Google has begun pushing out version 96.0.4664.110 of its Chrome desktop browser to address a security vulnerability that is being actively exploited by hackers.
Fortunately, the fix is an easy one: Ensure that your browser is up to date, then simply restart it to launch the patched, up-to-date version. Google’s blog post explains that the new version of the browser has been released merely to address existing security vulnerabilities, of which one of them, known as CVE-2021-4102, is being exploited in the wild.
Updating Chrome will occur automatically, so Chrome may already be patched and up to date. To be sure, click the three vertical dots at the top right-hand corner of the browser, then navigate down to Help > About Chrome. If your browser isn’t up to date, this action will prompt Chrome to see out and download the updated version. Once Chrome version 96.0.4664.110 has been downloaded (or if there is a more recent version available) you’ll see a message saying that Chrome is up to date. Downloading the new version will likely require you to restart your browser.
As Tom’s Hardware notes, many of the other browsers that use Chrome’s open-source underpinnings, like Vivaldi and Microsoft Edge, have yet to issue their own patches.
It’s unclear how many general-purpose users are at risk from this or any other exploit. Because of the ease of installing and downloading free browsers, however, downloading Chrome and importing your browser data from another browser is relatively simple. If you don’t want to use Chrome for whatever reason, both Windows 10 Pro and Windows 11 Pro offer Windows Sandbox, a protected “PC-within-a-PC” environment that will help insulate your PC from external threats.