Chrome 85: the secure DNS-over-HTTPS protocol arrives on Android

dns over https doh - Chrome 85: the secure DNS-over-HTTPS protocol arrives on Android

Google announced on Wednesday that Chrome for Android will soon support DNS-over-HTTPS (DoH), a protocol that encrypts and secures DNS requests to boost user privacy.

The protocol has already been supported on desktop versions of the browser since May, since the release of Chrome 83. But mobile versions, on iOS and Android, do not have this feature.

Imminent and gradual deployment of the feature

This Wednesday, Google adjusts the shot by explaining in a short blog post that the protocol will be gradually activated in Chrome mobile browsers over the coming weeks.

Users who have updated Chrome to Android, and have Chrome 85, will see a new option in their browser settings, "Use secure DNS".

chrome doh settings android - Chrome 85: the secure DNS-over-HTTPS protocol arrives on Android

Image: Google.

The "Use secure DNS" option will be disabled by default, but once enabled, Chrome will prioritize DNS queries in encrypted form (via DoH), and will only use classic clear-text DNS as a fallback.

Customizing settings

In detail, Google has clarified that the functionality will work the same as on desktop versions, which means that users will not have to tamper with the original DNS settings set by the operating system.

Instead, Chrome will use an internal list of DNS servers compatible with the DoH protocol, and if the user has configured one as the DNS setting for the entire operating system, Chrome will use that server's DoH interface. instead of the default, and will replace clear text DNS queries with on-the-fly encrypted DoH queries.

In addition, for situations where users do not want to change their Android device's DNS server to one that supports DoH protocol, Google also allows users to customize Chrome's DoH server only for their browser.

To do this, simply select the second option (see screenshot above), "Choose another provider", and add the IP address of the DNS server you want to use. As this option is configured in Chrome settings, it only applies to Chrome for Android, not the entire Android operating system.

An exception for controlled environments

Google also says that Chrome for Android will automatically disable this protocol if the smartphone is part of a managed environment, such as those on corporate networks.

On this type of network, IT staff typically deploy company-specific policies to control and secure their fleet of smartphones, and this protocol could, in some cases, encourage attacks. This is the reason why Google preferred not to force the introduction of the feature in such tightly controlled environments.

Google did not say when the DoH protocol would be available on the iOS version of the Chrome browser. However, you will probably have to wait patiently, since Apple has only very recently added support for this protocol to the iOS and macOS operating systems.


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