Critical warning for Google Chrome users: What’s it all about and how to safeguard yourself from the menace?

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Cyberattacks were never taken as seriously the way it is now. This perhaps is the reason that now everyone – from an individual level to an organizational level – is adopting cybersecurity measures like never before. The government, in particular, is steadfast in its approach to alert internet users to be on their guard in case of any imminent threat.

In one such attempt to combat the menace, the government has warned Google Chrome users of being prone to cyberattacks due to multiple vulnerabilities existing in the browser. Computer Emergency Response Team of India (CERT-In), the Centre’s nodal cybersecurity agency under the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, has issued an online advisory to recommend users to update the Chrome browser to avoid targeted attacks, where a hacker could gain access to their systems by using an arbitrary code.

With this warning, the government’s cybersecurity agency has also outlined a few steps through which users can safeguard themselves and take preventive steps to overcome any security bugs and vulnerabilities.

What’s the warning all about?

In its latest advisory, Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) says that people are at high risk if they are using the Google Chrome version which is older than 98.0.4758.80. The ‘High Severity’ warning further says, “Multiple vulnerabilities have been reported in Google Chrome OS which could be exploited by a remote attacker to bypass security restrictions, execute arbitrary code or cause denial of service condition on the targeted system.”

“These vulnerabilities exist in Google Chrome due to Use after free in Safe Browsing, Reader Mode, Web Search, Thumbnail Tab, Strip, Screen Capture, Window Dialogue, Payments, Extensions, Accessibility, and Cast; Heap buffer overflow in ANGLE; Inappropriate implementation in Full Screen Mode, Scroll, Extensions Platform and Pointer Lock; Type Confusion in V8; Policy bypass in COOP and Out of bounds memory access in V8,” the advisory adds.

What’s Google’s take on Chrome bug?

Google had released an update for Google Chrome on January 6 this year, after the identification of security bugs in its version. It had rolled out “Chrome 98 to the stable channel for Windows, Mac, and Linux”, as per the official release. The update included 27 security fixes in total, as per the company. At the time of announcing the last release, Google said that access to bug details and links might be kept restricted until a majority of users do not update Chrome browser on their systems. “We will also retain restrictions if the bug exists in a third-party library that other projects similarly depend on, but haven’t yet fixed,” the internet giant said.

How to be on your guard against cyberattacks on Chrome?

Besides finding out and issuing advisory against multiple vulnerabilities, the government’s cybersecurity agency, Indian Computer Emergency Response Team, has also come up with a solution so that you can remain safe against cyberattacks. It has advised people to check the current version of Google Chrome and if it is found to be 98.0.4758.80 or earlier the same should be updated at the earliest.

Steps to upgrade Google Chrome:

Step 1: Open the Google Chrome browser

Step 2: Navigate to the three dots located on the top right corner of the interface

Step 3: Locate and click on the option that says “Settings”

Step 4: Click on the ‘three-lined’ menu situated at the top left corner of the screen

Step 5: Click on an option that says ‘About Chrome’

Step 6: Chrome will automatically detect if a stable update is available for the user

Step 7: Once updated, relaunch Google Chrome and your browser will be safe

What exactly CERT-In does?

Indian Computer Emergency Response Team is the nodal agency under the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) of the Government of India. It deals with cybersecurity threats like hacking and phishing, and aims to strengthen the security-related defence mechanism of the Indian Internet domain. It must be noted that CERT-In has always been watchful of Google Chrome in the past as well. Earlier, it criticised the availability of certain extensions on the chrome store. In 2020, the nodal agency had asked Google Chrome users to uninstall certain extensions that were caught collecting “sensitive” user data. In December 2021, the CERT-In had issued a similar warning against Chrome, which Google later fixed via the software update.

About Google Chrome

Chrome is a cross-platform web browser developed by internet giant Google. It was first released in 2008 for Microsoft Windows, built with free software components from Apple WebKit and Mozilla Firefox. It was later ported to Linux, macOS, iOS and Android, where it is the default browser. The browser is also the main component of Chrome OS, where it serves as the platform for web applications. Google Chrome is possibly the largest used browser in the country, both in personal computers as well as mobile phones.

Also Read: India Telecom 2022: 5G network is in its final stages of development, says Telecom Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw

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