Do You Use Chrome Extensions? Here is What You Need to Know About the Chrome Update and Project Strobe

Chrome Extensions

In the past, all it took was a simple ad blocker to make sure you weren’t dealing with harmful and annoying pop-up ads every time you traveled to a new page. Today, ad spam and malware have become major problems for vulnerable Chrome users, even if they’re only visiting verified HTTPS websites. With over 180,000 extensions currently in the Chrome store, the company wants to make sure users are protected from harmful plugins and popups that may contain malware. If you use Chrome, however, you might find that more than just ads are being blocked.

If you use Chrome Extensions, don’t panic. Here’s a guide to the latest Chrome API Update that will help you stay on top of the coming changes.

What is this latest Chrome update?

Google has been working on Project Strobe, an initiative to tighten up Chrome’s Application Programming Interface (or API) for years. The latest update is part of an attempt to figure out which extensions are truly safe, and which are putting up a front in order to phish and steal data.

As part of the Chrome API update, all extensions that seek access to Gmail and Google Drive will be subjected to stricter screening and added restrictions. Users will be asked to give permission to relay private information to an extension that’s requesting it, rather than being given instant access. This won’t just help your browser filter out malware attacks effectively: it also applies to handheld Google and Android devices.

How does it affect me?

While critics have pointed out that the Chrome API Update could end up interfering with privacy settings as well as extensions by overriding parental controls or incognito mode, the update exists to provide users with a safer browsing experience, especially if they’re using sites that ask for credit card data or personal information. That means that if you’re using enhanced privacy settings, antivirus programs, or parental controls, the update could end up overriding them. However, according to Chrome engineer Andrew Meyer, the new browser will help ad blockers work faster and more efficiently.

What should I do?

When it comes to web safety, there are a few things you can do as a user to keep yourself out of harm’s way. If you’re worried about a malware attack, it’s best to pay attention to browser warnings about unencrypted pages and stick to only secure HTTPS websites. If you’re already playing it safe and using a good ad blocker to keep malware at bay, the latest Chrome update probably won’t affect you very much. You’ll be asked to give certain extensions permission to access personal information and if you use parental settings or privacy devices, you may have to reinstall or tweak them. If you’ve been looking forward to a version of the popular Firefox add-on NoScript for Chrome, this update means that you’ll have to wait. However, if you’re someone who isn’t a developer and only uses a handful of extensions for the purposes of online safety, the new update will help you and your information stay safe and protected online.