Browser extension: How to protect yourself things you need to know
12:00 AM, August 20, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 07:31 PM, September 04, 2018

Tech Tips

Browser extension: Things you need to know to protect yourself

Some of us don't even know what a browser extension is?  Simply put, a browser extension is a sort of like a plug-in for your browser that adds certain functions and features to it. Extensions can modify the user interface or add some web service functionality to your browser. For example, extensions are used to block ads on Web pages, translate text from one language to another, or add pages to a third-party bookmark service such as Evernote or Pocket.

Almost all popular browsers support extensions — you can find them for Chrome, Safari, Opera, Internet Explorer, and Edge. But, as we've mentioned, extensions can be both convenient and dangerous.

We love the browser extensions and these extensions have made most of our lives simple and easy. However, these can be dangerous as it's a great way to sneak up on you and your activities that are done through the browser.  Most of us, consciously or unconsciously are using at least 6 or 7 browsers and most of us never go through the terms and condition. It might be safer not to use them at all, but that's inconvenient, so we need a way to use extensions more or less safely.

Here's how:

♦ Don't install too many extensions. Not only do they affect computer performance, but they are also a potential attack vector, so narrow their number to just a few of the most useful.

♦ Install extensions only from official web stores. There, they undergo at least some scrutiny, with security specialists filtering out those that are malicious from head to toe.

♦ Pay attention to the permissions that extensions require. If an extension already installed on your computer requests a new permission that should immediately raise flags; something is probably going on. That extension might've been hijacked or sold. And before installing any extension, it's always a good idea to look at the permissions it requires and think about whether they match the functionality of the app. If you can't find a logical explanation for the permissions, it's probably better not to install that extension.

♦ Using proper anti-virus software is another way to thwart most of these attacks.

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