Chrome and Firefox Dangerous extensions: how browsers steal your data

Chrome and Firefox Dangerous extensions: how browsers steal your data? extensions, for browsers Google Chrome and Firefox are a threat to personal data of users

Chrome and Firefox Dangerous extensions: how browsers steal your data
Chrome and Firefox Dangerous extensions: how browsers steal your data

Extensions, or plug-ins, for browsers Google Chrome and Firefox are a threat to personal data of users, according to Washington Post. According to experts, about 4 million people worldwide use malicious extensions that collect information without their knowledge.

At least 4 million people use extensions for the Chrome and Firefox browsers that secretly sell their data reports the Washington Post. At the same time, dangerous plug-ins were installed by the users themselves, who did not even know about the danger.

According to WP, citing information security expert Jeffrey A. Fowler, about half of all PC users in the world use browser extensions. This is a software that allows you to simplify the search, save passwords or disable advertising on pages.

Users install extensions on their browsers because they mistakenly think that plug-ins from the official Chrome or Firefox stores should be trusted and safe. Unfortunately, this is not the case.

Some plugins have in their functionality hidden surveillance of user behaviour on the Internet.

At the same time, the user does not even suspect that the extension not only monitors it but also carefully collects all the data to send it to third parties.

  • However, some plugins specifically lure users with bonuses - for example, Amazon offered to install its Assistant extension for online shopping in exchange for $ 10. At the same time Assistant received information about the user's search history. Even though this condition was spelt out and demonstrated to the user before installation, very few people pay attention to the security policy.

  • Another thing is with those plugins that collect data in a secretive mode, not advertising. According to the study, there are thousands of extensions that allow themselves such illegal practices - both in the Google Chrome browser and in Mozilla Firefox.

  • Jeffrey A. Fowler points out that the problem with dangerous plugins is real. This is not something that can happen to the user in theory - it is happening now. Together with the owner of the hosting business Sam Jabali, Fowler discovered a huge amount of personal information that should be kept confidential. At the same time, the data was sold on one of the sites in the open for a relatively modest amount of $ 49 per month.

  • The seller claimed that these data were obtained from users who agreed to the collection.

IB researchers have found logins, passwords, GPS coordinates, medical records, patients' names and prescribed medications, the names of passengers who booked themselves on board the aircraft and much more.

  • Also, employees of 50 large international corporations unintentionally merged the names and details of their current projects through the names of documents and reports that were stored in the "clouds".

  • The University of North Carolina tested 180,000 existing Chrome plug-ins to check how much of them are leaking confidential information.

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It turned out that 3.8 thousand of them are dangerous. In this case, the 10 most popular have an audience of over 60 million people.

“Not all companies [behind the creation of extensions] are intruders or do it on purpose, but they have the opportunity to sell your data if they need it,” said one of the authors of the study, Alexandros Karadelos.

According to Careverelos, there are no laws that would regulate such activities.

At the same time, Google and Mozilla are aware of this problem and periodically arrange cleaning so that the extensions from the store are reliable and meet the standards of privacy protection.

  • "We want the extensions in Chrome to be safe and keep users private, so finding violations is crucial for this purpose," said Google's senior manager Margret Schmidt. These efforts are not enough.

  • To protect themselves from data collection, IB experts recommend disabling all possible extensions in the browser settings, even if they are very useful and convenient. As you know, personal privacy is valued above all.

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