Google Chrome is safe, but here’s how to make it even more secure

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If I were a gambling woman, I would assume you are using Google Chrome. It is by far the most popular browser in the world. It’s not my choice if you’re looking for the most privacy. Scan my list of browsers sorted by privacy.

After all, Google probably knows every website you visit, where you go, what you buy online, who you communicate with, and much more. Tap or click here for eight ways Google is invading your privacy.

That said, Chrome is a solid browser. There are ways to make it even better.

The research shows that spam is largely defined as “unsolicited e-mail that comes from an entity that the recipient is not yet aware of or of which they have no interest”, but Google defines it as “any content submitted by the user is undesirable”.
(TBEN news)

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First things first

Before we get to the settings, take some time to make sure Chrome is up to date. This happens automatically when you close and reopen the program, but it’s worth checking every now and then.

Open Chrome and then tap the three vertical dots to the right of your profile icon.

Place the mouse pointer in the drop-down menu on Help out and select About Google Chrome.

If an update is available, it will be launched. Click Restart to finish.

More Google wisdom: 10 Google Search Tricks To Help You Find What You’re Looking For

1. Make your account harder to crack

Your Chrome profile is associated with your Google account. Two-step verification (or two-step verification) adds an extra layer of security to your account.

Once you’ve set it up, sign in to your Google account in two steps: something you know (your password) and something you have (like your phone). Note that this is only necessary if you are logging in with a new device.

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To set it up for Google, follow these steps:

Go to myaccount.google.com.

Select Security in the left pane.

Under Sign in to Google, select 2-Step Verification and then Get Started.

Follow the steps on the screen.

Prevention is better than cure: Hackers want Google accounts. Give yours this security check now!

2. Run Chrome’s security check

Chrome’s Security Check scans your account for compromised passwords and available updates. It also enables Safe Browsing, a setting that identifies unsafe websites and notifies you of potential harm.

You can perform a security check at any time:

Open Chrome and then tap the three vertical dots to the right of your profile icon.

Select Settings > Privacy and security from the left panel.

Under Security Check, select Check now.

Select the item and follow the on-screen instructions. Chrome scans for updates, compromised passwords, malicious extensions, and more.

File photo: Sundar Pichai, former senior vice president of Google Chrome and current CEO of Google, speaks at the Google I/O conference at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, California, on June 28, 2012.

File photo: Sundar Pichai, former senior vice president of Google Chrome and current CEO of Google, speaks at the Google I/O conference at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, California, on June 28, 2012.
(REUTERS/Stephen Lam)

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3. Extensions can put you at risk

Extensions allow you to add powerful features to your browser. Think coupon seekers, grammar checkers, and screenshot tools. But not all extensions are useful. Some track you over the internet, using up your bandwidth or even infecting your computer with malware.

It’s not just unknown downloads either. Recently, five extensions with 1.4 million downloads were spotted hiding malware. Tap or click for the list to see if you have one installed.

Not sure what’s safe? Chrome assigns a “Featured” badge to extensions that follow Google’s “technical best practices” and maintain a high standard of user experience and design.

It’s also helpful to search the web for phrases like “Is (the extension you’re using) safe to use?”

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To remove an extension from Chrome, do the following:

Open Chromeand then tap the three vertical dots to the right of your profile icon.

move over More tools and select Extensions.

Click remove on the extension you want to remove and then click remove again.

4. Enable HTTPS-First Mode

Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) is used to load pages using hyperlinks. Websites that use HTTP are not secure. That’s why you should stick to sites that start with HTTPS. (The extra “S” stands for secure.) Encrypts the content of a website.

Chrome’s HTTPS-First mode tries to load all sites over HTTPS and displays a warning before visiting a site that doesn’t support it. To enable it, follow these steps:

Open Chromeand then tap the three vertical dots to the right of your profile icon.

Select Settings > Privacy and Securitythen Safety.

In the Advanced section, slide the switch next to Always use secure connections to the right (on) to enable it.

Speaking of security, I hear all the time from people who fell for an online scam. It sucks, but it happens. Here are three steps to take if that happens to you.

5. Be careful with Incognito mode

No, incognito mode does not make everything you do private. It does have some uses, but let’s be clear. Incognito mode does not hide your activity from the websites you visit. You can still be tracked, your ISP can still see what you are doing and your data can still be shared with third parties.

So, what does it do? When you browse the web incognito, your browser does not store your browsing history, cookies, site data, or information you enter into forms. However, it will keep any downloaded files or bookmarks created during the session.

There are a few things I think Incognito is especially good for: shopping, keeping embarrassing searches out of your history, and keeping home and work separate.

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Tap or click for my tips on how to make the most of Incognito.

The Google logo is displayed at Google headquarters on September 2, 2015, in Mountain View, California.

The Google logo is displayed at Google headquarters on September 2, 2015, in Mountain View, California.
(Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

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Keep your technical knowledge going

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Find my podcast “Kim Komando Today” on Apple, Google Podcasts, Spotify or your favorite podcast player.

Just search for my last name, ‘Komando’.

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Read more about the latest technology on The Kim Komando Show, the nation’s largest weekend radio talk show. Kim answers phone calls and advises on today’s digital lifestyle, from smartphones and tablets to online privacy and data hacks.

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