Google has revealed that Chrome will be getting a new feature in version 86 that warns users when they’re entering information into an insecure website. At the moment Google Chrome has a nifty little feature which alerts users when they’re on a safe website or not. But the main downside to this current set-up is it can be easy to glaze your eyes over the warning.
If you’re using Chrome right now, did you notice the lock icon in the URL bar for this website? If you didn’t, don’t beat yourself up about it too much – it’s something that can be easy to miss.
This icon shows you’re on a page using the HTTPS protocol, which makes sure third parties can’t spy on most of the encrypted information you’re sending out. But even secure-looking websites can house insecure forms – Google previously tried to warn users about this by removing the lock icon when such a page was detected.
This happened when Chrome users encountered a ‘mixed form’, which is a form on an HTTPS site that does not submit information via the HTTPS protocol. However, the Mountain View firm said removing the lock icon on these pages didn’t effectively communicate the risks that Chrome users were facing.
In a blog post, Google explained “users found this experience unclear and it did not effectively communicate the risks associated with submitting data in insecure forms”.
As a result, Google are shaking up how they warn Chrome users about these ‘mixed forms’ with Chrome version 86, set to be released in October.
Chrome will warn users twice when they are trying to submit a mixed form – the first warning will appear as they are trying to fill out a text box. Underneath it a message will appear in red saying “this form is not secure autofill has been turned off”.
If users decide to continue on despite this warning or miss it entirely then they will be greeted with a full page alert when they try to submit the form.
This warning will say: “The information you’re about to submit is not secure. Because the site is using a connection that’s not completely secure, your information will be visible to others”.
Users will then have the option to submit the information, despite this warning, or go back a step. Outlining why this feature is being added, Google said: “Beginning in M86, Chrome will warn users when they try to complete forms on secure (HTTPS) pages that are submitted insecurely.
“These ‘mixed forms’ (forms on HTTPS sites that do not submit on HTTPS) are a risk to users’ security and privacy. Information submitted on these forms can be visible to eavesdroppers, allowing malicious parties to read or change sensitive form data.”
Google did add that while autofill will be disabled on mixed forms Chrome’s password manager will continue to work.
Explaining the reasoning behind this, the Chrome makers said: “On mixed forms with login and password prompts, Chrome’s password manager will continue to work. Chrome’s password manager helps users input unique passwords, and it is safer to use unique passwords even on forms that are submitted insecurely, than to reuse passwords.”
Google Chrome 86 is due to be released in October, with Chrome 85 the next major release on the cards. The stable version of this update is scheduled to be released at the end of August, and will include a feature which lets users know if the website they’re visiting will be quick to load or not.
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World news – GB – Google Chrome has an important new feature that you can’t afford to ignore