5 “Shadow” Chrome Extensions You Need To Remove Immediately

Extensions aka Browser Extensions are a way to add more features to your favorite browser. However, installing a bad extension on Chrome can cause more harm than help. If you mistakenly install malicious extensions, your computer will be occupied with system resources, you will have unauthorized data collection, install adware, redirect your search to spam websites or similar. …

If you do not have experience, you are very easy to install malicious Chrome extensions by mistake because they cannot be distinguished by the naked eye. Here are some bad Chrome extensions that you should uninstall as soon as possible, along with tips to avoid future installs.

Hola

hola

Hola is an extremely popular extension that accesses blocked Web sites. However, unlike a proper VPN, Hola acts as a peer-to-peer proxy network. This means that people using Hola actually “borrow” other users’ connections.

Even worse, Hola was used as a giant botnet. In exchange for free service, Hola uses some of your idle bandwidth to power other users’ connections. In the past, Hola sold this bandwidth through the then-linked Luminati (now Bright Data) service. Before the company released stricter guidelines, malicious individuals took advantage of the system to launch DDoS attacks on major websites.

While Hola can provide a useful service, I recommend against installing it in your browser. Also, if other users access your connection, they can access the data on your computer.

Instead, use one of the VPN services that I have recommended.

The New Publishers

In mid-2021, a Chrome extension called The New NX appeared and began to receive a lot of negative reviews. The feature description of this add-on is very vague. It says it “takes users to relative content when a site no longer exists. Allow users to view to find relevant sites when their normal site is down.” This lack of clarity is a sign that you shouldn’t install an extension – never install an extension if you don’t know what it does.

the new nx

The screenshots are also not clear. And if you click Website to access the extension feature, but the content is almost empty with only email subscription lists, links back to the Chrome Web Store page, and social buttons that do nothing.

All the reviews for the extension also say that it is a scam Extension. This is by far the best Chrome extension that you should stay away from and uninstall if needed.

Hover Zoom

Hover Zoom is a Chrome Extension that is quite useful with the feature of dragging the mouse to enlarge the image. However, it was purchased by a malicious company that turned the extension into spyware by tracking and selling your browsing data.

Although Hover Zoom is no longer on the Chrome Store, I’m listing it here due to its popularity. You should check to make sure that you do not have this software installed. If that’s the case, delete it and try Imagus instead, it’s a safe alternative. Note that Hover Zoom+ is an open source successor to the original and is safe to use.

Antivirus Utilities

Browser extensions from antivirus manufacturers exist to make money for those companies. Most antivirus software monitors your web traffic for safety, so you don’t need a dedicated browser extension.

Some extensions even have some suspicious behavior such as collecting your browsing information and changing your default homepage or search engine. Using one of these extensions doesn’t make you any safer, so you should just get rid of them. Today’s browsers all have these security features built-in.

Extensions look strange

Currently, many dangerous extensions on Chrome stores have been removed by Google. However, new ones are always popping up, most of these with questionable names, like EasyToolOnline Promos or LoveTestPro AdOffs. Chances are that these utilities have been “promoted” when you install software on Windows. These junk utilities are often hidden to turn on advertising pages to increase revenue for Website owners.

How to Identify Dangerous Chrome Extensions

To recognize or detect dangerous Chrome extensions requires experience. Some of the highly downloaded extensions are often sold to malicious companies, which they then leverage to make money by selling your data or opening junk Web sites.

Before you install any extensions, check the Online Store reviews, especially recent reviews. If you see the majority of negative reviews complaining about ads or other shady behavior, you should not use that extension.

To review your installed extensions, click the . button Three-dot menu in the top right of Chrome and select More Tools > Extensions (or visit the link chrome://extensions/). Turn off add-ons you don’t use by turning off their sliders. Or delete it if you don’t use it.

Choose Detail to see more browser extension permissions. In section Visit website , you can choose which websites your browser can access your data from. You should also click Open the extension website – if it looks unprofessional or empty, that is a sign of a rogue extension.

see chrome extension details

After reading this article, you quickly check the Extensions on your browser, if you find it suspicious, turn it off or delete it immediately to ensure data safety.

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