Open Forum

All Communities
 View Only

Security BUZZ - Browser Extension, friend or foe?

  • 1.  Security BUZZ - Browser Extension, friend or foe?

    Posted 09-15-2023 09:15

    Have you ever used browser extensions to enhance your online experience? Browser extensions are small software programs that add new features or functionality to your web browser, such as blocking ads, checking grammar, or translating text. They can be handy and convenient, but they could pose serious risks to your personal data and privacy.

    A recent study found that over half of organizations' browser extensions are high-risk and can potentially cause extensive damage. These extensions can access sensitive data from your online accounts, run malicious code on your browser, and send your personal information to external parties without your knowledge or consent.

    The study analyzed over 300,000 browser extensions and third-party applications used by enterprises. The researchers found that the most common extensions were productivity-related, such as tools that help you work faster and smarter. However, these extensions also had the highest level of risk, as they often requested broad permissions to access your data and perform actions on your behalf.

    One example of a malicious extension is a fake version of ChatGPT, a popular AI-powered chatbot that can generate realistic text and images. The fake extension was uploaded to the official Chrome web store and claimed to be the legitimate ChatGPT add-on. However, a Trojan horse hijacked the Facebook accounts of thousands of users who installed it, including many business accounts. Google quickly removed the extension from the store, but only after it caused a lot of damage.

    Some extensions can also become malicious over time, either by being sold to other parties or infected with malware through automatic updates.

    How can you protect yourself from these dangers?

    • Evaluate browser extensions before installing them by considering factors such as the scope of permissions requested by the extension
    • Check the developer's reputation and disclosure of security or compliance audits 
    • Keep your extensions updated and maintained regularly, and check user reviews and ratings (over time) as well as any history of security incidents
    • Be careful what you install on your browser, and ensure you trust the source and the extension's purpose. Remember, your data and privacy are at stake


    Genady Vishnevetsky
    Chief Info Security Officer
    Stewart Title Guaranty Company
    Houston TX
    ALTA Marketplace