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Chrome is getting Enhanced Safe Browsing features to protect you online

Includes file download warnings and more

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Google has announced it’s working on bringing “Enhanced Safe Browsing” features to Chrome. The browser will be able to protect you from downloading malicious files or extensions, extending a helping hand to your systems’ in-built security protocols.

Starting with Chrome 91, it’ll offer additional protection when users install a new extension from the Chrome Web Store. A prompt will inform users if an extension they are about to install is not a part of the list of extensions trusted by Enhanced Safe Browsing.

If a download is deemed risky but not certainly unsafe, Enhanced Safe Browsing users will issue a warning. It’ll also give you an option to send the file to Google for further analysis and detection.

Google shared some more tips:

1. Turn on Enhanced Safe Browsing protection in Chrome. Enhanced Safe Browsing users are successfully phished 35% less than other users. We recently announced additional protections for Enhanced Safe Browsing users, like warnings before you install untrustworthy Chrome extensions and more thorough scanning to protect you from potential Malware.
2. Enroll in two-step verification (2SV). This is another way for your account to confirm it is really you logging in. Using your mobile device to sign in gives you a safer and more secure authentication experience than passwords alone.
3. Enroll in Google’s Advanced Protection Program (APP). APP safeguards users with high visibility and sensitive information, who are at risk of targeted online attacks. New protections are automatically added to defend against today’s wide range of threats.
4. Take the Google Security Checkup. This gives you personalized and actionable security recommendations that help you strengthen the security of your Google Account, and it only takes two minutes to complete.

Safer, more secure

It involves users sharing real-time data to Google Safe Browsing so that Chrome can provide proactive security. The browser currently cross-checks the address you’re visiting against its database of known threats. But the database is updated every 30 minutes, and many scammers have managed to bypass the firewall. You’ll still be able to ignore the warning and open the file, but it’ll be at your own risk.

Additional measures are active if you’re signed in to Chrome with Gmail, Drive, and other Google services working with Chrome to provide a “holistic view of threats” on the web and attacks against your Google Account. The existing ‘Safe Browsing’ tool can warn you if passwords are exposed in a data breach. Firefox, too offers a similar service called Firefox Monitor.

Windows and macOS have come a long way in the last decade, and with work increasingly depending on the cloud, remote access via the browser is consistently rising against native apps. Securing Chrome also helps tackle security issues on Chrome OS itself.

Apps

TikTok, Tencent linked to sexually violent ads on Facebook

Ads continue to run on platform

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Facebook has an ad problem. After spending years on the platform, you might have noticed a plethora of misplaced ads occasionally peppered on your feed. Though most users cringe at how the algorithm can uncannily show appropriate ads right after talking about a certain topic, a series of more off-putting, offensive, and disturbing ads is making the rounds on the social media platform. Now, following a deep dive, a report has found that ByteDance and Tencent are affiliated with the phenomenon.

What are these Facebook ads? In a report from Forbes’s Emily Baker-White, several web novel companies are advertising erotic content on the platform. However, more than just erotica, these ads promote sexual, violence, rape, and self-harm. Some are even using images of popular personalities without their permission.

A particularly egregious example involves a photo of a crying woman in the shower with the caption: “his personal cum bucket.” A few others are more up front about harming women to get sex.

Others depict scenes from Twilight and Star Wars, despite not being affiliated at all with the titles. Several companies and personalities contacted by Forbes confirmed that they did not give these novel apps any permission to use their likeness.

As for the deep dive, a good number of these companies were previously backed by either ByteDance, TikTok’s parent company, or Tencent, one of the biggest Chinese companies in the world. While ByteDance has claimed that the apps don’t reflect their values, these ads continue to proliferate around the platform. Tencent has likewise denied any involvement with the campaigns.

It’s also worth nothing that the apps aren’t limited to just China. One app, called Pinky Novel, operates from the Philippines and is spreading similarly troubling ads everywhere, including one that says, “Raped by Mr. CEO.”

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Enterprise

Apple has been raided in South Korea

For alleged anti-market practices

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The troubles for Apple will continue. After spending a length of time fighting investigations all over the world for alleged anti-competition practices, the company’s offices in South Korea have been raided by authorities to further the investigation in the country.

Covered by Foss Patents (via MacRumors), the Korea Fair Trade Commission conducted a raid on the offices at the break of dawn. Authorities reportedly staged the raid after a developer complained of an unfair commission rate. According to the complaint, developers are paying more than 30 percent commission for having their apps on the App Store.

For a rougher breakdown, Apple still charges 30 percent. However, the commission includes VAT, which spikes the total fees paid above 30 percent. In contrast, Google’s 30 percent commission policy does not include VAT, which makes for a lower fee for developers.

With the number of apps on the App Store, Apple is making significant bank by skimming a bit more on commissions. That is, if the allegations prove true, of course. Right now, the company is still under investigation. But, if anything, a dawn raid isn’t a good sign for the iPhone maker.

Apple isn’t the only one in hot water, though. Google is also facing a similar controversy in South Korea. However, instead of the Korea Fair Trade Commission, the Kora Communications Commission is pushing for more parity between Google and Apple.

SEE ALSO: South Korea investigating Apple and Google for app payments

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Apps

Android users can react to SMS messages from iPhones soon

While simultaneously annoying iPhone users

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One of the most unexpected small developments this year is the war of the green bubble. For a while now, Apple has kept Android users inside a green text bubble. If an Android user texts an iOS user, an iPhone conveniently lets its user know that someone is texting them from — gasp — an Android phone. Now, Google, in the next step of its crusade against the green bubble, is running a similar experiment of its own.

Recently, as spotted by Reddit user u/Jabjab345 (via GSMArena), Google is testing a new feature for Android users. In a beta version, users can start reacting to SMS messages from an iPhone. Of course, much like how it is from the other way around, there is a little hiccup.

In most web-based messaging services, reactions are often tiny bubbles attached to one corner of the message. However, since iOS and Android use different systems, it doesn’t work that way between the two platforms. Instead, if an iOS user reacts to an Android user’s message, users get a separate message with the emoji reaction. Now (or after the beta, at least), Android will treat iOS in the same way, sending iOS users a separate message for reactions.

Right now, the feature is still in beta. However, an implementation is par for the course. Previously, Google threw some shade at Apple for not adopting the system that the former uses. In retaliation, Tim Cook recently told a user to just buy their mom an iPhone if texting was such an issue.

SEE ALSO: Apple on adopting Android’s features: Just ‘buy your mom an iPhone’

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