Everyone knows how browser extensions can help you solve simple tasks.
Nowadays, browser extensions are essential for most active Internet users, and it is impossible to imagine how we can search and work with a lot of helpful information, visit social networking sites, or quickly download the necessary files without going back to browser extensions.
And yet, after installing an extension, we easily run the risk of making our personal information and even browser history accessible to third parties who may use it for fraudulent purposes.
In my article, I would like to consider the major dangers that can be encountered when using browser extensions and suggest the best possible ways to provide the ultimate security of one’s daily internet browsing routine.
Advantages of Real Browser Extensions
Not long ago, we all had to use a number of different programs to download correspondence or music files and videos with our friends and business partners. Nowadays, most of the work is done directly in the browser.
Thanks to browser extensions, we have the opportunity to optimize our work online, perform a wide range of specific tasks, and avoid unnecessary advertising. The best extensions are compatible with almost all popular browsers. Moreover, you can use some extensions at the same time, making your internet surfing less time consuming and more efficient.
Yet, as is often the case, such benefits have the opposite side, which represents a serious hidden danger for each extension user.
Potential personal threats to extensions
The key is the wide range of browser extensions, and time-honored opportunities to attract malicious attackers to the Internet. New ways of stealing information are invented with absolute regularity. No one can be completely secure, as most browser extensions have access – in whole or in part – to all our online activity.
The major hazards that malicious extensions can hold are:
- Redirect your search traffic to sites that distribute spam or illegal content
- Steal your password to capture your social media page or email
- Spreading viruses, trojans, and malware downloads
- Capturing your credit or debit card information
Fortunately, there are reliable ways to ensure the security of your personal information and your browser history when working with browser extensions. Read on to find out!
Browser extension security
By now, it may seem that browsing the Internet inevitably spreads your data to spammers and secret digital criminals. But, of course, the potential pitfalls may not be sufficient reason for you to refuse to work with browser extensions when you need to. The good news is that the risk of being hacked and cheated can be easily reduced.
Let’s take a look at the most effective ways to significantly reduce potential threats from browser extensions:
- Avoid installation and use multiple extensions at once. These not only reduce the power of your PC in the process of browsing the Internet but also open the door for attackers. Try to get rid of unused extensions in time.
- Try installing browser extensions provided by developers you trust If they can be downloaded from the official store, the chances of being hit by any malware are reduced, as most of them filter out the most harmful items.
- Pay attention to what extension requests access. Note that if an already installed plugin requests to install a new extension, it must be of immediate concern to you as the extension may be sold or hacked to other owners. It is always better to refuse to install something suspicious at first than to deal with the problem later.
- When you need to use some browser extensions only once, or you do not plan to use them often, the idea of creating a unique browser profile to use only this extension seems valid.
- Reliable security extensions are also a way to go. Such extensions can instantly expose and neutralize malicious code contained in fraudulent browser extensions.
Of course, the only way to achieve complete security and safety from attackers is to not use browser extensions. But this way, of course, will not fit us.
Today, all well-known browsers examine all user-downloaded files. By analyzing them, their security system has come to the conclusion that the files are a threat. If yes, malware files are blocked immediately, as a rule. Your attention and responsible browsing strategy will help you mitigate or avoid potential danger.
Representing a part of the browser ecosystem, extensions make numerous things on the web much easier. That’s why it’s important to use them despite the risk of being attacked by an attacker or malware. However, to stay safe, check the developers of extensions, consider their policies, clean up unused extensions, strengthen overall Internet security by installing special security software, and pay attention to the details.
By Anton Takachev, CEO of browsec.com