Chrome OS Gets an Optional TPM Security Update That Requires a Powerwash

Chrome OS Powerwash

There is a new, optional security update for Chrome OS that fixes a vulnerability with the Trusted Platform Module (TPM) in the majority of Chromebooks.  To apply the update however, you will need to Powerwash your device.

The vulnerability has to do with hackers potentially being able to brute force the RSA keys generated by your TPM.  This, in theory, could give the the opportunity to plant malicious code on your device or take it over.  For those not familiar, a Trusted Platform Module (TPM) is a specialized chip on an endpoint device that stores RSA encryption keys specific to the host system for hardware authentication. It essentially makes sure that the hardware and software on your device are secure and encrypted and what has access to the keys generated by it.  Thus, you see the problem.  If the TPM gets compromised, it can lead to a lot of issues for end users.

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How To Enable Progress Web Apps in Chrome

Enabling Progress Web Apps in Chrome

Progressive Web Apps, or PWAs, are the next big trend in browsing tech.  Designed to give an app-like experience on the web, PWAs are something that Google has been pushing hard as well as Apple and Microsoft.  All three companies, as well as Firefox are all planning to roll out support for the technology this year but Google appears to have the jump.

With Chrome 64, you have the ability to change flags within the browser to enable Progress Web Apps.  While technically not support – generally most flag settings are officially supported – it does work and you can give it a try to see what all the hubbub is about before it gets here in full swing later this year.  In this How To, I’ll show you which flags to enable to try out a PWA experience.

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Chrome Browser Ad Blocker Goes Live

Chrome Icon

Starting today, the Chrome browser for Windows, MacOS and Linux will start blocking intrusive adverts on sites to give a better user experience.  Google had announced that these types of ads would be blocked back in December starting today after announcing their agreement with the Coalition for Better Ads last summer.

If you don’t remember, for desktops, ads that do the following risk being blocked:

  • pop-up ads
  • auto-play video ads with sound
  • prestitial ads with countdown
  • large sticky ads

For those who have the ad blocker enabled in Chrome on their desktop, you will no longer see these ads.

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How To Enable The Unread Message Counter for Gmail Tabs in Chrome

Gmail Icon

One of the hidden gems in Gmail are the labs.  The labs are unsupported, experimental features that may make their way into the mainstream support for the email service.  For the most part, I don’t recommend using beta or unsupported features but there is one that has been there a long time and Google seems to continue to improve it.

The feature is the ability to enable an unread message counter on the Gmail tab in the Chrome browser on Windows, MacOS or Linux as well as in Chrome OS.

Unread Counter in Gmail Tab in Chrome
Unread Counter in Gmail Tab in Chrome

In this How To, I’ll show you were to go in Gmail to enable the feature so you can try it out for yourself.

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Minor Update to Chrome for Android Rolling Out Today

Google Chrome for Android

Just a couple of days after the initial Chrome 64-based release of Chrome for Android, there is a new minor update build that is rolling out to users today.  The new build is version 64.0.3282.123 for those keeping score at home.  It is essentially a bug fix release but there is one bug in particular that is called out in the release notes.

That particular bug has to do with Chrome for Android crashing when using the Autofill when using Android System WebView.  This new build should address that issue if you have encountered it with the previous build of the app.

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Chrome 64 Hits the Desktop Browser Stable Channel

Chrome for Mac

The Chrome browser for Windows, MacOS and Linux has now officially been updated to Chrome 64.  The new build was released yesterday and will be rolling out over the course of the next few days.  The new build is version 64.0.3282.119 for those keeping score at home and has over 50 security and bug fixes in the release.

To force a check for the update, type chrome://help in the browser omnibar and then check for updates.  This will force your browser to get the latest build and, once downloaded and you restart Chrome, you will be on Chrome 64.

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Google Chrome Now Available in the Windows Store

Chrome Browser for Windows

[Update 12/20/2017:  It has now been removed.  Microsoft states that the installer violates the store’s policies. ]

Big and somewhat surprising news this morning for Windows 10 users.  Google Chrome is now available for download in the Microsoft Windows Store.  It means that users can now install Chrome on their Windows 10 PCs (except Windows 10S users) without having to side-load it.  This is something that many administrators lock down for security reasons.

Essentially this new app, which is published by Google, is an installer which acts as a shell to go get the browser installed on your PC.  In other words, it is an official channel to go out to the web and download the browser as you would if you were side-loading.

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Chrome Browser Sees A Minor Security Update

Chrome Browser for Windows

For those of you who use the Chrome browser on your Windows PC, Mac or Linux machines, there is a new update rolling out for you today.  The new version is build 63.0.3239.108 and is a security update that addresses two security concerns with the browser.  The update keeps what has been the norm for Chrome in that a major release happens early in the month and a minor release happens in the middle to end of the month.

As you can see by the build number, this update remains in the Chrome 63 train.

Google hasn’t released full details of the fixes that are in this update but has outlined the one high priority item that was addressed was a security flaw while the second security issue was not addressed in the release notes.  Google tends to not release bug details until after a majority of users have been updated to assure that the exploit is not used.

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