The Avast Online Security extension can be added to Chrome from the Chrome Web store, even if you use some other security suite or none at all - I just use Windows Defender for example.
One of the functions of the extension is to detect and block phishing attempts. Chrome itself can detect some fraudulent websites, but there is no harm in adding an extra check. Avast Online Security will warn you if something about the site is wrong.
When you visit a website, click the button in the toolbar and a panel is displayed that shows whether the site is safe, unknown or unsafe. The tick on the green bar is hard to miss. Users of the Avast extension can vote and rate their experience on the site as either positive or negative. You can add your voice to the many other users of the extension.
Do not track
Also in the panel is the number of tracking systems the website uses. For example, it may use components from social networks like Facebook and some sites use Facebook comments on their pages. This means Facebook knows you have visited the site.
Advertisers also track you, so if you visit a website selling electric toasters they can show you adverts for electric toasters because they know you are interested in them. Some people don’t mind this, but others do.
There are also web analytics systems that count visitors to websites and see which pages they read.
Any or all of these can be blocked by the Avast Online Security extension.However, some websites do not work if you do because it can ruin the design and layout. The extension can be set to block trackers of different types by default, but whether it is worth it depends on the sites you visit.
Correct your typing
It is quite easy to mistype a website URL and this can take you to a fake website. For example, you enter your online bank’s URL, but make a typing slip and end up on an almost identical site set up by a scammer to catch people out. You may not realise it and enter your login details.
Avast Online Security watches for mistyped URLs and automatically replaces them with the correct URL if it is known. It can save you from disaster.
One last feature is the checking of search results. Search at Google or Bing and next to each search result is an icon to show whether it is safe or not. A green tick to indicates that the site is safe to visit, an orange/yellow tick means the site is bad in some way, and a gray one means it is unknown. Mouse over the ticks for a popup comment.
This is a useful feature that keeps you away from bad websites. There aren’t many in search results and it is hard to find a bad one. I venetuall found one at Bing for the screenshot, but on the whole they are either OK or unknown.
Avast Online Security is a useful addition to Chrome that makes using the web that little bit safer. It is most useful for novices who might be tempted to search for dodgy things or accidentally visit phishing sites without realising it.