These Google Chrome extensions invade privacy

Google Chrome extensions

These five Google Chrome extensions have been downloaded by millions of people. The problem is that every time you buy something online with one of these extensions, they invade privacy.

Recent research by McAfee, as reported by Bleeping Computer, found that five very popular Google Chrome extensions have put the privacy of 1.4 million Chrome users at risk. It’s clear that these have already been called bad. Worst of all is that the analysis was only done on a small sample, so there are still a lot of other extensions that haven’t been looked at.

The extensions include:

  • Party on Netflix
  • Party 2 on Netflix.
  • Price Tracker Extension for FlipShope
  • AutoBuy Sales in a Flash
Google Chrome extensions invade privacy

These Chrome extensions use millions of people’s data.

Even though the name of these extensions usually tells you what they do, that is not their only purpose. In fact, their job is to keep track of every time a user visits an online store. So, they can change the sales website’s cookies to make it look like the user got there through an affiliate link.

What’s the meaning? Well, when you buy something from an online store with an affiliate program, the company that made the extension gets a cut. Obviously, this is a completely wrong thing to do, since the user went to these sites on their own without any help.

The worst part is that the extension does work, even though it is a scam for users and businesses. This way, a lot of people don’t realize that it’s an app that can do more than what’s allowed, so they don’t think anything is wrong. 

Internet Cookies’ dark side

McAfee has put up a video on its YouTube channel that shows how URL and cookie changes happen in real time. They have done this by using the browser’s command console while trying to get into a store like BestBuy.

All five of the extensions seem to work pretty much the same. First, a web application is created. This application will be in charge of figuring out how the extension will work in the system. Then, an attacker loads a script that can do many things. This script sends the navigation information to a domain that the attackers control.

If the website being visited is the same as a store with which the extension’s author is affiliated, the server responds with the script and gives the user two options. The first is to put the referral link in an iframe on the site that was visited. The second tells the script to change the cookies or replace them with one from the same extension.

How to remove these computer extensions

Even though these extensions don’t put users’ data at risk, there is still a privacy risk. Not to mention that these are programs that take advantage of holes in Chrome by setting up a piece of code that has been inserted.

More from us: How to completely turn off the mobile WiFi. Privacy and security protection

So, if you want to get rid of them, it’s not hard to do so. Even if you think the functions these add-ons offer are useful, you should remove them from your computer as soon as possible. When Google is done making the internet without cookies, they might go back to being minimally secure, but it’s unlikely.

Tap the puzzle piece icon in the upper right corner of Chrome to do this. Look for extensions that have been said to be bad for your privacy. To get rid of them, click the three dots and then click “Uninstall from Chrome.” After that, the extension will be taken off of your browser, and things will go back to normal.

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