Reis' PhD dissertation of nearly decade ago was on the subject, and the Chrome team has been working on it for six years. Chrome's Site Isolation feature was added with the release of Chrome 63 in December 2017, but it was disabled by default-users could manually change a flag to enable the feature, though under normal circumstances, few users ever encounter the chrome://flags settings page where the option was hidden.
The company revealed today that it has enabled Site Isolation in 99% of all Chrome installations for the desktop as of Chrome 67.
Although this change won't affect how sites look or developers need to code, the technology will require an additional 10 percent to 13 percent of RAM, because tabs that formerly shared some processes now have to run each process independently. In theory at least, the owner of a malicious web site could exploit Spectre to steal information from other websites, Reis said.
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To check whether this is enabled, or disable it should you choose (which we don't recommend), you can head to chrome://flags#enable-site-per-process in your location bar, and then set the toggle for Strict Site Isolation to either Enabled or Disabled.
"This is an extremely impressive achievement", tweeted Eric Lawrence, a former senior software engineer at Google but now a principal program manager at rival Microsoft. There is a higher chance that using Google Chrome will slow down computers, but the trade-off is apparently worth it.
By this separation of processes, Google aims to prevent direct memory reading across different processes to safeguard users' data. Chrome 68 will roll out later this month and in that version of the browser, users will be able to figure out if Site Isolation is running by typing "chrome://process-internals" into the address bar. (That doesn't work in Chrome 67 or earlier.) now, checking requires more work on the user's part: It's spelled out in this document under the "Verify" subheading.
Site Isolation is enabled in Chrome for Android after the restart. More functionality will also be added to the desktop edition of the browser. By separating out the rendering processes by site, Chrome can prevent directly reading memory across processes, and utilize the built-in operating system protections against Spectre (which still isn't very clear). "Stay tuned for an update about these enforcements".