Google’s Chrome browser isn’t secure

A word of warning when you use the Google Chrome web browser. The browser uses a misleading notification system.

When you see the “Secure” notification in the browser location bar, this means that the connection between the browser and the website you went to is encrypted. But this does not mean that the you should fully trust the web site. It isn’t guaranteed that the web site is safe from phishing, malware, etc.

This is [as I said] because the “Secure” notification only means that there is encryption between your computer’s browser and that site. You can encrypt anything.

If the encryption certificate for the site has been revoked, the Chrome browser will still show it as “Secure”. Google knows about the issue but hasn’t corrected the issue.

In addition, according to year end reports [2016, 2017], Google’s Chrome browser continues to lead all browsers in vulnerabilities making it less secure.

[Note: Both links above may be technical for some. The results appear on page 20 for both reviews and the comparison of web browsers are on page 21. As well, they are external links. View at your own risk.]

Some vulnerabilities are more critical than others. But with the Chrome browser picking up users over the past few years, some vulnerabilities have been aimed at the browsers. Others are from sloppy programming.

This doesn’t mean you should stop using the Chrome web browser. More like you should understand that the browser isn’t 100% secure and Google’s claim that it is, is misleading. But no web browser is secure.

Google pulls Chrome Browser support for Windows XP in April

For the fewer and fewer who are still running Windows XP, Google will drop support for the Chrome browser for Windows XP in April [and don’t be surprised when Vista retires that Google will stop support on the same day as Microsoft].

Those who are using a recent version of the Chrome browser will have noticed by now the bar at the top of the browser window when the Chrome browser is opened.

Right now, the next alternative is Firefox. For now, Mozilla is still supporting Firefox and Windows XP.

This brings me to something which you may already know: The support by companies that support Windows XP is dwindling.

Predictions for 2015

So with about 0.20% of the year gone, here are some of my predictions [some incorporating rumors that started in 2014, some of them less likely, some are probable]:

In technology:

  • Apple will release a new iPhone in the spring – probably a slightly remade iPhone 5S. They did the same thing with the iPhone 5C which as a rebranded and slightly upgraded iPhone 4S [I think].
  • Apple will also have a major issue come to one of their products causing major problems. This would be as surprising as since Tim Cook took over from Steve Jobs, quality control has been less than stellar.
  • While Windows 10 does come out with plenty of fan fare, it still ends up being only a partial success as it still forces many desktop users to go though the tiles/modern interface too often.
  • Meanwhile, Microsoft decides to give a slight discount for some Windows 8.x users but not enough to satisfy them.
  • The Windows Server 2003 comes to a close in July but nasty bit of security attacks force Microsoft to further release some security updates after the end of support for the OS.
  • Google decides that it has had enough and begins to back away from both Google+ and the Chrome OS development. Both are bleeding the company dry even with Google’s advertising arm firmly entrenched in Google+.
  • Not really a surprise but there will be another major cloud breach similar to the one that hit Apple this past year [remember the celebrity nude pictures?]. One still wonders why people put nude pictures of themselves in the cloud.

In entertainment:

  • Yet another breach in an entertainment company, not as serious as Sony, but still high profile.
  • This will also be the year where movie distributors stop gauging the buying public and release Blu-ray movies at very similar pricing as a DVD.
  • The music shoppers will begin to get tired of the boy bands and scantly clad female singers that seem to come and go quite fast.
  • Justin Bieber will finally get arrested [he hasn’t already]?
  • Miley Cyrus will do something so wrong/disgusting that fans will turn their back on him.

In politics:

  • Vladimir Poutine [Putin] will finally cave in and force the Russian “separatists” in eastern Ukraine to come back to mother Russia or be left on their own. Still nothing resolved for Crimea. All this as the oil pricing by OPEC and the financial punishment still cripples Russia coupled by growing unrest by Russian citizens as price of goods continue to rise.
  • Putin gets tired of having OPEC dictating oil prices by trying to start “his” own oil council but fails.
  • In US politics, the early stages of preparations for the primaries in both Democratic and Republican parties fizzle as Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush are almost crowned before they start. Meanwhile the Republicans get hit with a few scandals along the way as the Tea Part branch causes further strains within the party.
  • In Canadian politics, an early fall elections has current Prime Minister Stephen Harper ousted with Liberal leader Justin Trudeau taking over with either a slight majority government or a near majority minority government. The NDP party, getting blown back to smaller party status will prop up the Liberals [if a minority government] – this after the Conservative party saying throughout the election that the Liberals and NDP would form a coalition government after they see the writing on the wall and see no chance in forming a government.
  • Devastated by the loss, Harper would end up resigning his leadership with eventually leaving politics in late 2015 or early 2016. As well, NDP leader will decide to leave as leader of party but will stay around.

Google extend Chrome’s support for Windows XP

In another sign that Google likes to go against or bend the rules, Google has announced that their Chrome browser [and I will assume their other products] will continue to be supported for Windows XP at least until April 2015.

This will mean, Google will support one of the very few products after Microsoft will pull the life support of Windows XP.

It is sort of a tradition for any discontinued operating system [or even a major update such as a service pack] that once the developer stops supporting the operating system, so does the third party developers. So for example, in April we expect to see Adobe drop support for Windows XP completely for Flash player, Adobe Reader [any version], etc. Same for Oracle’s Java plugin for Windows XP [good riddance!], iTunes with Windows XP support, etc.

