Google Tests Domain URLs That Aim To Help Prevent Scams, Phishing

Google is testing a feature that will display a website domain name on the Google Chrome address bar, rather than the full URL, allowing people to read and identify the location of the website.

The plan is to test the feature in the forthcoming Chrome 86 release. The company developed a way to show the real-world use of the name to protect those searching for information from websites scams and phishing attacks.

More than 60% of users in one study were fooled when a misleading brand name appeared in a URL.

Lookalike URLs post a threat to consumers. The paper studied how accurately users understand and parse URLs and found that 96% of participants report feeling confident in their ability to read and parse a URL. Some 40% of muddied URLs were identified correctly, indicating a misalignment between participant models and their observed behavior.

Domain names and URLs point to specific websites, allowing users to search and find information online. Sometimes the information is spoofed, meaning it provides an incorrect name or URL address. This is a way for hackers to mislead those searching online by creating fake websites with URLs that may contain a typo or slight alteration in the legitimate name.

Google’s goal is to understand, through real-world use, whether showing URLs this way can help people realize they are visiting a malicious website.

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