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Update at pm on Tuesday January 17th: I have received an official statement from Google regarding this issue.

You can find the full update at the end of this post.

There is a specific reason why this is so effective that has to do with human perception. When you sign in to any service, check the browser location bar and verify the protocol, then verify the hostname.

It should look like this in Chrome when signing into Gmail or Google: Make sure there is nothing before the hostname ‘accounts.google.com’ other than ‘https://’ and the lock symbol.

However, this technique can be used to steal credentials from many other platforms with many variations in the basic technique.

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If you widen out the location bar it looks like this: There is a lot of whitespace which I have removed.

If you now view a data URL, the location bar shows a “Not Secure” message which should help users realize that they should not trust forms presented to them via a data URL.

It will help prevent this specific phishing technique.

As you can see on the far left of the browser location bar, instead of ‘https’ you have ‘data:text/html,’ followed by the usual ‘https://accounts.google.com….’.

If you aren’t paying close attention you will ignore the ‘data:text/html’ preamble and assume the URL is safe.

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    This casual assumption prevailed as I set about cleaning and mending the pages, until I clapped eyes on a stamp marked with the amount of two dollars – a large denomination for a postage stamp even by today’s standards, let alone a century and a half ago.