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The Dark Side of Browser Extensions

Let’s talk a bit about the impact of browser extensions. Maintaining privacy when surfing the Internet is a fundamental factor. It is not always possible. Indeed, there are many reasons why our personal data can end up in the wrong hands. One of the most common is to decide to delete the browsing history. In this way, we avoid being spied on in case an intruder gains access to the browser. But is this enough? In this post, we will tell you something very important that we do not always take into account.

You can install extensions in browsers, such as Chrome, Firefox, or Edge. These extensions serve to better manage tabs, optimize downloads or can even be an antivirus. But of course, are they really safe? Could they spy on you? That’s just what we are going to explain. In fact, you should be very careful if you plan to install an extension. Especially if you do it outside the official app store, because you could put your security at risk.

Extensions can spy on you

Beyond whether you want to delete your browsing history, there is something fundamental that can put your privacy at risk: Chrome and Firefox extensions. There are add-ons that can be a real security problem. Hackers can sneak in modified or malicious extensions to collect information and spy on you.

Therefore, you may have some extension installed, and it is spying on you without you knowing it. Even if you want to take precautions, such as deleting your browsing history, if you have such an add-on you could be targeted by cyber criminals. In addition, they will be collecting information of all kinds. Through a fake extension, they will not only access your browsing history and everything you do online. In fact, they could also steal your credentials and passwords. For example, they could have access to your bank details when you make a payment, your username, and password when you log in to Facebook, etc. When we are going to install an extension, we are always warned that the add-ons could collect all the websites we visit. Even everything we type, so we should only install legitimate ones.

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In short, browser extensions can be a real problem for your security. Don’t just take into account deleting the history and other general measures. In fact, you should also take a good look at what you have installed in your browsers and prevent them from spying on you through extensions.

How can we minimize the risk of being spied on.

Our recommendation is that you only install the extensions that are really necessary. For example, some ad blocker, the PDF reader and little else. Also, before installing an extension, you should look at the reviews in the official Firefox and Chrome add-on stores. This way, you could see if it is an extension that is working or really just there to try to scam users. There are certainly a lot of controls for uploading an extension to the official stores. However, keep in mind that it is not always possible to control all extensions that are uploaded or updated.

Tips when using browser extensions

So, what do you need to do to use browser add-ons safely? Our advice is to always download extensions from reliable sources. You can go to the Chrome or Firefox add-on store, for example. It is essential to download extensions from a legitimate and secure site, to make sure with some certainty that it does not have any malware or will spy on us. Although we must also keep in mind that 100% security does not exist, this is a maxim in the world of computer security.

Avoid downloading software from third party sites. In fact, it is likely that they have been modified. Cybercriminals often take legitimate software and then make modifications in order to infect computers or mobile devices. In addition, you should check very carefully what you are installing. We urge you not to install the first extension that pops up in the search engine, you should do your research. You can check reviews and ratings from other users. This will help you to know if you are installing something safe or, on the contrary, could be a risk to your security. You should not install an add-on that has bad ratings, for example.

On the other hand, it is key to keep them updated. An extension may be secure today. However, maybe in a while it will have some vulnerability that a cybercriminal can exploit. Updating it may allow you to correct these flaws. In addition to avoid being spied on or having your privacy compromised in any way. Another factor to keep in mind is to protect your device properly. Avoid using your computer without antivirus. D as this can allow malware to enter through browser extensions. A good security program can be helpful to be more protected.

Some final recommendations.

As you can see, extensions can be used by hackers to spy on you through your browser. It is key that you take action. For example, you should only install add-ons that you see as reliable and that really contribute something positive. You can always protect your browser bookmarks to avoid intruders.

Another very important recommendation is not to use too many extensions in your web browser. In fact, every extension you install will slow down your browser a bit. Moreover, it will make it consume more resources (especially RAM memory). Install only the extensions you need, and no more. You may at some point install a new extension. Then, later, you realize that you don’t use it. Consequently, the best thing to do is to uninstall it so that it stops consuming resources for no reason.

Conclusions

Extensions for web browsers such as Chrome or Firefox are really useful. However, we must pay close attention to how many extensions we install and also where we install them from. It is essential that we only install the ones we really need. In addition to uninstalling the extensions that we are not using in order not to slow down the web browser too much. In this way we avoid that the consumption of resources such as RAM does not skyrocket.

Regarding where to download them, always do it from official browser stores. Surely these have had to go through different revisions to be available for download. Unlike third-party websites where the level of review is probably clearly lower.

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