Learn to Spot a Fake Address Bar in Chrome on Android

Welcome to AndroidFlagship, a collection of tips on how to easily get the most out of your Android devices, apps, and other stuff. Today I want to show you how simple is to spot a fake address bar in Chrome on Android. Should you worry about such a thing? It seems that you better should. There are plenty of new tricks about creating a browser within the browser.

In such conditions, when a user scrolls up they get locked into a browser carrying the fake address bar. We basically have no way of knowing if they are on a legitimate page or the fake one. Usually, you can take a peek at the padlock icon to the left of the address bar to see whether a website is authentic or not, but don’t always trust your eyes.

That little graphic, however, can be deceiving too. Phishers have devised a way for mobile web pages to display fake URL bars in Chrome that include the padlock icon and a replacement URL. This inception bar – as it has been called – replaces the real address bar in your browsing window. If you aren’t paying much attention, you might assume that your browser is working as intended.

So, what can it be done? I have a few advices for you:

Learn to Spot a Fake Address Bar in Chrome on Android

  • Force the Chrome app to reveal the UI even when you have scrolled down and the address bar is no longer visible. For that, first lock your phone while the Chrome app is open, then unlock it. When you do this, Chrome automatically resets and shows the address bar. If you are facing any phishing attack, you will notice two address bars on unlocking the handset. The top one is the true URL, while the bottom one is the fake one;
  • Also note that the new dark mode in Chrome Android makes it so much easier to see inception bars, too. When dark mode is enabled, the URL bar and other UI elements will be black, so any potential fake e URL bars are easier to spot since they are white;
  • If you’re browsing with multiple tabs open, then be careful about the number displayed in the tabs icon. Inception bars usually display incorrect numbers here.

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