Google is particular about updating its popular web browser Chrome with new features from time to time and these feature additions are meant for enhancing its functionality and security. The internet search giant has always stressed upon enhancing the security for its users online. The new stable build of Chrome aka Chrome 67 brings a new security feature that is being touted by Google as a major step towards boosting online safety. The new security enhancement feature is Site Isolation and it basically helps safeguard the web users from harmful websites that may compromise their safety and cause data loss.
As of now, the feature is working by default in Chrome for Windows, Mac, and Linux as well as the Chrome OS. The Chrome for Android variant is yet to be updated with the feature.
The new security feature is aimed at thwarting the havoc caused by bugs and security threats like Spectre. Without getting into details, it can be deduced bugs like Spectre exploit CPU design and OS loopholes and steal important data like password and encryption keys from the websites. The theft is done by exploiting the performance-enhancement features that let the websites share memory. Spectre steals data by gaining access to shared memory from legitimate sites.
Chrome’s Site Isolation feature thwarts Spectre by stopping memory sharing. When the feature is active, Content of the websites browsed by users is put in a sandbox and that stops the process from sharing the memory with the other domains. So, Spectre can’t access it and theft risk is eliminated.
However, the new security feature of Chrome has a flip side as well. Its deployment leads to a surge in memory load. It can be in the range of 10 to 13 percent. However, Google is of the view this memory overhead will not affect the browsing and web user experience for the majority of users. It is also going to enhance the site isolation feature Chrome’s architecture in future to thwart Spectre like risks.
Charlie Reis, Google Chrome team member said the implementation of Site Isolation ensures 99% of Chrome users are on the safe side.