Google Android

Google is implementing a new security feature called Android Safe Browsing on Android smartphones, aimed at alerting users to potentially harmful links and websites within supported applications, according to a report by TechRadar.

The existence of this new feature was discovered by Android expert Mishaal Rahman, who observed a new Safe Browsing page appearing on certain Android devices. This page provides insights into which apps support the feature and how it will enhance user safety by identifying and mitigating risks such as phishing attempts and malware threats.

According to Google, if a user clicks on a link within a trusted news application that directs to a known phishing website, they may receive a prompt alerting them to the potential risks before accessing the link. This allows users to make informed decisions about the legitimacy of the link and proceed accordingly.

One of the key components of Android Safe Browsing is its incorporation of “live threat protection,” which Google claims offers more precise threat detection capabilities. However, it remains unclear whether this feature will be enabled by default or if users will need to activate it manually.

The specific third-party applications that support the Android Safe Browsing feature have not been explicitly identified yet. However, it is speculated that apps utilizing the SafetyNet Safe Browsing API are likely candidates for integration. This API, integrated into Google Play services, enables apps to check whether a given URL has been flagged by Google as a potential threat.

Apps leveraging the Google SafetyNet Safe Browsing API offer additional benefits beyond threat detection. They can help conserve device battery life and reduce bandwidth usage, as well as mitigate the risks posed by malicious apps and websites.

Obtaining Android Safe Browsing capabilities does not require users to download any additional software. The feature is integrated into Google Play Services and will be included in updates delivered via the Google Play Store. While initial reports indicate that the feature has been observed primarily on Pixel and Samsung devices, it is expected to be extended to all compatible Android devices shortly.

Although the feature is currently in the early stages of rollout, it was previously identified in a beta version of Google Play Services in October 2023 by Nail Sadykov of the Google News Telegram channel.

As the deployment progresses, more information about the update is anticipated from Google. Users who have received the update can access the feature through their device settings. On Pixel devices, it can be found under Settings > Security & Privacy > More Security & Privacy, while on Samsung Galaxy devices, it is located under Settings > Security & Privacy.

While the Android Safe Browsing feature has not yet been activated on any of the devices under scrutiny, there is anticipation regarding its potential benefits and effectiveness in enhancing user security.

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