Similar to mobile apps, browser extensions are now widely used. People often download a lot but use very little. Just on Google Chrome, there are more than 176,000 browser extensions available. These add-ons provide users with additional features and customisation choices.
Although they improve the browsing experience, browser extensions are dangerous. which could pose serious threats to privacy and online security.
In this blog we are going to dissect the risks connected to browser extensions. We’ll clarify any possible risks they might present. Additionally we’ll offer guidance on protecting your internet presence.

The Benefits and Dangers of Extensions for Browsers

The ease of use and flexibility of browser extensions are often praised. Users can add such extensions to their web browsers. They add elements that are customisable and expand functionality.
There is a wide range of options, from productivity tools to password managers and ad blockers. However, one drawback is how simple it is for users to install these extensions, due to the inherent security risks that it also introduces.
We’ll examine the risks connected to browser extensions next. Finding a balance between the advantages and risks is crucial.

Important Dangers Presented by Browser Extensions

Privacy Intrusions

Numerous browser extensions ask for extensive permissions. They may jeopardise user privacy if misused. Among them are keystroke monitoring and browsing history access. Some extensions might go beyond what they were designed to do. This may result in the unapproved gathering of private data.
Users often grant permissions without thoroughly reviewing them. As a result, they unintentionally expose personal information to possible misuse.

Malicious Intent

Many extensions have been created with good intentions. However, some extensions contain harmful software. This code may take advantage of users for nefarious or financial gain. Unwanted ads may be injected by these rogue extensions. As well as monitor user behaviour or even spread malware.
These extensions frequently employ fraudulent strategies. They make it difficult for users to discern between software that is malicious and that is not.

Outdated or Abandoned Extensions

An enormous security risk exists with neglected or outdated extensions. Vulnerabilities may remain unfixed in outdated extensions. They can be used by hackers to get into a user’s browser. In addition to possibly jeopardising their whole system. In the absence of consistent updates and security patches, these extensions turn into a risk.

Phishing and Social Engineering

Some malicious extensions use phishing techniques, in addition to social engineering techniques. Users may be tricked by these attacks into disclosing private information.
This can involve making phoney login pages or replicating well-known websites. These strategies trick gullible users into unintentionally providing data, sensitive information, such as passwords, usernames, or other private information.

Browser Performance Impact

The speed of a browser can be greatly impacted by certain extensions. This may occur as a result of being overly feature-rich or badly coded. As a result, the user experience is poor. Moreover, it may cause freezing, crashes, or system slowdowns. Perceived benefits of an extension may draw users. However, they inadvertently forfeit performance.

Mitigating the Risks: Best Practices for Browser Extension Security

1. Stick to Official Marketplaces

Use only official browser marketplaces to download extensions, like those associated with the company that developed the browser (Google, Microsoft, etc.). There are strict security measures in place on these platforms. This lessens the possibility of running into malicious software.

2. Review Permissions Carefully

Examine the permissions that any extension requests carefully before installing it. If an extension requests access to strange data, proceed with caution, data that doesn’t seem to be connected to its main features, for example. Restrict permissions to only those that are necessary to fulfil the extension’s stated goal.

3. Keep Extensions Updated

Keep your browser’s extensions up to date. You will have the most recent security patches thanks to this. Updates are released by developers to fix security flaws and improve protection. Look for a substitute if updates are no longer being provided for an extension.

4. Limit the Number of Extensions

Installing multiple extensions for different functionalities is tempting. That said, the potential attack surface grows with each new extension. Install extensions only when they are actually required. Review them frequently, and remove any that are no longer needed.

5. Use Security Software

Make use of trustworthy anti-malware and antivirus software. By doing this, an additional line of defence against malicious extensions is added. These programmes are able to identify and eliminate risks that could evade browser security.

6. Educate Yourself

Keep yourself informed about the possible dangers of using browser extensions. Recognise the permissions you give. Recognise the various threats that malicious software can pose. Education is an effective strategy for reducing security threats.

7. Report Suspicious Extensions

Report any suspicious extensions you come across. Not only should you notify your IT team, but also the official marketplace for browser extensions. This proactive measure enables browser developers to respond quickly. By doing that, users are shielded from possible dangers.

8. Regularly Audit Your Extensions

Audit the installed extensions in your browser on a regular basis. Eliminate any that are risky to security or superfluous. Preserve a streamlined and safe online experience. This is a crucial component of online security

Contact Us for Help with Online Cybersecurity

One method that you or your staff members can compromise a network is through browser extensions. Internet safety has several levels. It offers defences against endpoint threats, phishing, and other issues.
We are able to evaluate your company’s cybersecurity defences and offer proactive solutions for enhanced security.
Call us to arrange a chat.