks don't show that... and if anything, they show just how well the encryption in apps like these protects your data. Whatever your take on Vault 7 might be, hopefully the situation has gotten you thinking about taking steps to protect your privacy and secure your data. Using Signal and WhatsApp are great ways to secure your chats.
A US House committee is set to vote today on whether to kill privacy rules that would prevent internet service providers (ISPs) from selling users' web browsing histories and app usage histories to advertisers. Planned protections, proposed by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that would have forced ISPs to get people's consent before hawking their data – are now at risk. Your web browsing patterns contain a treasure trove of data, including your health concerns, shopping habits and visits to porn sites. ISPs can find out where you bank, your political views and sexual orientation simply based on the websites you visit. The fact that you're looking at a website at all can also reveal when you're at home and when you're not.
Google is amping up security and protections for Gmail users, giving people a more noticeable warning if there's a chance the government is trying to steal their password, giving warnings for dangerous links and proposing a more secure email-sending standard. Google announced on its blog that it is expanding upon Safe Browsing to alert Gmail users about the possibility of suspicious government activity. Since 2012, Google has put a banner on top of users' Gmail pages that had a warning about state-sponsored attackers if Google believed they were in danger, but starting today people will get a full-page warning about it -- very hard to miss. This full-page warning appears if Google suspects government-based attackers are trying to access your information. Google states that there's a chance its warnings are false alarms, and won't reveal its reasoning behind the individual warnings so as not to let the attackers know how they were noticed.