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Security & privacy

Update Chrome! New update is a huge privacy boost

Google Chrome is many things, but “private” ain’t one of them. Compared to browsers like Firefox, which offer features like disabling cookies by default, Chrome is more of a run-of-the-mill platform to consume content online.

That’s not to say Chrome is a bad browser by any means. Despite being compatible with almost every part of the web and deeply integrated with your Google account, options like Tor Browser and Firefox provide a much more private experience that keeps prying eyes out of your business. Tap or click here to see which browser is best and why.

But the days of privacy-envy for Chrome users may be coming to an end thanks to a new feature rolled out by Google. Once it’s activated, it disguises the websites you access via encryption — and not even your ISP can tell where you go. Here’s how to get it on your browser.

What is DNS-over-HTTPS?

DNS lookups are some of the most basic processes that happen online. Every website has a unique number code, or IP address, which allows it to be accessed online. The DNS system puts a name to this number, and allows you to access websites using the familiar .coms and .orgs you know and love.

Unfortunately, there is a drawback to DNS lookups: They’re unencrypted. Even if you’re accessing an encrypted website, the process of matching the URL you type with the website’s IP address is potentially visible to hackers, law enforcement and even your internet service provider.

But now, Chrome users will be able to harness the power of encryption when logging on to their favorite sites. In a new blog post from Google, the company outlined its new Secure DNS feature for Chrome — which encrypts the DNS lookup step automatically.

According to Google, this will keep your web history truly private, and can even prevent hackers from redirecting your connections to phishing sites. Tap or click here to see how they can do this using DNS hijacking.

It’s a much-needed feature for the world’s most popular web browser, and users can start taking advantage of it as Google rolls it out over the next few months.

I can’t wait that long! How can I get this feature sooner?

Fortunately, you don’t have to wait for the official release of the feature to hit your browser before using it — it’s already there in the latest version of Chrome. All you need to do is take a few developer-level steps to activate it.

Here’s how you can get an early preview of the Secure DNS feature on Google Chrome:

  1. Download the latest version of Chrome, or click on the three-dot icon > Settings > About Google Chrome. If the latest update is available, it should download automatically. If not, you probably have it installed already. It should be running version 83.0.4103.61 or higher.
  2. Type “chrome://flags/#dns-over-https” into Chrome’s address bar.
  3. Under the Secure DNS lookups menu, click the Default drop-down menu and choose Enabled.
  4. Click the “Relaunch” button to relaunch Chrome.

Once Chrome relaunches, you’ll have access to this brilliant privacy feature. You won’t notice it working since it happens in the background, but the security it offers cannot be overstated. This may be one of the biggest privacy wins for Chrome since the program released in the first place! Tap or click here to explore another feature that lets you flag scam websites.

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