Lookalike web page addresses

 Computer, Desktop, News, Notebook, Phone, Research, Tablet  Comments Off on Lookalike web page addresses
Jan 302019
 

Ever mistype a Web page address? Mistype the URL? Like typing “Gogle” instead of “Google.” Ever click a result from a Google search that looked like the site you wanted but took you to something else? With maybe some scary ads?

Well, these two articles (links below) are a reminder about this common way criminals seek to trick and exploit us. Much like spoofed phone caller IDs, eh.

Engadget: Google Chrome will warn you of lookalike URLs

It’s pretty common for malicious actors to lock down common misspellings of popular sites in attempts to catch people off guard when they make a mistake typing in a URL. Those sites often look like the real thing but are designed to steal a person’s credentials and other information. While Google Chrome’s experimental feature, the browser will present a dropdown panel under the URL bar. The notification draws attention to the fact that the user may be visiting a site they don’t intend to and offers to redirect them to the correct domain. That combined with Chrome’s existing warnings about unsecure sites should hopefully be enough to keep people from falling for scams.

Wired: Google Takes Its First Steps Toward Killing the URL

Currently, the endless haze of complicated URLs gives attackers cover for effective scams. They can create a malicious link that seems to lead to a legitimate site, but actually automatically redirects victims to a phishing page. Or they can design malicious pages with URLs that look similar to real ones, hoping victims won’t notice that they’re on G00gle rather than Google. With so many URL shenanigans to combat, the Chrome team is already at work on two projects aimed at bringing users some clarity.

While enabling these new feature is somewhat technical, it’s good to know that Google (among others) is working on ways of making us safer on the Web. These features probably will become standard for general use this year.

Ad blocking — Chrome enters the mix

 Computer, News  Comments Off on Ad blocking — Chrome enters the mix
Feb 142018
 

If you’re already using an ad blocker with your favorite Web browsers, you’re in good company. Eliminating the clutter and distraction is one thing (which some browsers’ Reader View can do). But ad clutter also slows down page loading, consumes more battery power, and poses some privacy and security risks.

Google and Facebook command the bulk of online ad revenue; so, when Google announces that the latest release of its Chrome browser will start blocking (some) ads, that’s news, eh. Today’s Cnet article “How Chrome ad blocking is already changing the web” provides a good summary of this move.

What was once unthinkable — that Chrome would block online ads, Google’s lifeblood — becomes reality on Thursday.

That’s when Chrome takes a significant step in the direction that  hundreds of millions of us already have gone by installing ad blockers. Chrome stops far short of those browser extensions, which typically ban all ads, but the move carries plenty of importance because Google’s browser dominates the web on both personal computers and phones. Chrome is used to view about 56 percent of web pages, according to analytics firm StatCounter.

Chrome’s ad-blocking move is designed to rid the web of sites stuffed to the gills with ads or degraded by obnoxious ads, said Ryan Schoen, Google’s product manager for web platform work at Chrome. There are signs it’s already had an effect: About 42 percent of sites that the company’s warned have dialed back on ads to pass Google’s standards, including the LA Times, Forbes and the Chicago Tribune.

A Web without lots of ads is unlikely. Perhaps there’ll be more “paywalls” on news sites. At least soon there’ll be another way to curtail the most obnoxious ads. The saga will continue.

And I do recommend Google’s browser. Windows PCs come with Microsoft’s Edge browser; and Apple’s devices come with Safari. Just add Chrome as a second browser.