[This doesn’t mean that the applications won’t work as of April 2014. Just that good luck if you have a problem or there is a security issue. In fact, some may still install after April 2014 with newer versions. In some cases, tinkering in compatibility mode may work.]

I am wondering in a few years when Vista dies will Google extend support for Chrome on Vista.

Google will probably drop Internet Explorer 9 supports on sites this fall

It’s interesting to note that when Internet Explorer 11 comes out as part of Windows 8.1 [and I guess at one point for Windows 7?] that at one point, Google will stop supporting Internet Explorer 9 in their web products.

According to Google’s policies [which seems to have came out of nowhere when Windows 8 came out], Google will most likely stop supporting Internet Explorer 9 in the fall with the release of Internet Explorer 11. Their policies state that they support the current and previous versions of any web browser only [wondering if they include Google Chrome browser in there because they release about a half a dozen major versions a year].

So if no Internet Explorer 9 supported that covers probably 95% of Windows 7 users plus all Windows Vista users.

Right now if you use Internet Explorer 8 or older versions with some of their web products such as Gmail, a box pops up warning you that certain features may not be available or may not work the way it should. A few sites [such as Google’s search engine] are unaffected.

Of course Google has this policy for at least two reasons:

  • To get Internet Explorer users to switch to Google Chrome [Chrome is suggested all over the place on just about any site to switch to as a “modern browser”].
  • Cheaper for them not to support older web browsers by removing source code from the site that is used by them. Also a bit lazy.

Of course Internet Explorer is not only in Google’s policies as it is the same policies for Firefox, Opera, Safari, etc. Some users, not knowing that they can install a more recent version of internet Explorer, installed Chrome only to discover that either they didn’t need to or don’t like it.

While I am not a fan of Chrome it is because of the security concerns. After Safari, it was the most vulnerable web browser out there according to reports from both Secuna and Symantec [the latter you can find it here]. Claiming that it is a faster browser [if valid] doesn’t outweigh the security concerns.

Google drops Internet Explorer 8 support in November

In case you haven’t heard, if you are using any Google products [well other than the Google search engine and maybe some exceptions], and are still using Internet Explorer 8 with either Windows XP, Windows Vista or Windows 7, you may start to see problems with using Google products [such as Gmail or Google Docs] as of November 15th.

As of that day, Google will not support Internet Explorer 8.

For those using Windows Vista and Windows 7, that is not a major issue as those users can install Internet Explorer 9 [or IE10 soon for Windows 7 only].

For Windows XP, that is a problem – if you use Google products – as there is no Internet Explorer 9 for Windows XP and never will be.

Google, it seems, announced a bit over a year ago [quietly] that they only support the current and the previous browser versions for any browser with their products.

I’m wondering if their rule is valid for their own Chrome browser which is at version 21. If you go by their rule, they only support versions 21 and 20 [which came out earlier this summer!]. But I suspect the rule doesn’t apply to their own web browser.

I am wondering if either the Google developers are getting lazy or just a ploy by Google to get Windows XP users to switch over to the Chrome browser – easily the most vulnerable web browser of the top five web browsers.

[See http://www.gfi.com/blog/research-web-browser-war-security-battle-in-2011/ or http://damienbenazet.com/blog/?p=80 if you don’t believe me on how buggy Chrome is. I prefer a web browser that is secure than one that may set up a page a second faster.]

Google’s Chrome OS – will it work or a big waste?

In case you missed it [or you didn’t know] but Google is releasing an operating systems designed specifically for netbooks – although it should work on a desktop. For whatever reason, Google figured there is a market for this. Unsure where they got the idea from.

A bit of history. Netbooks are low cost laptops. Originally they started out with 7” screens. Eventually larger ones came out. Although they can go as high as 12” screens, most still tend to be in the 10” screen range. Part of the reasoning is that they want to be small enough to be packed in [for example] any bag and not big and clumsy.

Part of a restrictions on them was from Microsoft who allowed a cheap licensed copy of Windows XP to be sold with them but only if the hard disk didn’t exceed [at the time of sale] 160 GB for a hard disk, 1 GB of memory and a low powered processor. Windows 7 increased some of the limitations.

Now when netbooks came out, they were offered in Windows XP and Linux flavours with the Linux edition slightly cheaper. There were many consumers who decided to be a bit cheap [or other reasons] and bought the Linux version. But they knew nothing of Linux and/or they couldn’t use their favourite applications. The netbook was returned. In fact, at one point in 2009, at least 80% of all netbook returns was because of Linux was installed [probably the rest was because it wasn’t strong enough].

Now Google is coming out with Chrome OS sometime in 2011. But all Chrome OS is, is an operating system built on Linux and it has a web browser as its desktop. So Google decided to make things a bit more interesting by allowing a few bells and whistles. But in the end, it is still Linux and most consumer users won’t want it.

So will this be the biggest waste of money for 2011? It has the potential.

Update 2011/12/17: Just over a year since I posted this blog, things don’t look too good for the Chrome OS. The two biggest retail makers of “Chromebooks” [a netbook with Chrome OS installed] report dismal sales in the Chromebooks to a point where Samsung may leave the netbook/Chromebook market altogether.  Some say that the sales are so bad, it makes RIM’s Playbook a monster seller.

One of the issues faced the Chromebooks was that the price tag was actually quite high – almost to a point to sprnd a small bit extra and buy a tablet. Another issue was that it was still a niche market – popular mostly with techies.