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Safe Browsing Now On by Default on Android

Google is taking another step to protect Android users when browsing the Internet by making Safe Browsing in WebView set by default.

Google is taking another step to protect Android users when browsing the Internet by making Safe Browsing in WebView set by default.

Launched in 2007, Google Safe Browsing was designed as an extra layer of protection against phishing and malware attacks, and is available for all users across the web. According to Google, the technology delivers protection to more than three billion devices.

Over the past several years, the search giant has made various improvements to Safe Browsing, and also made the technology available to Android and macOS. Safe Browsing also includes protections from unwanted software across both desktop and mobile platforms.

Now, Google reveals that Safe Browsing is available to WebView by default, via Google Play Protect. The change will take effect when WebView 66 arrives this month.

The availability of Safe Browsing in WebWiew means that all Android applications using the platform will be delivering new security benefits to their users.

“Developers of Android apps using WebView no longer have to make any changes to benefit from this protection,” Nate Fischer, Software Engineer, Google, notes in a blog post.

Google made Safe Browsing available in WebView since the release of Android 8.0 (API level 26) and developers could take advantage of the same underlying technology as Chrome on Android to keep their users safe from threats on the Internet.

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Following the new change, all applications using WebWiew will present a warning and receive a network error when Safe Browsing is triggered. New APIs for Safe Browsing provide developers of apps built for API level 27 and above to customize this behavior.

Google is providing details on how to customize and control Safe Browsing via the Android API documentation. Google also provides developers with a Safe Browsing test URL so they can check their applications using the current WebView beta.

Related: Google Turns TLS on By Default on Android P

Related: Google to Warn Android Users on Apps Collecting Data

Related: Google Expands Safe Browsing Protection on macOS

Related: Google Improves Safe Browsing for Network Admins

Written By

Ionut Arghire is an international correspondent for SecurityWeek.

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