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What are Malicious Browser Extensions?

While some browser extensions are benign, others can be used to collect personal information, track online activity, or even inject malicious code into a user's device.

The problem of malicious browser extensions is widespread, with many extensions available that can help hackers target their victims. While some browser extensions are benign, others can be used to collect personal information, track online activity, or even inject malicious code into a user's device.

What are the different types of malware disguised as browser extensions?

There are a few different types of malware that can be disguised as browser extensions. Some of these include adware, which can track your online activity and display unwanted ads; spyware, which can collect your personal information without your knowledge; and Trojans, which can install other malicious software on your computer without your permission.

How can you identify malicious extensions?

If you're not sure whether an extension is malicious, you can use software like Shield For Chrome or Extension Defender to scan it and see if it's on their blacklist. If it is, you can delete it.

What are some tips to stay safe when using browser extensions?

-Pay attention when installing any extension- make sure you understand what permissions it is requesting.

-Update your devices regularly- this will help protect you against the latest threats.

How Widespread are Malicious Browser Extensions?

Research late last year analysed more than 48,000 extensions in the Chrome store. Their results established that more than 4,700 were "suspicious", and 130 were "malicious." Although it went unnamed, the researchers claimed that one of those 130 had more than 5.5 million users. At the time, Tyler Reguly, a security researcher and member of Tripwire's Vulnerability and Exposure Research Team said, "Google Chrome plugins are, in many ways, like Android applications. They require excessive permissions without giving the end user any real understanding of what they are doing. In both cases, Google Chrome and Android, the issue lies with Google."  Unfortunately, this problem being so widespread means that it is almost impossible to know if the extensions are safe or not.

What are the different types of malware disguised as browser extensions?

Most users will have added at least one browser extension such as LastPass for their passwords or an adblocker. For the most part, browser add-ons are helpful tools that enable us to work quicker and more efficiently online. But they also represent a lucrative opportunity for the bad guys. Many are even designed as tools while secretly harvesting information about every website people visit before selling the data on to the highest bidder. Researchers at anti-virus vendor Avast discovered that 28 third-party Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge extensions associated with some of the most popular tech platforms were infected with malware. As a result, around 3 million people using these extensions were impacted. In other research, AdGuard revealed that over 80 million users were tricked into downloading a malicious browser extension disguised as legit add-ons like adblockers.

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