It’s that time of year again! Many of us are rushing about, trying to balance our busy work schedules while checking items off of our shopping lists. For the sake of convenience, you (and your employees) feel tempted to engage in online shopping from work computers. And that’s when you start receiving offers of savings, rebates, and special deals from certain programs that ask you to install an extension on your browser bar. Should you take the risk in order to save a little money?

While many shopping-related browser extensions are legitimate and designed to enhance the online shopping experience, it’s crucial to be aware that some extensions can pose security risks. Here are some potential issues associated with shopping-related browser extensions:

  • Malware and Spyware; Some malicious extensions may contain malware or spyware. These can compromise the security of your computer or device, steal sensitive information, and track your online activities.
  • Data Collection; Certain browser extensions may collect and share your browsing data, including your shopping habits, without your knowledge or consent. This can raise privacy concerns and may result in targeted advertising.
  • Phishing; Malicious extensions might engage in phishing activities, attempting to trick users into providing sensitive information such as login credentials or credit card details.
  • Ad Injection; Some extensions inject unwanted ads into websites you visit, which can be not only annoying but also potentially lead to malicious websites.

To minimize the risks associated with shopping-related browser extensions, consider the following tips:

Only install extensions on your personal equipment. Resist the urge to install extensions on your work computers, and utilize them on personal devices only.

Download from Trusted Sources. Only install extensions from reputable sources such as the official Chrome Web Store, Firefox Add-ons, or other official extension stores for your browser.

Read Reviews. Before installing an extension, read reviews from other users to check for any reported issues or concerns.

Check Permissions. Review the permissions requested by the extension. If an extension is asking for more permissions than necessary for its functionality, it might be a red flag.

Regularly Update Extensions. Keep your extensions updated to ensure you have the latest security patches. Developers often release updates to address vulnerabilities.

Limit the Number of Extensions. Only install the extensions you truly need. Having too many extensions increases the attack surface and can make it harder to monitor their behavior.

Use Security Software. Consider using reputable antivirus or anti-malware software that can help detect and block malicious activities.

Remember that while shopping-related extensions can be convenient, it’s essential to prioritize security and privacy. If you suspect that an extension is causing issues or compromising your security, uninstall it immediately and run a security scan on your device. And as always, call us at 888-RING-MY-TECH to discuss network security for your business.