Browser Extensions May Be Looking At Your Data

Have you ever noticed the message you see when you install a browser extension in Chrome, for example? For most browser extensions, a message appears stating that the extension can “Read and modify all of your information on the websites you visit.”

Google Chrome Header

Have you ever noticed the message you see when you install a browser extension in Chrome, for example? For most browser extensions, a message appears stating that the extension can “Read and modify all of your information on the websites you visit.” Refer to below image where we are looking at DuckDuckGo Privacy Essentials extension, an Internet privacy company, on their permissions:

Extension 1
Viewing a Chrome extension for permissions

What! Does not look secure to me as it reads all data on your device. You want to remove this browser extension and similar extensions for privacy issues.

To review your Chrome browser extensions:

  • Open Chrome, and click the 3-dot hamburger icon in upper-right hand corner.
  • Click on More Tools, then Extensions. They will be listed alphabetically.
  • Find a browser Extension that is enabled. Click on its Details button. Now, scroll down to the Permissions and Site Access sections to view how it is accessing your data.

You may be surprised as to the information the Extension is collecting on you. Let’s explore what this is about.

This is for modern day browsers like Edge, Chrome, Firefox, and Safari. Screenshots are from Chrome desktop version

Dilbert and Credits
Copyright Scott Adams, Inc./Distributed by Universal Uclick for UFS

This means that the browser extension has full access to all web pages you visit. It can see which web pages you are browsing, read their content and look at everything you write. It can even modify the web pages; for example by inserting additional ads. If the extension is malicious, it can collect all your private information; from web activity and emails you write to your passwords and financial information; and send it to a remote server on the Internet.

I am tired of receiving fake emails, texts, tweets, posts, and so on. Recently I have been receiving media from Thank You, USPS, Wells Fargo, Cox Communications, and so on.

This is primarily due to my accounts being compromised and sold. Another reason is some browser extensions is watching my activity.

If a browser extension is completely reliable and trustworthy, that’s fine. The browser extension may behave responsibly and not capture any data or interfere with your banking information.

We do not say that you have to uninstall every browser extension you have. Instead, you just realize the enormous access you give to the browser extensions you install and act on accordingly.

See below image for a popular Chrome extension, Todolist, permissions allowing access to its web site:

Extensions 2
Viewing a Chrome extension for permissions

But keep this in mind; if you do not trust the add-on, you may not want to run it in the first place. We recommend you click the Remove button to delete any extension you do not trust. See following image:

Extensions 3
Removing a Chrome extension

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I Would Like to Hear From You

Please feel free to leave a comment. I would love hearing from you. Do you have a computer or smart device tech question? I will do my best to answer your inquiry. Just send an email to contact@techsavvy.life. Please mention the device, app and version that you are using. To help us out, you can send screenshots of your data related to your question.

The author’s Vietnam eBook on the Battle for Tra Bong: Events and Aftermath

Author: Raymond

I am Raymond Oglesby, an Information Technology (IT) specialist with 30 years in the field. I have taught Microsoft Applications and troubleshot computers in 15 countries and many States. My career was focused on mainframes and desktops from application development to implementation. I have written hundreds of programs for various architectures. I decided to start a blog to share my knowledge and experiences with you. I plan on updating this blog at least twice a week about smart phone apps to Windows. Please feel free to leave a Comment or Tweet. I would love to hear from you. Do you have a computer tech question? I will do my best to answer your inquiry. Please mention the app and version that you are using. To help me out, you can send screenshots of your data related to your question.

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