Chrome 68 for Android Gets Spectre Site Isolation Feature

Chrome 68 for Android Gets Spectre Site Isolation Feature
  • Chrome 68 now available for Android, Linux, MacOS, and Windows
  • Chrome 68 brings Site Isolation to Android
  • Update for desktop users comes with fixes and improvements

Google has started rolling out the stable version of Chrome 68 for Windows, Mac, Linux, and Android. The latest update for desktop users comes with new features for improving the security of sites, and other improvements and fixes. You can update to the latest version now using Chrome's built-in updater or download it directly via the site. Meanwhile, Chrome 68 for Android users brings Spectre site isolation feature, 'Add to Home Screen' prompt, and Android P-like tab switcher.

The Chrome 68 release brings the Page Lifecycle API, the Payment Handler API, and a major change to how browsers label HTTP sites. As reported earlier, with the latest version of Google Chrome, all HTTP sites will be marked as 'not secure'. Chrome users who visit unencrypted sites will be given these warnings. Google had already given developers over six months to move their sites to a secure connection. Back in February, Google had informed that Chrome 68 will start marking all HTTP sites as 'not secure' starting in July.

Chrome 68 has also implemented 42 security fixes. There are some other security improvements, including content embedded in an iframe will now need a user gesture to navigate the top-level browsing context to a different origin. Users will now be prompted with an option to allow the redirect the continue. Chrome 68 will also prevent tab-unders.

In terms of security, Chrome 68 brings Site Isolation to Android. Last month, Chrome 67 was given the security feature called Site Isolation on Windows, macOS, Linux, and Chrome OS to limit the scope of Spectre vulnerability that was disclosed earlier this year. It was said that there are plans to extend Site Isolation coverage to Chrome for Android as well. Experimental enterprise policies for enabling Site Isolation will be available in Chrome 68 for Android, and it can be enabled manually on Android using chrome://flags/#enable-site-per-process, Google had said.

The new Site Isolation feature, isolates the browser render the content of each website opened in the latest Chrome browser and use a dedicated process for every single site to restrict the sharing of processes between multiple sites. Google believes that as a result of the latest development, Chrome can rely on the operating system to prevent attacks between processes and sites. With the arrival of Site Isolation, Chrome browser on Android no longer loads data to other websites in the same process of the site opened on an active tab. This limits an attacker to obtain user data using malicious JavaScript code.

Coming to the tab switcher, Chrome 67 for Android had added a flag specifically to enable a horizontal tab switcher. This had replaced the original vertical tab switcher and was in line with the menu available on Android P. While the tabs overlapped in Chrome 67, the latest version spaces out the cards offering more visibility. You can enable the horizontal tab switcher by visiting chrome://flags/#enable-horizontal-tab-switcher.

Finally, with the latest update to Chrome for Android, Progressive Web Apps have more control over the "Add to Home screen" prompt that comes with a new mini infobar. Notably, Chrome 68 for Android is rolling out now.


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Further reading: Google, Chrome, Chrome 68
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