Apple makes Safari’s Fraudulent Website Warning even more secure

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Safari Fraudulent Website Warning is an optional feature.
Safari’s anti-phishing tool is about to get even more secure.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

The Fraudulent Website Warning system built into Safari in the upcoming iOS 14.5 reportedly takes an additional step to protect your identity. Apple licenses the scam-prevention service from Google, and going forward will block that company from knowing users’ IP addresses through the use of a proxy server.

Apple is using privacy as a way to differentiate its products from rivals. This move is intended to safeguard users’ online privacy even more while also protecting from scammers. Especially as Google’s business model is to gather information about users and sell it to advertisers.

Take a deep dive into Apple’s Fraudulent Website Warning

An optional feature in the Safari web browser is the Fraudulent Website Warning. This checks for phishing websites: ones that masquerade as legitimate sites in order to steal passcodes.

The service is actually handled by Google. As Apple says on its Safari & Privacy support page, “Before visiting a website, Safari may send information calculated from the website address to Google Safe Browsing to check if the website is fraudulent.”

A post on Reddit shows that, to make that process even more secure, traffic sent to Google on a device running iOS 14.5 beta 1 goes through an Apple proxy server before it goes to the outside company. If correct, it would ensure that Google doesn’t have access to the IP address of Fraudulent Website Warning users.

The tip only mentions iOS 14.5. It’s quite possible that the feature is also coming to future versions macOS and iPadOS. Apple began testing the update for iPhone last week, along with an iPad equivalent. A new macOS beta followed shortly thereafter.