Arguments about which browser to use have plagued the Internet since its inception. Some people say Google Chrome is the greatest browser out there, while others believe Firefox to be the one, true browser experience.
The truth is, each browser has its own set of problems that impact users in their day-to-day lives—some of these problems are just more well-hidden than others. For example, the slowness of Microsoft Edge is more noticeable than the security issues of Chrome.
Google carries a reputation for being anti-consumer when it comes to collecting data and the lengths they’ll go to for it, but recently Google confirmed a new set of security concerns plaguing their browser.
Chrome’s Security and Privacy Concerns
Google issued an update for its Chrome browser back in late April. This update fixed a “critical security flaw” that previously was unknown to users. Now, Google could have had reasons for not detailing the security flaw to users, the most obvious being they didn’t want hackers to exploit it before Google had to fix it.
This isn’t the first time Chrome has suffered from security-related controversies; users often criticize Google about their data collection and wonder how much privacy they actually have.
Yes, it’s true that Google isn’t the best when it comes to data, Google collects your data through a myriad of ways, and not all of these methods are made known to the user.
For example, hidden deep within the settings of Google Chrome are data collection settings that determine what Chrome can track. Chrome defaults to collecting everything you do on the Internet: cookies, sign-ins, history, everything.
And all of this doesn’t even include the lawsuits Google has faced over the most recent years. Just earlier this year Google faced a lawsuit over app tracking. More specifically, Google faced a lawsuit regarding their tracking of user data—tracking that happened even when users disabled tracking.
5 ways to enhance security on Chrome browser
While Chrome is arguably the best browser experience available, it comes loaded with security concerns—concerns that brokers must soothe before Chrome can be used in peace.
1. Update the browser regularly
For security flaws like the one mentioned above, one tried-and-true method is to update everything you can. Many software companies hide security patches in all of their updates so security issues can be fixed without bringing them to light for cybercriminals.
Google is no different in this regard. Like the reports mentioned earlier about the critical security flaw, Google often fixes security exploits and problems in their Chrome updates. Point is, you should be updating Google Chrome as often as possible.
2. Disable cookies
As mentioned above, Chrome has a habit of tracking everything you do—every site you visit, every username you use for accounts, and every password you use to login. Go into Chrome’s Privacy & Security settings, and you’ll be astonished by how much Chrome tracks by default.
One of the settings involves Chrome’s storing of “cookies”, bits of data that keep track of sites you visit, your logins for those sites, and vice versa. While cookies make using Chrome more convenient, they pose a noticeable security risk, so I recommend disabling them.
3. Disable location tracking
Another thing you should disable while deep in the settings of Chrome is location tracking. Many sites will ask you whether or not they can use your location to show certain information (such as stores around you). However, this carries a significant security risk. Plus, Google themselves don’t need to ask for permission if location tracking is already enabled.
4. Set up two-factor authentication
Google allows users to set up two-factor authentication for their Google accounts. If you have yet to set up two-factor authentication for your account, do so immediately—two-factor authentication can quite literally save your account.
This is because two-factor authentication not only requires a password for login but a verification code from your phone or email. And considering the best of Chrome requires a Google account, setting up two-factor authentication is extremely important.
5. Add security extensions
Chrome’s ability to add any browser extension you want is its saving grace in the security department. You can download a VPN extension on your Chrome browser to encrypt your data and online activities. Besides, a password manager extension is another effective tool so you can keep your passwords safe.
Adding a few security extensions to your browser will help significantly with your security.
*Amy Cavendish is a content strategist at tech blog TechFools