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Google Chrome Update Introduces New Protection Against Home Network Attacks

Google launches new Chrome feature to shield home networks from web attacks. It blocks website attempts to access internal devices


In an unprecedented move to bolster , has announced the implementation of a novel security feature designed to protect home networks from malicious web-based attacks. This enhancement focuses on preventing unauthorized online entities from exploiting vulnerabilities within internal, private networks, thus safeguarding devices like routers and printers that users commonly consider secure due to their indirect connection to the internet.

A Detailed Look at the Private Network Access Protections

At the heart of this security update is the “Private Network Access protections” feature, set to operate in a “warning-only” mode starting with Google Chrome 123. The mechanism underpinning this feature involves a series of rigorous checks before a public website can request the browser to access another site within the user's private network. Initially, it verifies the security context of the request and proceeds to send a CORS-preflight request to ascertain whether the target site permits such access.

Google engineers elaborately describe a scenario where a public website might orchestrate a CSRF (Cross-Site Request Forgery) attack to alter the DNS configuration of a user's router via an HTML iframe. The browser, equipped with this new security feature, preemptively sends a preflight request to the internal device, effectively blocking the connection if no response is received. On the other hand, a responsive device can signal the browser to allow the connection by utilizing the ‘Access-Control-Request-Private-Network' header.

Implications and Future Prospects of Enhanced Network Security

While the initial phase allows for warnings only, it gives developers ample time to make necessary adjustments before the implementation of stricter enforcement. Google has also addressed potential concerns regarding automatic browser reloads that could inadvertently bypass blocked requests. In such instances, the proposed feature ensures that auto-reloading is blocked, thereby maintaining the integrity of the Private Network Access checks.

Google's initiative to explore and develop this feature, which commenced in 2021, underscores a committed effort to mitigate modern . By extending protections to encompass devices and servers within a user's internal network, Google aims not only to fortify the security landscape but also to adapt to the increasing use of web interfaces that assume a level of protection previously not provided.

This advancement marks a significant milestone in the fight against cybercrime, reflecting Google's dedication to leveraging technology in safeguarding user privacy and security in the digital realm. As cyber threats evolve, such proactive measures are crucial in ensuring a safer internet experience for all.

Luke Jones
Luke Jones
Luke has been writing about all things tech for more than five years. He is following Microsoft closely to bring you the latest news about Windows, Office, Azure, Skype, HoloLens and all the rest of their products.

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