Chrome, URLs will be shorter to protect users from scams

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Aina Prat
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Google's new move to fight the phishing and online scams: starting from version 86 of Chrome the Shortened URLs to highlight suspicious web addresses and help users recognize them. The news has been in the air for a long time, but only now Google is about to make it available.

With short URLs, according to Google, it should be easier to recognize fake sites: many of them, in fact, imitate the address of a famous site and also the graphics, logos and user interface in order to mislead those who visit them. The user, believing that he is on a safe and reliable site, grants your personal data (for example those of access to Facebook, on a site that imitates the Facebook login) by giving them to scammers. The theft of your online identity or bank details is usually the next step, and in both cases, these are serious problems and absolutely must be avoided. Will shortening the URLs be enough to open users' eyes? We will find out starting in October.



Short URLs on Chrome: How They Work

We can easily imagine what the Chrome short URLs, because we already know how those of Safari and other browsers that have long ago made the same choice are like. Let's take the example of the cittàn Wikipedia home page: today Chrome users read the URL “https://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pagina_principale“, tomorrow they will read only “it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pagina_principale“. However, they will be able to read the complete address by placing the mouse pointer on the address bar: after a couple of seconds they will return to see “https://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pagina_principale“.


According to Google, removing the initial characters of the address will make it easier to see if it is false (for example “it-wikipedia.org“). Note that with this system you can no longer read if the site uses the HTTPS protocol instead of the older and less secure HTTP, but there is still the padlock icon that tells us this information.


When will the new Chrome feature arrive

Google will not release this new feature either immediately or for everyone: it will test it starting from version 86 of Chrome, which should arrive around October, and only for a limited number of users chosen at random. From the feedback received you will be able to understand if it is really useful or not. Anyone wishing to participate spontaneously in the test, however, can install version 86 of Chrome from the Canary or Dev channels (i.e. the channels dedicated to Chrome developers and beta testers) and enable these flags in the settings: # omnibox-ui-reveal-steady -state-url-path-query-and-ref-on-hover and # omnibox-ui-sometimes-elide-to-registrable-domain.



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