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Security & privacy

Update Google Chrome now to avoid hackers’ favorite security flaw

Google Chrome is the leading internet browser globally as six in 10 people use it to surf the web. But before you grab your surfboard, hold on a second — there are sharks in the water.

Cybercriminals are using a zero-day vulnerability to attack Chrome users. This is so serious Google won’t share bug details until most users update their browsers. Tap or click here for 10 other cybercrimes to look out for.

Bottom line: If you surf the web with Google Chrome, it’s time to install the latest version. The update offers a crucial security fix that can save you from hackers. Scroll down for step-by-step instructions on installing the update.

Here’s what we know about the bug

Google released its critical Chrome update on Thursday. It fixes the bug known as CVE-2021-21148, which security researcher Mattias Buelens reported on January 24. Here’s where the story gets sticky.

Hackers may already be using this bug for attacks. Even worse, these hackers could be backed by anti-American governments.

This hasn’t been proven, but a recent report from Microsoft has nail-biting implications. It found that ZINC, a hacking group sponsored by North Korea, likely used Google Chrome to attack security professionals.

(Image source: © Paulus Rusyanto | Dreamstime)

Microsoft’s report came four days after Buelens reported the bug. Victims clicked on links from a shady blog, which infected their computer with malware. “This suggests that a Chrome browser exploit chain was likely hosted on the blog, although we haven’t been able to prove this,” the blog post says.

In other words, there could be powerful players taking advantage of a bug in your browser. If this is true, it wouldn’t be the first time North Korean hackers have attacked American systems. Tap or click here for the secrets behind North Korea’s biggest hacks.

Obviously, this bug is a colossal issue. But what can you do about it?

Update Chrome to protect yourself

Check your browser to make sure you’re running the latest version of Chrome. Luckily, Google’s rolling out the new version to its userbase. Here’s the bad part, though: Since Chrome has so many users, you might not get immediate protection.

It may take days or even weeks to roll out the update to the entire userbase. After all, a ton of people use Chrome — almost three billion, according to Google.

Every day you browse without the Chrome update gives hackers countless opportunities to crack into your system.

Here’s how to download Chrome 88, the newest update with security protections.

  1. Look up at your URL bar. To the right, you’ll see a photo of your icon next to a three-dot menu.
  2. Click on the dots, then scroll down and tap on Help.
  3. From there, select About Google Chrome. Make sure you’re running Chrome 88.0.4324.150.
  4. If not, you can force the update by clicking Update Google Chrome.

Here’s what the steps will look like:

Once you’ve tapped the Help button, Google Chrome will automatically install the new update. You’ll be taken to a page that says Google Chrome is up to date right above the details: Version 88.0.4342.150 (Official Build) (64-bit).

Once you see this, you’re good to go!

It’s been a busy week for Google. Not only has it thrown up a big browser update, but it also pulled the plug on a popular extension. If you’ve ever looked for apps to organize your tabs, you’ve probably heard of this.

The Great Suspender has gone to the great beyond

Say goodbye to The Great Suspender, an old extension that helped people who had too many tabs to keep track of. It’s long gone, thanks to a discovery of hidden malware. Google disabled the popular app Thursday, wiping away its name from the Chrome Webstore.

If you click on old links that took you to the app, you’ll only see 404 error messages. As you can imagine, former users have a lot of questions. After all, people had a lot of important tabs saved away.

Luckily, your tabs aren’t gone forever. You can recover all the pages you’ve saved through The Great Suspender. It may sound strange, but try it yourself.

First, open up your Chrome History. Then, search for klbibkeccnjlkjkiokjodocebajanakg. Now you can see the URL of every tab you’ve ever suspended. Happy hunting!

Looking for a better way to organize your browser tabs? Chrome has a new feature to help you stay organized — no extra plug-ins required. Tap or click to clear your browser of all the clutter.

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