Deceptive Browser Extensions Found Usurping Browsing History and Private Data

Popular browser extensions have found to be usurping your data. A Washington Post Investigation has unearthed several extensions that are collecting and selling your data. The data includes pages you visit and the photos you have seen.

The list of extensions includes HoverXoom, SpeakIt!, SuperZoom, Helper, FairShare Unlock and PanelMeasurement. All the extensions are available on Google Chrome and some of them are also available on Mozilla Firefox. It is learned that the extensions have a total of 4 million users.

All the browser extensions in question have revealed the same in terms of privacy and privacy policy. The terms mentioned that they may collect user data. However, PanelMeasurement and FairShare Unlock have revealed that they also collect browser activity data. Washington Post contacted Google and the company promptly removed all the extensions from Chrome Store.

In October last year, Google announced changes to its extensions. Furthermore, Google has also changed the review process for developers. Apparently, Mozilla is also working towards changing the Extension review procedure. It is for this reason Mozilla has a curated list of browser extension under “Recommended Extensions.” The company claims these extensions and vetted and carefully reviewed for safety and security.

The researchers found out that Nacho Analytics is selling browsing data collected from more than 4M users. The company also referred to the service as “God mode for the internet” and harvested data by embedding Nacho’s spyware. According to the researcher, they were able to log in to people’s health record and sensitive information from companies like Trend Micro, Tesla, Blue Origin, Merck, Pfizer, Amazon, FireEye and many more.

[via Washington Post]