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Google has released a critical security update for its Chrome browser. This recent update patches a vulnerability that could allow attackers to take control of your computer simply by getting you to visit a malicious website, an attack known as a “drive-by download”. 

What’s the risk? 

The vulnerability (known as CVE-2024-2883) is in an area of Chrome called Angle, which helps render webpage graphics. A skilled attacker could craft a malicious webpage designed to exploit the flaw, leading to your computer being infected with malware without any direct action from you. 

The consequences of such an attack could be severe: 

  • Theft of sensitive data: Passwords, financial details, and other personal information could be stolen. 
  • Ransomware infection: Cybercriminals could encrypt your files and demand payment in exchange for the decryption key. 
  • Further system compromise: An infected machine could be used as a stepping-stone to attack other devices or networks. 

How to Protect Yourself 

The immediate fix is simple: Update your Google Chrome browser to the latest version. Here’s how: 

  1. Open Chrome. 
  2. Click the three dots in the top-right corner. 
  3. Go to Help > About Google Chrome
  4. Chrome will automatically check for and install available updates. 

Additional Tips for Staying Safe 

  • Be cautious about links: Avoid clicking links in emails or on websites you don’t recognise, especially if they seem too good to be true or create a sense of urgency. 
  • Keep software up to date: Security updates aren’t just for your browser – make it a habit to update your operating system and other apps regularly. 
  • Strong passwords: Use strong, unique passwords for each online account, and consider a password manager for help. 
  • Be wary of downloads: Only download files from trusted sources. 

Staying Vigilant 

Cyber security is an ongoing process. While this particular Chrome vulnerability has been patched, new ones will likely be discovered in the future. Staying informed about the latest threats, and how to manage them is invaluable.