November 15, 2019

Your Browser Extensions Are Stealing Your Data

“Web browsers have become the equivalent of safe deposit boxes, digital spaces where we stuff our personal information and expect it to be kept safe. While the websites that harbor sensitive data generally swear that this information is private and protected, a detailed report by cybersecurity researcher Sam Jadali, explained in depth by Dan Goodin at Ars Technica, found that eight browser extensions for Google Chrome and Firefox were harvesting personal data from millions of people, unbeknownst to both them and to the makers of those browsers.

The unauthorized data collected included sensitive information, ranging from medical records, credit card information, travel itineraries, online shopping history, file attachments, GPS locations and more. Jadali, who describes the data collection as “unprecedented,” explains that it reportedly affected over 4 million people and some Fortune 500 companies. The full list of the compromised extensions are available in Jadali’s full report, titled “Dataspii.”

“DataSpii is the catastrophic data leak that occurred when any one of eight browser extensions collects browsing activity data — including personally identifiable information (PII) and corporate information (CI) — from unwitting Chrome and Firefox users,” Jadali said in the report. “This data was then disseminated to members of an online service, where it may have been appropriated or exploited by any member.”

Unfortunately those who never downloaded any of the compromised extensions could still be at risk.”

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