Persistent Gmail Prompts to Enable Enhanced Safe Browsing
Recently, many Gmail users have noticed that Google is fervently suggesting activating its Enhanced Safe Browsing feature. These notifications keep popping up repeatedly, even after being dismissed.
Introduced in 2007, Enhanced Safe Browsing was developed to improve Google’s standard Safe Browsing tool, which warns users about known phishing and malicious software-hosting sites.
The distinction between the two features is that Safe Browsing compares a visited website with a locally stored list of domains. In contrast, Enhanced Safe Browsing verifies in real-time whether a site is malicious using Google’s cloud services.
Whilst Enhanced Safe Browsing might seem like the superior option at first glance, users need to be aware of a certain privacy trade-off. Both Chrome and Gmail share URLs with Google to determine if they’re harmful.
Google Advocating for Enhanced Safe Browsing
In the past week alone, I’ve been prompted five times to activate Enhanced Safe Browsing, even after repeatedly declining the suggestion. Other journalists from BleepingComputer shared similar experiences.
A banner message reading “Gain extra protection against phishing. Activate Enhanced Safe Browsing for added defence against hazardous emails” consistently appears on Gmail, both on Chrome for Windows and Android.
Although Google’s intentions – safeguarding users from online threats – are commendable, their aggressive promotion has become a matter of concern.
Such relentless reminders can feel invasive and border on pestering for some users.
Moreover, there’s an associated privacy risk. When users are logged into Chrome, the data from Safe Browsing is temporarily linked to their Google Account.
Google rationalises this move by stating, “This is to ensure that when an attack is detected on your browser or account, Safe Browsing can adapt its protections accordingly.” However, in spite of the purported advantages, not all users might be comfortable intertwining their Google account with Chrome or associating their browsing data with their Google account.
In a time where data privacy is of paramount concern, users should be entitled to make enlightened decisions about their online safety without being perpetually nudged in a certain direction.
That being said, Enhanced Safe Browsing does offer heightened security on Gmail, safeguarding users from malicious phishing and malware links in emails.
For those tired of the notifications or simply seeking improved security (albeit with some privacy compromises), the feature can be activated as follows:
- Open your Google Account.
- Click on ‘Security’.
- Scroll down to ‘Enhanced Safe Browsing’ and click ‘Manage Enhanced Safe Browsing’.
- Toggle the ‘Enhanced Safe Browsing’ setting to enabled.
BleepingComputer has reached out to Google regarding the recurrent prompts and will provide updates upon receiving a response.
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