Know browser extension safety

Extensions are small software programs modules that allow for you to customize a web browser. These programs typically provide you with an added function within your web browser. Extensions are most commonly downloaded through online app stores maintained by the makers of your browser.

Browser extensions tend to have access to to sensitive data: which can include browsing history. Extensions may also have the ability to alter some browser settings, add user interface items, or replace website content. It is with this in mind that it is important to know the steps you can take to assure that you are remaining secure in your use of browser extensions. This article is designed to help you become aware of these steps.

Use official web stores and trusted developers

First and foremost be aware of who develops the extensions you install, and only install those produced by trusted developers. Further, it is wise to only download extension from official sources. Web stores maintained by companies like Google, Microsoft, Mozilla, and Apple, are more likely to be secure as these companies are proactive with security measures in an effort to protect their users.

Minimize extensions

Don't install too many extensions. Not only will this minimize the potential threats to your system, but this will also help optimize your system's performance.

Delete unwarranted extensions

When you have stopped using an extension, or its function is no longer needed, it is wise to uninstall it from your system. Doing so will minimize threats, as many extensions are able to push unwanted content through updates. Additionally, having fewer programs that consume less resources will help optimize its performance.

Manage extensions

The following links will direct you on managing your browser's extensions:

Pay attention to permissions

Be aware of the permissions required for extensions. If an extension requires a permission that does not make sense for its function, show discretion during installation. It may be wise to chose another extension that offers more transparent and logical needs to perform the desired function. Finally, be skeptical if an extension already installed on your computer requests a new permission as this is atypical and may signify malicious intent of the extension in use.