What You Need to Know About Browser Extension Risks
“Googling it” is a common expression. Using a Web browser with extensions can enhance your experience. But extensions are code add-ons. Hence, the danger.
Let’s face it; how much coding do you know? Probably not a lot. That means you blindly trust nameless programmers, hoping they are legit!
Downloading malicious extensions can wreak havoc. Suddenly:
- Your default search engine gets changed
- You are redirected to compromised pages
- There are Pop-ups or ads on every session
- You are tracked online without you knowing it
But wait, there’s more
Many browsers today want to keep you safe from malicious extensions. So they’ll have permissions in place before allowing access. Yet you still end up giving that extension a lot of access:
- For example, an extension modifying google.com needs access to all your Google activity
- Browser extensions access everything you’re doing online—even functioning as keyloggers
- Extensions can also be sold or hijacked so that a bad actor can push out infected updates
What you can do
Does this mean you should do without browser extensions? No, of course not. Instead, review their safety and credibility BEFORE installing them:
- Check out the publisher
- Look at the reviews
- If the permissions don’t match the functionality, don’t use them
- Install a good antivirus and keep it, your Operating System, and third-party applications updated
- Limit the number of extensions to only those you need—delete all others
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