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Security & privacy

Update now! Chrome just got a ton of new security features

Are you a Google Chrome user? There’s a 50/50 shot that you are. After all, Google Chrome has been the most-used browser for a long time — and over half of the traffic on the web originates from Chrome.

But while Chrome may be one of the more popular browsers, it’s not the most secure option. Critical security flaws and other potential vulnerabilities have plagued Chrome over the years — and some of those issues continue to this day. Need proof? Google announced a mysterious update for Chrome with no description for bug fixes just a few months ago.

One way to stay protected is by keeping your browser up to date. You can start with the new Chrome update that was just announced. It comes with a slew of new security features — and you’re going to want to get your mouse on the download button ASAP.

New Chrome security features

The new Chrome release, known as Chrome 86, was just rolled out this week. What’s great about this version of Chrome is that it adds several security features to the mix.

Do you save passwords in your browser? One of the main security upgrades that rolled out with Chrome 86 is the Password Checkup. This new feature will analyze your saved login credentials to check whether they’ve been part of any leaks.

Some of the new security features are still rolling out for Android devices, but this one is available for both Android and iOS. What’s interesting about this feature is you don’t have to do anything — other than making sure Chrome is up to date and the “Warn you if passwords are exposed in a data breach” setting is toggled on. It should be on by default.

Another notable new security feature is Enhanced Safe Browsing. This feature was created to share uncommon URLs with Google — in real-time — to help you avoid issues with phishing or malware. Prior to this update, domains had to be known problems to trigger a warning in your browser.

The problem with that approach is these types of phishing sites rotate domain names constantly, making it hard for Google to keep up. This new feature, however, sends “uncommon URLs in real-time” to help determine whether you’re about to visit a phishing site. If you accidentally land on a sketchy site, you’ll get the same type of warning about potential site impersonations that you have in the past.

Related: Don’t click this phony Google Chrome update

As part of this process, Chrome will also send a “small sample of pages and suspicious downloads” to help determine whether the site is a threat. You’ll automatically get some added protection when you’re signed into Chrome with Gmail, Drive and other Google services, too.

Chrome 86 will also stop users from downloading certain files over HTTP on an HTTPS page. If you try, a warning about how the “[file] can’t be downloaded securely” will appear.

One more notable security feature that rolled out is Face ID, Touch ID, or phone passcode authentification. You can now use these types of authentification methods to Autofill your passwords in Chrome.

How to add these features to Chrome

All of these features should be automatically added to your browser once you update it. You can check to make sure you’re using the latest version of Chrome on your PC or laptop by opening your browser and clicking on the three verticle dots in the upper right corner and select Settings.

From there, tap About Chrome in the menu on the left side of your screen — if your browser is up to date, you’ll see that confirmation. If you need an update, the software will download automatically. That’s it, when you click the About Chrome option you’ll now see the updated version.

If you want to check whether Chrome is up to date on your mobile device, just open the Google Play Store or App Store from your device and look for app updates. If one is available for Chrome select update. If you don’t have the Google Chrome app, you can download it by click the link inside the yellow boxes below.

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