Google Chrome’s new tab page may support Google Photos for custom backgrounds

Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox users may have had their entire online history siphoned and stored by third-party developers.

Google chrome plugin could be secretly tracking what users do online

That’s according to a prominent security researcher who found a popular plugin for the Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox was recording everything users did online.

The software, which is designed to allow users to customise the appearance of how web pages appear inside the web browsers, has been hijacked by spyware.

The extension, which has more than 1.8 million users worldwide, may have been recording the browsing history of everyone who uses it.

Worse still, this browsing data could be linked to details that make users identifiable in the real world, making them vulnerable to hackers and blackmailers.

The finding was made by Robert Theaton, a software engineer from San Francisco, who discovered the software, dubbed Stylish, had been recording browser history since January 2017, when it was bought by new owners SimilarWeb.

Writing on his blog, Theaton said: “It only takes one tracking request containing one session cookie to permanently associate a user account with a Stylish tracking identifier.

“This means that Stylish and SimilarWeb still have all the data they need to connect a real-world identity to a browsing history, should they or a hacker choose to.”

Stylish sends complete browsing activity back to its servers, together with a unique identifier, he claims.

That includes actual Google search results from your browser window.

This allows its new owner, SimilarWeb, to connect an individual with all of their online activity.

Those who have created a Stylish account on userstyles.org will have a unique identifier that can easily be linked to a login cookie and text files intended to help users access a website faster and more efficiently.

This means that not only does SimilarWeb own a copy of any user’s complete browsing histories, they also own enough other data to theoretically tie these histories to email addresses and real-world identities.

According to a statement from SimilarWeb back in 2017, when the company took over and updated its privacy policy, tracking was added to improve the browser extension, according to reports in Alphr.

“As far as tracking is concerned, anonymous information like which styles get installed or which sites visited get collected,” ghacks.net reported at the time.

“This information powers some of the extension’s functionality such as the ability to reveal styles to users when they visit sites in the browser.”

How can you protect your information online?

1. Make your authentication process two-pronged whenever possible. You should choose this option on websites that offer it because when an identity-specific action is required on top of entering your password and username, it becomes significantly harder for fraudsters to access your information.

2. Secure your phone. Avoiding public Wifi and installing a screen lock are simple steps that can hinder hackers. Some fraudsters have begun to immediately discount secure phones altogether. Installing anti-malware can also be beneficial.

3. Subscribe to alerts. A number of institutions that provide financial services, credit card issuers included, offer customers the chance to be notified when they detect suspicious activity. Turn those notifications on to stay informed about credit card activity linked to your account.

4. Be careful when issuing transactions online. Again, some institutions offer notifications to help with this, which will alert you when your card is used online. It might also be helpful to institute limits on amounts that can be spent with your card online.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Hello ,

    I saw your tweets and thought I will check your website. Have to say it looks really nice!
    I’m also interested in this topic + have recently started my journey as young entrepreneur.

    I’m also looking for the ways on how to promote my website. I have tried AdSense and Facebok Ads, however it is getting very expensive. Was thinking about starting using analytics. Do you recommend it?
    Can you recommend something what works best for you?

    Would appreciate, if you can have a quick look at my website and give me an advice what I should improve: http://janzac.com/
    (Recently I have added a new page about Rockwall Investments and the way how normal people can make money with this company.)

    I have subscribed to your newsletter. 🙂

    Hope to hear from you soon.

    P.S.
    Maybe I will add link to your website on my website and you will add link to my website on your website? It will improve SEO of our websites, right? What do you think?

    Regards
    Jan Zac

    • use Instagram because, Instagram is crushing it now try their ads but make sure it’s a king of catchy triller video about 10 minutes or so

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here