As of last year, Google Safe Browsing defends 3 billion devices from nefarious links, sites, malware, and more depending on the platform. Starting this month, its protections now apply to the WebView used by Android apps that don’t open a browser or use Chrome Custom Tabs.
Safe Browsing is branded under the Google Play Protect family of security features and will now work in WebViews. Very simply, a WebView is used by Android apps to display more basic pages and sites instead of opening a full browser.
A warning and network error will appear when Safe Browsing is invoked by phishing, deceptive sites, and more within an app’s WebView, with the standard bright red warning page with a “back to safety” button appearing. Google notes that the “style and content of the warning will vary depending on the size of the WebView.”
It will be enabled by default starting with WebView 66, which should begin rolling out with Chrome 66 over the next few days.
In 2016, Safe Browsing expanded to Gmail on the web, as well as third-party Android apps where it can examine URLs. Meanwhile, it is already available on 8.0 Oreo devices, while apps built for Android 8.1 can customize the behavior with new APIs.
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