Everyone knows how browser extensions can help you solve simple tasks.
Today, browser extensions are virtually indispensable for most active Internet users, and it is impossible to imagine how we could search for tons of helpful information and work with it, visit social networking sites, or download the necessary files promptly without turning to browser extensions.
And yet, having installed one of the extensions, we can easily find ourselves at risk of making our private information and even browser history accessible to third parties who can use it for fraudulent purposes.
In my article, I would like to consider the main dangers one can face while using browser extensions and propose the best possible ways to provide the ultimate safety of one’s daily Internet browsing routine.
Real Browser Extensions Benefits
A while ago, we all had to use numerous separate programs for correspondence with our friends and business partners or download music files and videos. Nowadays, most tasks are carried out directly on the browser.
Thanks to the browser extensions, we have the opportunity to optimize our work online, perform a broad range of specific tasks, and evade unnecessary advertisements. The best extensions are compatible with almost all the popular browsers. Moreover, you can use some extensions simultaneously, making your Internet surfing less time-consuming and more efficient.
Nevertheless, as is often the case, such convenience has the opposite side, representing a severe hidden danger for every extension user.
Potential Personal Threats of Extensions
The point is that browser extensions’ wide-ranging powers, and time-effective opportunities attract malicious attackers on the Internet. New ways of information theft are invented with the utmost regularity. Nobody can be completely safe, as most of the browser extensions have access — complete or partial — to all our online activities.
The main hazards that malicious extensions can withhold are as follows:
- Redirection of your search traffic to the sites distributing spam or illegal content
- Theft of your passwords to capture your social media pages or emails
- Spreading Viruses, Trojans, and malware downloads
- Capturing your credit or debit card information
Fortunately, there exist reliable ways to ensure the safety of your personal information and your browser history while working with browser extensions. Read on to find out!
Browser Extensions Safety Measures
As of now, it may seem that browsing the Internet inevitably leads to spilling your data to spammers and sneaky digital criminals. But, of course, the potential hazard can not be a sufficient reason for you to refuse to work with browser extensions ultimately when you need them so. The good news is that the risks of being hacked and tricked can be easily minimized if avoided.
Let us review the most effective ways to reduce the potential threats from browsers extensions significantly:
- Avoid installation and using too many extensions at once. They not only decrease your PC’s capacity in the process of Internet browsing but also can open the door for hoards of attackers. Try also to get rid of the unused extensions timely.
- Try installing browser extensions provided by the developers you trust. If they are downloadable from the official stores, the chance to bump into any malware is minimized, as most of them filter out the most malicious items.
- Pay attention to what accesses the extension requests. Note that if an already installed plugin requests a new extension to be installed, it must be the cause of your immediate concern because the extension can be sold to other owners or hacked. It is always better to refuse to install something suspicious-looking in the first place rather than deal with the problems later.
- When you need to use some browser extension only once, or you don’t plan to use it often, the idea to create a unique separate browser profile only for using this very extension seems legit.
- Reliable security extensions are a way to go too. Such extensions can instantly reveal and neutralize malicious codes contained inside the fraudulent browser extensions.
Undoubtedly, the only way to reach complete safety and security from attackers is not to use browser extensions. But this way, of course, won’t fit us.
Today, all the well-known browsers check all the files that a user downloads. Having analyzed them, their security systems conclude whether the files pose a threat or not. If yes, the malware file is immediately blocked, as a rule. Your attentiveness and responsible browsing strategy will help you mitigate the potential danger or avoid it.
Representing a part of the browser’s ecosystem, the extensions make numerous things on the web a lot easier. That is why it is worth using them despite the fears of being harmed by attackers or malware. However, to be safe, check the extensions’ developers, consider their policies, clear up the unused extensions, solidify the overall Internet security by installing special security software, and be attentive to small details.
By Anton Tkachev, CEO at browsec.com