Stay Safe While Installing Chrome Browser Extensions

RapidVPN/ April 14, 2018/ Blog/

While Chrome browser extensions offer a great way to enjoy your browsing, they also have potential dangers that most people do not realize. The extensions are small tools that have access to almost all your online activities – they can capture passwords, cause advertisements to pop up on the web pages you visit, and track your web browsing. Meanwhile, most of these browser extensions get hijacked, hacked, and turned into malware.

How can you stay safe when installing Chrome browser extensions? What are the signs to look for in these extensions to determine the level of your vulnerability after installing them? Read the tips below to learn how to avoid getting into trouble.

  1. Read Description Carefully

It is important to read the description of any Chrome browser extension you want to install. Extensions that use tracking, click-tracking, and analytics of your browsing history usually highlight that fact in their descriptions. A clause indicating that usage of the extension “requires granting it permission to capture anonymized clickstream data,” is a clear indication that the extension will collect and share your data. Watch out for “to collect and share information about them” in the description of extensions you want to install.

  1. Direct Information

Another way to guard against installing dangerous Chrome browser extensions is to read the information shown on the extensions’ profile page on the Chrome Web Store. Most importantly, check the “total number of users” and an “aggregate rating” and “the number of users who rated it,” you might get a clue. Note that the statistics or ratings may be faked.

  1. Do Not Give Permissions to Extensions Anyhow

When a Chrome browser extension requests for permission beyond the function it is supposed to carry out, try and assess the situation critically. For instance, if a Facebook extension is requesting a permission “read and change all your data on the websites you visit,” it is suspicious.

  1. Check the Privacy Policy

If an extension links to a Privacy Policy page, check if its users are tracked by it or not, although malicious extensions may not reveal this. However, extensions that state that they use tools such as browser cookies, pixels, Adobe Flash cookies, beacons, and the anonymous unique identifier in their privacy policy should be avoided. Such tools can be used to collect, store, and share your data with third parties for market research, ads, and more.

Carry out the checks explained above on any Chrome Browser extension before installing them to stay safe, protect your information, and avoid installing malware, keyloggers or viruses.