Google Chrome Drops Browser Lock Icon

Chrome 117 will retire the lock icon and replace it with a "tune" icon, reflecting evolving cybersecurity standards.

Dark Reading Staff, Dark Reading

May 3, 2023

1 Min Read
an image of the Google Chrome logo with a cursor hovering over it.
Source: image BROKER via Alamy Stock Photo

Dating all the way back to circa 1990s Netscape, the tiny lock icon on the left-hand side of the Google Chrome browser search bar indicated the site had loaded over HTTPS. HTTPS sites with a secured connection between Chrome, the website, and network used to be rare — but today it's the default.

Google this week announced the lock will be officially retired and replaced by a "tune" icon in September 2023 with the launch of Chrome 117.

Beyond benign eye clutter, Google Chrome research showed the lock was misrepresenting that sites with the icon were somehow "trustworthy." Nearly all phishing sites use HTTPS, Google noted, and the FBI published an advisory warning Chrome's lock icon did not mean a website was indeed safe.

The new tune icon is intended to be more neutral, according to Google.

"Our research has also shown that many users never understood that clicking the lock icon showed important information and controls," Google's Chrome announcement said. "We think the new icon helps make permission controls and additional security information more accessible, while avoiding the misunderstandings that plague the lock icon."

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Dark Reading Staff

Dark Reading

Dark Reading is a leading cybersecurity media site.

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