Browser extensions enhance your online experience. They can help with translations, conversions, spellchecking, shopping and blocking popup ads. They allow you to customize your browsing experience and can even change the way websites look. Dark mode is one example of a popular extension.
But not all extensions are safe. You’re giving them access to lots of information, such as contact details. While some extensions store this data for convenience, others use it to track you or launch cyberattacks. We recently reported on malicious Chrome extensions downloaded 1.4 million times. Tap or click here for our report.
We have some bad news. 30 more extensions put your privacy at risk. Here’s what they do and what you can do about it.
Have you heard of malvertising?
Security researchers at Guardio Labs uncovered a campaign of malicious extensions with millions of installations worldwide. The “Dormant Colors” extensions offer browser customization, particularly changing the colors.
At least 30 variants of the extension were found available for free in the Chrome and Edge stores. They were installed more than a million times.
You may think you’re getting some excellent tools to change the look of your browser, but what you’re getting is malware.
When you run a search, the extensions hijack your results and send you to pages with affiliate advertising. The developers make money off your clicks and views this way.
Dormant Colors also adds affiliate links to the URL of pages you visit. The scammers get a commission if you buy something on that site.
Here’s a list of the malicious extensions:
- Action Colors.
- Background Colors.
- Power Colors.
- more styles.
- Nino Colors.
- Change Color.
- More Styles.
- Dood Colors.
- Super Colors.
- refrech color.
- Mix Colors.
- Mega Colors.
- WebPage Colors.
- Get colors.
- hex colors.
- what color.
- soft view.
- Single Color.
- border colors.
- colors scale.
- colors mode.
- style flex.
- Xer Colors.
RELATED: These 16 malware-infected apps have 20 million downloads
How to remove extensions from Google Chrome
The extensions have been removed from the official stores, but they may still be installed on your machine. Here’s how to find and remove the harmful extensions:
- Open Chrome and click the three vertical dots at the top right.
- Hover your cursor over More tools, then click Extensions.
- The next page will be a list of extensions you’ve downloaded. If you have more than the page shows, you can search for an extension by its name or extension ID in the search box at the top of the screen.
- Once you find an extension you want to delete, click Remove and Remove again.
Google Chrome’s Safety Check scans your account for compromised passwords and available updates. It also turns on Safe Browsing, a setting that identifies unsafe websites and notifies you of potential harm.
You can run a Safety Check at any time. Here’s how:
- Open Chrome, then tap the three vertical dots to the right of your profile icon.
- Select Settings > Privacy and security from the left panel.
- Under Safety Check, select Check now.
- Select the item and follow the on-screen instructions. Chrome will scan for updates, compromised passwords, harmful extensions and more.
How to remove extensions from Microsoft Edge
To remove any extension from Edge, choose one of the following methods:
- In Microsoft Edge, select and hold (or right-click) the icon of the extension you want to remove (to the right of your browser address bar). Select Remove from Microsoft Edge > Remove.
- To the right of your browser address bar, select Extensions and then More actions next to the extension you want to remove. Then select Remove from Microsoft Edge > Remove.
Online safety tips
- Pay attention when installing any extension — See what permission any extension requests. Chrome will show you this information and more before you install an extension.
- Update your devices — Keep your computer and mobile devices updated to the latest version. Operating system and application updates safeguard you against the latest threats, and it’s your first line of defense against malware.
- Update Chrome — Open your Chrome browser and tap the three vertical dots to the right of your profile icon. From the drop-down menu, hover over Help and select About Google Chrome. You’ll get an Update Google Chrome button if one is available. (NOTE: Microsoft Edge automatically updates when you restart your browser.)
- 2FA is your friend — Use two-factor authentication and password managers for better security. Tap or click here for details on 2FA.
- Don’t forget antivirus software – Always have a trusted antivirus program updated and running on all your devices. We recommend our sponsor, TotalAV. Get an annual plan with TotalAV for only $19 at ProtectWithKim.com. That’s over 85% off the regular price!
Top 14 security, speed and productivity tips for your PC
Security tip: The right way to clean out your smartphone apps