GOOGLE Chrome has been slammed as "the worst for detecting and blocking" a terrifyingly common hack attack.
The browser ranked bottom of the list in a Which? investigation – and has been branded "a gift to fraudsters".
Chrome is one of the most popular web browsers in the world with an estimated 3.2billion users globally.
But when it comes to spotting and stopping "phishing" attacks, Chrome may not be up to scratch, experts say.
Rivals including Microsoft Edge, Apple's Safari and Mozilla Firefox were all better at the task than Chrome, according to the Which? investigation.
Phishing attacks are a simple hack that can have devastating consequences.
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It's when crooks trick you into handing over sensitive information.
This can involve posing as an official website or bank over email, text or on the phone.
And it's often a bid to gain information that gives tricksters access to your online accounts.
This could leave you with huge bills, an empty bank account or under threat of blackmail and extortion.
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The Which? test involved searching web addresses of 800 newly-discovered phishing sites in each web browser.
And it also examined whether the best browsers were being "over-aggressive" at blocking sites, leading to false positives.
Google Chrome reportedly prevented access to just 28% of phishing sites on Windows and only 25% on Mac.
That was compared to Mozilla's Firefox, which blocked 85% and 78% of phishing sites on Windows and Mac respectively, the investigation claims.
Microsoft's Edge browser blocked 82% of attacks, while Apple's Safari shut out 77%, Which? says.
And Opera blocked just 56% of phishing sites – still higher than Google Chrome, according to the report.
"It's incredibly alarming to see that a huge company like Google is allowing the security of its users to be exposed in this way," Which? computing editor Lisa Barber said.
"A gift to fraudsters who are constantly trying to use phishing attacks as a launchpad for scams that can have a devastating impact on victims."
Lisa recommends being "vigilant when clicking a link" and keeping your browser up to date to stave off hack attacks.
Phishing sites are difficult to tackle because they often pop-up and then disappear very quickly.
Which? says Google has questioned the findings after receiving its results.
A Google spokesperson told The Sun: "This study’s methodology and findings demand scrutiny.
"For more than 10 years, Google has helped set the anti-phishing standard — and freely provided the underlying technology — for other browsers.
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"Google and Mozilla often partner to improve the security of the web, and Firefox relies primarily on Google's Safe Browsing API to block phishing – but the researchers indicated that Firefox provided significantly more phishing protection than Chrome.
"It’s highly unlikely that browsers using the same technology for phishing detection would differ meaningfully in the level of protection they offer, so we remain sceptical of this report’s findings."
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