Google has been hard at work looking to improve Chrome security in particular the extensions that run in the browser. Chrome, like Firefox allow users to install “extensions” or “add-ons”. There are however some issues with some extensions illegally extracting surfing behavioural data and more from users.
Google plans to introduce two security and privacy updates to help keep users safe on the web by analzying each and every extension that is uploaded to the Google Web Store. Google aims to remove any extensions that they recognise as being malicious. This might be in response to Mozilla Firefox 8 to include add-on blocking feature which I posted last year. Google recommends the following steps on adding extensions from other websites:
Note: Google recommends you only add extensions from other websites that you trust. In Chrome, you can follow these steps to add the extension:
- Download the extension file from the website and save it to your computer
- Click the wrench icon on the browser toolbar
- Select Tools > Extensions
- Locate the extension file on your computer and drag the file onto the Extensions page
- Review the list of permissions in the dialog that appears. If you would like to proceed, click Install.
The second security and privacy update surrounds the forthcoming Chrome version 25, which will no longer allow extensions to install without the user’s knowledge. Chrome 25 will remove the ‘auto-install’ feature. If you run Chrome on a Windows system you may already know that Chrome is designed to allow unseen installs to allow users to opt-in to adding a useful extension to Chrome as a part of the installation of another application. This has meant some 3rd-party developers have silently installed extensions into Chrome without proper acknowledgement from users.
Chrome version 25 will now present the user with two options (similar to what Windows did with Vista User Account Control), prior to installing an extension – ‘Enable extension’ or ‘Remove from Chrome’. Version 25 is still in the developer channel at Google.
Safe surfing folks!