• Your IP: 3.239.129.91 (VA, United States)
  • Your ISP: Amazon.com
  • Your Status: Unprotected
  • Get Protected

September 8, 2020

Privacy Tip of the Week: Be Wary of Browser Extensions

Posted by

Browser extensions are small bits of software that internet users can install on their web browser. These tools customize how a person uses the internet, by modifying the functions and behaviours of browsers. For example, some extensions improve spell check, others act as password lockers, and more. Although many browser extensions are helpful to users, some may end up being harmful to your privacy and digital safety. Here’s why you should be wary of browser extensions and how to protect yourself:

  • What’s up with extensions?
  • How do I stay safe?

What’s Up With Extensions?

When you think of digital threats, the first things that come to mind are probably topics like hackers, viruses, and the like. A simple browser extension probably doesn’t even make the list. However, extensions have the potential to expose users in a very big way. Earlier in 2020, 71 browser extensions in the Chrome Web Store were caught uploading the private data of millions of users to the private servers of a group who used that data maliciously. A further 430 extensions were discovered with almost identical source code. 

Although Google removed all offending extensions from their web store, other similar cases have occurred in the past and may happen again. As fast as security loopholes are patched, malicious organizations find another to exploit. It’s for this reason all internet users should be wary of browser extensions.

How Do I Stay Safe?

When it comes to browser extensions, there are fortunately several ways of protecting yourself against potentially dangerous ones.

  • Check the Ratings: If you come across an extension with tons of installs but only a handful of reviews or ratings, consider it a red flag. Don’t install it.
  • Don’t Install Unnecessary Extensions: Some browser extensions are designed just for fun and silly uses. However, the more unneeded extensions you install, the greater your chances of accidentally installing a malicious one. Stick with only installing the ones you actually need.
  • Uninstall Old Ones: Every six months or so, you should take a look at your installed extensions. If there are ones you don’t need or use anymore, just uninstall it. 
  • Join the “Bug Bounty” Program: If you have a little bit of technical know-how, Google now offers a Developer Data Protection Reward Program. Through the program, anyone who uncovers extensions that violate Google’s terms of service may earn a cash reward for reporting it.

Digital privacy comes in many different forms. For an anonymous and encrypted browsing experience, consider using HotBot VPN, available for download on the Play Store today!

Posted by

More Blog Posts

Secure Messaging Header

April 24, 2022

What to Look For in Secure Message Apps

Two hundred years ago, we sent messages by written letter. Then we moved to the telegraph, followed soon after by the telephone. When we invented the internet, communication was revolutionized once more. We were able to send messages instantly around the world in the form of email, and texting came in short order. Now, the […] Read more
Keep personal photos private

April 14, 2022

Privacy Tip of the Week: Keep Personal Photos Private

Thirty years ago, the idea of always having a camera in our pockets was unthinkable. But today, we’re living in the age of the selfie. There are more than 2.7 billion smartphone users worldwide, or one out of every three people. For every square mile of habitable land on earth, there’s approximately 110 smartphones in […] Read more
Privacy Tip of the Week: Using Multiple Web Browsers to Protect Privacy

March 29, 2022

Privacy Tip of the Week: Using Multiple Web Browsers to Protect Privacy

Web browsers are your portal to the internet. They allow you to access and search the world of online information, stay connected with people halfway around the globe, work from anywhere, and more. Most people use one or two browsers for everything they do online, especially because the devices we buy come with browsers pre-installed. […] Read more

Grab the limited deal now!

Our best price ever! Get HotBot VPN for 30% off today. Our app can be used on up to 6 devices at a time, doesn't limit speeds, and increases security and freedom when using the internet.

{{ localCurrencyFn }}
1 Year Plan
{{ plans[0].currency }}

{{ trialPriceNumeric(0) }}

/mo

Save 30%

{{ plans[0].oldPrice }} {{ plans[0].formatPrice }}

Billed every year.

6 Month Plan
{{ plans[1].currency }}

{{ trialPriceNumeric(1) }}

/mo

Save 20%

{{ plans[1].oldPrice }} {{ plans[1].formatPrice }}

Billed every six months.

1 Month Plan
{{ plans[2].currency }}

{{ trialPriceNumeric(2) }}

/mo

{{ plans[2].monthPrice }}

Billed every month.

Get the HotBot VPN Mobile App.

Download our apps for iOS and Android