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Google Chrome: Best security tips for safer browsing

Here's how to work around Chrome's shortcomings and protect yourself from attack.

By Eric Geier, PC World
March 18, 2013 12:38 PM ET

PC World - There's a lot to like about Google Chrome's built-in security features. The browser offers unique sandboxing functions and privilege restrictions, and even updates itself in the background to help better protect you from hackers and malware. But like all browsers, Chrome is imperfect, and there are steps you can take to protect it from attack. Here's how to get the most from Chrome's built-in security features, and work around its security shortcomings.

[LOOKING BACK: Retro browser smackdown]

Privacy features

Chrome offers several privacy features that help protect you while you browse. The most notable are its phishing- and malware-protection schemes, and a tool that can auto-correct misspelled Web addresses.

Chrome's phishing and malware protection put up a warning screen whenever you visit a website that Google has identified as potentially malicious, whether it spreads malware or tries to steal your personal information. Meanwhile, Chrome's URL autocorrect feature usees a Google-provided online service to fix misspelled URLS to help you avoid visiting the wrong site--and perhaps a nefarious site--by accident. Indeed, "typosquatting" is still a threat.

To use these features, open the browser's Settings panel and scroll down to the Privacy section (you may need to click Show advanced settingsA to get there), and check the boxes labeled Use a web service to help resolve navigation errorsA and Use a web service to help resolve spelling errors. Also, be sure to check the Enable phishing and malware protection box.

Additionally, click the Content settings tab and consider restricting some content. You can, for example, disable JavaScript (which is often exploited by malware) and plug-ins. When you do so, Chrome will notify you when a site is using them so that you canA voluntarilyA opt in for legitimate sites.

Protect your saved passwords and credit card details

If you let Chrome save your website passwords, anyone who uses your PC can easily access them with a little poking around in the Settings panel. But unlike Firefox and its Master password feature, Chrome--and by extension, third-party add-ons--won't let you encrypt your passwords or saved credit card information.

Luckily, there are a few things you can do to help protect your privacy. First, don't allow people you don't trust to use your Windows user account. Instead, either create a new Standard (non-administrative) account for others to use or turn on the Guest account.

If creating another Windows account is too inconvenient, consider using a Chrome extension likeA ChromePW,A Browser Lock, or Secure Profile to password-protect Chrome. This effectively forces others to use another browser on your system like Internet Explorer (which doesn't let others easily view your saved passwords) or Firefox (which lets you encrypt and password-protect your saved passwords).

Another option is to securely store your sensitive data using a third-party password manager. Some third-party password tools let you sync your passwords across other browsers, which might be helpful if you go from one computer to another. KeePass and Xmarks are two popular password managers worth trying.

Originally published on www.pcworld.com. Click here to read the original story.

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