How to check if a Google Chrome extension is safe

How to check if a Google Chrome extension is safe

Google Chrome, in addition to being an excellent browser, has among its peculiarities the possibility of installing extensions that add missing features and allow for example to surf the internet while protecting privacy, to write better and much more.

Il The downside is that extensions for Google Chrome are not always what they seem: especially in the past, it was very easy to come across extensions that promised one feature but actually had another. A striking example are AdBlockers who, instead of doing their job, simply replaced advertising with that of other providers. In general, the abuse of extensions as a vehicle to spread malicious code and collect user data illegitimately has long been a problem.

Google, well aware of the situation, has been working on some features of the Chrome Web Store to make users' lives easier. The new Google tools analyze the reputation of the developer and the extension, clearly indicating them on the page that the user visits to download the extension. In this article we will see how these systems work and how they help us avoid malicious extensions, we will also explain how to eliminate a problematic extension, in the unfortunate event that you have one installed.

"Developer reputation" badge

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The developer who obtained this badge is recognized as trustworthy, his presence is a sign of quality, so you can trust what you are to install.

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How to further protect yourself

The tools made available by Google can offer a solid foundation , but there are also other little tricks to identify a safe extension from one that isn't. Here are some tips:

Always read the descriptions: paying attention to this aspect helps you understand what you are about to download, even a poorly edited translation could indicate a reduced quality. Check the requests for permissions: an extension must access only what is strictly necessary for its operation, an unmotivated request for access, for example to the microphone or the webcam, is a danger signal. Check the developer's site: if it seems unclear, with summary translations or little inherent to the extension you are trying to download, there is likely to be a nasty surprise behind it. Check the reviews: If a user has found himself wrong he may have written a review indicating the problems he has encountered, providing useful information. Even the lack of recent reviews, or their total absence, may indicate an extension to be avoided.

How to remove a problematic extension

If you have noticed problems too late and now there is one or more unsafe extensions in your browser, you need to fix it as soon as possible. Fortunately, the operation is easy: when you have one or more extensions installed, Google Chrome shows a Puzzle-shaped icon at the top right, clicking on it you can access the installed extensions menu.

The Chrome extensions menu by clicking on the menu (three vertical dots) next to the name of the extension you can remove it by selecting the "Remove from Chrome" item.

The extensions management menu, here's how to remove them If the extension you just removed had an incorrect behavior, it will also be possible to report an abuse to Google. Providing this feedback is optional but we advise you to do so, it will help prevent others from running into the same problem.

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