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Google is Testing Display of Domain Names Only to Reduce Scams and Phishing Attacks

Chrome Logo. [PHOTO/ COURTESY]

Google is testing a function that will see them display website domain names on the Google Chrome address bar instead of the full URLs. The feature has been developed with the aim of protecting websites from scams and phishing attacks, and will be tested on the upcoming Chrome 86 release.

Domain names and URLS’ are the main pointers online, allowing users to search and find anything and anyone online. Unfortunately, the same can be used to target and mislead people.

Hackers and scammers are known to develop ingenious ways of misleading people for instance creating fake websites with URLs containing a typo that is easy to miss such twittter.com, creating unfamiliar subdomains such as bankname.sign-in.info or hyphenated domains such as secure-gmail.com.

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Users get tricked into visiting these fake websites thinking they are dealing with the legitimate companies and end up getting duped to share their personal information.

Browsers such as Safari show only the URLs domain name on the address bar. One reason is that it gives a clean look and the other is that it makes a scam URL quite conspicuous. A user who is accustomed to seeing only twitter.com will obviously notice something wrong if suddenly they see twitter.co.money.biz.inc.

Google will experiment the feature on a few users in the Chrome 86 version. The company wants to determine that the change “helps users realize they’re visiting a malicious website, and protects them from phishing and social engineering attacks.” If it does, it is highly likely that it can become a permanent feature in the future.

Chrome 86 stable release is expected in October.

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Written by Vanessa Murrey

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