Stay Safe While Installing Firefox Browser Extensions
Browser extensions unarguably enhance user browsing experience and give users flexibility and control over the content review online, these browser extensions or add-ons, as they are known, offer versatility and several benefits. Regardless of their benefits to users, the safety of these Firefox browser extensions is food for thought.
Usually, before you install Firefox browsers extensions, you would be required to read and consent to the publisher’s terms and conditions. In most cases, these terms and conditions request for access to your privacy or personal information such as your username, passwords, GPS location, browsing history, browsing pattern and lots more. The data may be collected and shared with content providers for whatever purpose. On the other hand, cybercriminals, hackers, and programmers with questionable intent may develop browser extensions for interior motives. Hence, the question is how to stay safe while installing Firefox browsers extensions to prevent vulnerability?
According to Mozilla, “extensions add new features to Firefox or modify existing functionality.” These extensions are of different types offering different experiences.
Here are how to stay safe while installing Firefox browsers extensions.
- Add-Ons Mozilla Org (AMO)
This platform is the hub containing the extensions for Firefox. It has the facilities to search, browse, and install Firefox browsers extensions. As part of efforts to ensure that the platform offers recent and trusted extensions; the only classic add-ons and web Extensions are listed on the platform.
Mozilla ensures to verify extensions that are submitted for listing on the AMO through an automated verification process. Only extensions that pass these verifications are listed.
As a result, the only extensions found on AMO have to a large extent, been verified and found safe for installation by users.
- Manual Verification
Since Mozilla has adopted an automatic verification of extensions and add-ons, it is possible for some problematic extensions to find their ways into AMO by playing on the potential loophole in the automatic verification algorithm. That is why you can check any extension manually by downloading the extension to your local system, extract the XPI file, and vet the code for possible threat to your data and experience.
- Check the Permissions
These extensions ask for your permission to access specific information on your browser or network, read the permission and verify if they correspond to the intended purpose of the extension. If the permission requested does not fall within the intended scope of the extension, do not install it.
- Read the Users Reviews
One quick way to know the safety of an extension is to check the general statistics such as the number of users, rating, and add-on history. Go for extensions that have several users, ratings, and good reviews or comments.
- Check for Developer’s Profile
Developers who have maintained extensions for a long time are more trustworthy. Follow these tips and increase your level of safety while installing Firefox browsers extensions.