Want to browse with safety but without being slowed down? Find out here how to have Google Chrome check page safety automatically for any site you visit.
First, Imagine Yourself on a Hot Beach’s Summer Day
I’ll bring you a nice, cold bottle of your favorite hoppy drink. How much are you willing to pay?
Wait, before you answer I have to tell you something. I’ll get the bottle from that run-down and shabby grocery store down the street. Surely, that does not influence how much you will pay; right?
When Richard Thaler put this scenario before research participants in the 1980s, he famously found that people were willing to pay 77% more for the same drink from a classy resort hotel versus the run-down grocery store.
Now, while we ponder how meaning- and useful that result is, let us not forget to guard against deception online; with Google Chrome, you can do that just about automatically. How much are you willing to click?
How to Have Google Chrome Check Page Safety Automatically
Google Chrome for Linux, macOS, and Windows
Time needed: 2 minutes.
To make sure Google Chrome checks pages for malicious and deceptive activities (such as malware downloads or phishing attempts) before you get to access them:
- Click the menu button (⠸) in Google Chrome.
- Select Settings from the menu that has appeared.
- Click Advanced at the bottom.
Shortcut: In Google Chrome, you can also open chrome://settings/privacy to go straight to the Privacy and security settings.
- Now click Sync and Google services under Privacy and security.
- Do enable Safe Browsing (protects you and your device from dangerous sites) under Other Google services.
Not recommended: Disable the setting for no security checks; see below for what happens during these checks if you are concerned about privacy; see below for an explanation of what happens during browsing safety checks. You can access unsafe pages and downloads even with safety checks enabled.
Google Chrome for Android and iOS
Google Chrome for Android uses the setting from the desktop browser.
To enable safe browsing checks directly on Google Chrome for Android:
- Open Chrome.
- Tap the More menu button (⠸).
- Select Settings.
- Now tap Privacy under Advanced.
- Do enable Safe Browsing.
Google Chrome for iOS does not check page safety automatically.
How to Have Google Chrome Check Page Safety Automatically: FAQ
How does Google Chrome determine fraudulent sites?
Google Chrome uses Google Safe Browsing.
What happens during a Google Safe Browsing check?
Checks Using a Blacklist
Google Chrome periodically downloads a list of URLs to be avoided. When you open any page, its address is checked against that list’s latest version right in the browser, right on your device.
If a page you open matches one on the local blacklist:
- Google Chrome will send a part of the page’s address in “hashed” form (not the entire URL) to Google Safe Browsing servers to verify the site is on the current master blacklist.
Checks in the Browser
Google Chrome also checks pages you have opened for suspicious elements. If it detects content that is likely to be malicious or deceptive,
- Google Chrome will send part of that content to Google Safe Browsing servers for additional checks.
Similarly, if you enter a saved password on a site that is different from the one you usually use,
- Google Chrome will submit the URL to Google Safe Browsing to check for phishing.
Can I still access an unsafe site or download a dangerous file?
Yes. If necessary, you can override any safe browsing warning in the Google Chrome desktop browser for pages and downloads alike.
You can, of course, also disable the checks altogether using the above setting.
I enabled Google Safe Browsing checks; how can I check the checks are working?
To test safe browsing checks in Google Chrome, you can visit Google’s social engineering test page.
Google Chrome should show a warning instead of the test page itself.
Google Chrome missed a page I think is unsafe; can I report it?
Yes, you can
to Google Safe Browsing.
(How to have Google Chrome check page safety automatically tested with Chrome 78; updated November 2019)