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Are your favorite browser extensions safe?

4 min read

Browser extensions or plug-ins are lightweight software applications that add new features and functionality to web browsers.

The most popular web browsers like Google Chrome, Firefox and Microsoft Edge all provide access to extensions including AdBlock, Google Translate, LastPass and Grammarly.

Security and privacy risks with browser extensions

Millions of users download extensions to add new features to their web browsers. However, these components increase the attack surface and offer hackers a new entry point into a user’s environment.

In fact, many of the most widely used extensions have vulnerabilities that pose a risk of possible compromise.

So a researcher discovered that most popular browser extensions for Chrome the API chrome.webRequest use that as critical risk is considered. It can be exploited to Intercept data or login information and access local files.

Likewise, the analysts from McAfee last year to five popular ones Chrome-Extensions that had been downloaded more than 1.4 million times and the Spying on users’ surfing activities.

So are browser extensions safe? The answer could be both yes and no.

Where is the danger?

While browser extensions often contain helpful tools, users need to be aware of the risks associated with them if they want to protect their data.

One of the most common problems is that attackers develop browser extensions containing malware. They use these to try to trick users into downloading the software and infecting their devices by offering these programs on online marketplaces or through malvertising.

The extensions can also be installed if a user’s device is already infected with malware.

However, perhaps the biggest risk with browser extensions is the fact that many of them contain software components and vulnerabilities that can be easily exploited.

So had Spin.AI For example, examined 300,000 browser extensions and found that each of them Intercept sensitive data from apps malicious JavaScript-Run programs and send protected data such as login information and banking details to third parties.

The increasing prevalence of these vulnerabilities means that more and more hackers are targeting web browsers to gain access to personal user data.

If an attacker manages to exploit these components, they can perform malicious actions, including:

  • monitor a user’s browsing history;
  • capture keystrokes;
  • take screenshots;
  • Install malicious updates.

Special risks for companies

Unsecured browser extensions also pose some serious risks for companies that don’t have visibility into what extensions are present in their environments.

As more organizations operate hybrid or distributed workplaces with Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies, it is difficult to identify which extensions employees are using and which exploitable components are part of the attack surface.

To make matters worse, companies are also at the mercy of users’ individual cybersecurity practices.

This means that if a user downloads a lot of extensions with vulnerable components, does not update them, or downloads content from illegal websites, they can trigger a malware infection that affects the entire organization.

The best defense against these threats is to educate employees about choosing reliable extensions and the measures they can take to make browsing safer.

Use browser extensions safely

Luckily, there are a number of ways to reduce the risks you face when downloading browser extensions.

Firstly, you should make sure that you only use browser extensions from approved websites and marketplaces like the Chrome Web Store download.

You can find reviews of many providers. If these are present, it is advisable to read them to get an idea of ​​the quality of the product. You can also check the developer’s website to see who made the component.

You should also make sure what permissions the component has, as this determines how much of your data it can access.

Another best practice is to regularly update your computer with the latest security patches available. This minimizes the general risk of security vulnerabilities.

Finally, you can use an antivirus to check your web browser extensions for malware. This will help you determine whether your device has been compromised and respond as quickly as possible.

As a rule of thumb, if you don’t use an extension, it’s best to delete it to reduce possible points of attack on your device.


While browser extensions do pose certain risks, many of them can be avoided by simply doing your due diligence and being careful when choosing which programs you download.

Make sure you only use tools developed by trusted providers. Delete extensions that are not absolutely necessary this goes a long way to protecting your data.

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All content in this article is for informational purposes only and in no way serves as investment advice. Investing in cryptocurrencies, commodities and stocks is very risky and can lead to capital losses.