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Security & privacy

Google Chrome security changes for Mac users

Google Chrome’s global web browser market share just keeps on growing. Currently, it has managed to grab over 50 percent of the market, beating Safari, Firefox, Microsoft’s Edge and Internet Explorer, and Opera by a wide margin.

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With this impressive popularity, it is understandably an attractive target for hackers and malware makers.

If you’ve been using Chrome for a while now, you’ve probably noticed significant changes through the years. Security tweaks like the blocking of Flash by default or persistent warnings against unsecured sites are constantly being rolled out.

Although these changes can be annoying at times, Google updates Chrome regularly for a good reason – to protect its users against malicious attacks.

Now, you may have heard that Macs are being increasingly targeted by malware and other malicious software. If you still think that you’re safe just because you are using an Apple computer, well think again. Cyber criminals have started shifting their sights to target Macs in particular.

Google understands this very well and the company is adding a new check in Chrome’s Safe Browsing for macOS devices to counter Mac-specific malware.

With the release of the new Chrome Settings API for Mac, Google provided a way for Chrome extension developers to change certain browser settings (like the start page, home page or default search engine) while still leaving the user in complete control.

Soon, this API will be the only approved path for developers making extensions that can make changes to Chrome settings.

“From here on, the Settings Overrides API will be the only approved path for making changes to Chrome settings on Mac OSX, like it currently is on Windows,” Google’s Kylie McRoberts and Ryan Rasti stated in an official blog post.

Furthermore, only extensions hosted in the official Chrome Web Store will be allowed to make changes to Chrome settings.

If you can recall, Google already introduced a similar system to Chrome in Windows way back in 2014.

With these changes, starting on March 31, 2017, Chrome users will start seeing Safe Browsing warnings about Mac software and extensions that attempt to change browser settings without going through the approved path.

To further protect macOS Chrome users, the same warning will be shown if a website or a Mac application attempts ad injections.

Due to this new system, Google advises that Mac users may soon start seeing more Chrome Safe Browsing warnings against sites it deems dangerous or that could be sources of malicious files.

While these safety warnings can be a minor inconvenience to some, they can go a long way in the fight against web attacks and cyber crime.

To read Google’s official blog about this change, click here.

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