Chrome privacy settings on Windows: Relaxed level

Learn how to change your privacy settings on Chrome using Windows. These steps adjust your privacy and security settings to Relaxed level protection.
Kaspersky Lab
07.12.2021
8 minutes
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Check your Google account settings

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Protect your Google account

If you use Chrome with a Google account, the safety of your data in the browser depends directly on your account’s security. Therefore, check your Google account settings in addition to your browser settings.


How to protect yourself from malicious websites and programs

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Run a safety check

What for: To detect and solve security problems.

Chrome can run a special check to detect password breaches and unsafe extensions, determine whether your browser is up to date, and enable warnings about malicious websites:

  1. Click the three dots in the upper right corner of the screen;
  2. Select Settings;
  3. Go to the Safety check section;
  4. Click Check now.

Keep in mind that the browser only runs a basic safety check and does not scan your computer for malware. Use an antivirus to protect your device.

Choose a security level

What for: To find a balance between privacy and security.

Chrome can automatically detect phishing sites, monitor password breaches, and use other security mechanisms. However, a stricter security policy means developers will get more data about your system and Internet use. For instance, Google may learn which sites you visit, get samples of the files you download, data about your system, and other information. To choose a security level:

  1. Click the three dots in the upper right corner of the screen;
  2. Select Settings;
  3. Go to the Privacy and security section;
  4. Select Security.
  5. If you do not want to share extra information with Google, click Standard protection. The browser will then check the URLs of the pages you visit against a list of malicious resources and warn you about hazards. A site’s address and samples of its content will only be sent to Google in the event that you download a malicious file or the site tries to steal your password. You can turn on enhanced data collection if you wish, or you can decline it:
  6. Click Help improve security on the web for everyone to let Chrome send the URL and a portion of the content for both malicious sites and other potentially suspicious resources you view to its developers. If the browser discovers unsafe software on your computer, it will send file samples and system registry entries to Google. This information is used for improving security so Chrome learns to identify threats more accurately.
  7. Click Warn you if passwords are exposed in a data breach and Chrome will check the passwords you save in the browser against a list of stolen ones from time to time. In order to perform the check, the browser encrypts your login credentials and sends them to Google.
  8. If you prefer safety to privacy, you may want to share all the data the developers need to enhance security. Then choose Enhanced protection, and the browser will monitor password breaches and send some items to be checked, such as the addresses of some of the pages you visit, samples of content and downloaded files, information about extension activity, and system data.

You can also turn Chrome protection off completely, but we do not recommend deactivating the browser’s built-in security features.

Check your computer for malware

What for: To protect the browser from threats.

Chrome can scan your device for malware sand riskware, such as advertising software that secretly changes your startup page. By default, the browser automatically checks your computer once every few days, but you can launch a scan manually at any time.

  1. Click the three dots in the upper right corner of the screen;
  2. Select Settings;
  3. In the menu on the left, click Advanced and go to the Reset and clean up section;
  4. Select Clean up computer.
  5. If you do not want to share scan results and your device information with the developers, clear the box next to Report details to Google about harmful software, system settings, and processes that were found on your computer during this cleanup;
  6. Click Find and wait for the scan to be completed.

Keep in mind that Chrome only detects the programs which negatively affect its performance, for example, by changing your home page to a website with ads. The browser is not designed to protect against ransomware, banking trojans, and many other forms of malware, so it cannot be used instead of an antivirus.


How to hide your data from prying eyes

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Use incognito mode

What for: To leave no tracks.

The browser usually saves information about the pages you visit, the passwords you enter, the permissions you give, and some website data. If you want to hide these — for example, when using someone else's computer — browse in incognito mode Chrome will delete all passwords, browser history, and site data immediately after you close all program windows launched in incognito mode.

To turn on incognito mode:

  1. Click the three dots in the upper right corner of the screen;
  2. Select New Incognito window.

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How to keep corporations out of your business

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Stop background services

What for: To get rid of intrusive notifications and protect yourself from malicious extensions.

By default, some Chrome background services keep running even if you have closed the browser. For example, websites can send you notifications even if you have not launched the program. However, some plug-ins may abuse this feature to spy on you, secretly open malicious pages, or send you spam. To stop Chrome from running in the background:

  1. Click the three dots in the upper right corner of the screen;
  2. Select Settings;
  3. In the menu on the left, click Advanced and go to the System section;
  4. If Continue running background apps when Google Chrome is closed is active, turn it off.

Downside: You will not receive notifications when the browser is closed.


How to protect your data

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Check your saved passwords

What for: To protect against leaks.

When you sign in to a website, Chrome prompts you to save your password. This allows it to fill in your login credentials for you next time. The browser can check whether your passwords have been exposed in a data leak. How to start a scan:

  1. Click the three dots in the upper right corner of the screen;
  2. Select Settings;
  3. Go to the Autofill section;
  4. Select Passwords;
  5. Click Check passwords.

If your passwords have been leaked, you’ll see a message about it. If so, change the vulnerable passwords to something unique and secure as soon as possible.

To get notifications if your passwords are discovered in public sources, turn on advanced protection mode.


What would have happened if you had chosen another privacy level?


Also recommended

Main / Chrome privacy settings on Windows: Relaxed level
Privacy level
?

Relaxed

Basic privacy settings, maximum convenience.


Medium

A golden mean respecting privacy matters but preserving convenience.


Tight

A choice of security over convenience; instructions contain a lot of details.

Relaxed
Medium
Tight
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