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How to make sure a chrome extension is safe before installing it

Browser extensions can be handy. They make your everyday tasks a lot easier by only having to click once to access your notes, for example. But there are some things to keep in mind before you click on that install button.

They can also do things such as collect your info, use your system resources and even install adware. If you don’t want a browser extension watching your every move, it’s a good idea to see if the extension is trustworthy before you install it.

Investigate the Developer Behind the Extension

One way you can make sure that the extension you’re thinking about installing is safe is investigating the developer. You can do this by clicking on the developer’s name next to the words “offered by.” The link should take you to the developer’s site and give you more information.

If the link doesn’t take you anywhere or the site or takes you to a site that doesn’t tell you much about him/her, then you should think twice about installing the extension. A trustworthy extension will give a lot of information about the developer.

Make Sure to Read All of the Permissions

Those who create dangerous extensions know that you’re in a hurry and that there’s a good chance that you might not even read the permissions. Chrome extensions don’t work like Android where you can decide what permission to allow and which ones to deny, you accept all of them.

If an extension is asking for more permission than you think it should, it’s best not to install it. For example, why would a calculator extension need access to everything you do online?

Read the Entire Description

You’re probably saying to yourself that you do read the description, but only reading the first sentence doesn’t count. Make sure you read all of it, and the more information it gives you, the better.

If you see that the description doesn’t say much about what info it may track, it’s best to try and find another similar extension that tells you more. To see all the information, make sure you scroll down, or you could miss out on some important info.

Read What Others Have Commented About the Extension

Before you buy a device, you may come about forums to see what other users are saying about that device. Before you click the install button, you should also read what other users are commenting on the extension. You could save yourself a massive headache by understanding the issues others user experienced.

Look for reviews that tend to repeat the same idea. For example, do you see reviews that complain about the same thing? Do you see reviews that sound too good and possibly purchased? If an extension seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Conclusion

Doing research on the extensions you want to install may sound time-consuming and annoying, but keep in mind that it’s your info that’s at risk. By only installing trustworthy extensions, you’re staying safe online and preventing others from illegally using your bandwidth, for example. What extensions do you trust? Let us know in the comments.

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Cameron Summerson is ex-Editor-in-Chief of Review Geek and served as an Editorial Advisor for How-To Geek and LifeSavvy. He covered technology for a decade and wrote over 4,000 articles and hundreds of product reviews in that time. He’s been published in print magazines and quoted as a smartphone expert in the New York Times. Read more.

Much of Chrome’s power and flexibility comes from its huge ecosystem of extensions. The problem is that these extensions can also steal data, watch your every move, or worse. Here’s how to make sure an extension is safe before installing it.

Why Chrome Extensions Can be Dangerous

When you install a Chrome extension, you’re essentially entering into a trust-based relationship with the creator of that extension. You’re allowing the extension to live in your browser, potentially watching everything you do. We’re not suggesting that they all do this—but the ability is there.

There is a permission system in place to help prevent this, but a system like this is only as good as the people who are using it. In other words, if you’re not actually paying attention to the permissions you allow extensions to have, then they might as well not even exist.

To make things worse, even trustworthy extensions can become compromised, transforming them into malicious extensions that harvest your data—most likely without you even realizing what’s happening. In other situations, a developer can build a useful extension that generates no revenue, then turn around and sell it to another company that fills it with ads and other tracking tools to turn some profit.

In short, there are lots of ways browser extensions can be dangerous or can become dangerous. So not only do you have to watch out when you’re installing an extension, but you also have to continuously monitor them after installation.

What to Look for Before Installing an Extension

In order to stay safe when it comes to browser extensions, there are a few key things you need to pay attention to.

Check Out the Developer’s Website

The first thing to look at before installing a new extension is the developer. In short, you want to make sure it’s a legitimate extension. For example, if you’re installing an extension for Facebook that was published by some random guy, you may want to look a bit closer at what it’s doing.

Now, that’s not to say that every extension written by a single developer is illegitimate, just that you may need to take a closer look before automatically trusting it. There are plenty of legitimate, honest extensions that add useful features to other services—like Ink for Google, for example.

You can find the developer name directly under the name of the extension, generally prefaced by “Offered By.”

In many cases, you can find more information about the developer by clicking the name—if available, it will redirect to the dev’s website. Do some sleuthing, see what you find. If they don’t have a website or the name doesn’t link to anything, then you may have to dig around a little more. Good thing we have more stuff on this list.

Read the Description—All of It

Read the description—and not just part of it! Read through the entire description and look for things that may be questionable, like tracking info or data sharing. Not all extensions include these details, but some do. And that’s something you want to know.

You can find the description on the right side of the app window, directly beside the extension images. The above image shows an example of something you could miss if you don’t read the entire description.

Pay Attention to the Permissions

When you try to add an extension to Chrome, a pop up warns you about what permissions the extension needs. There isn’t a granular “pick and choose” permission granting system here, but rather an all or nothing system. You’ll get this menu after clicking the “Add to Chrome” button. You have to approve these permissions before you can install the extension.

I mean, that’s a lot.

Pay attention to what’s going on here—think about what you’re reading. If a photo editing extension needs access to everything you do online, I would question that. Common sense goes a long way here—if something doesn’t sound right, then it probably isn’t.

Check Out the Reviews

This is the low man on the totem poll because you can’t always trust user reviews. You can, however, look for common themes and questionable content.

For example, if there are several similarly-worded reviews, that should at least raise an eyebrow. There are a handful of reasons why this can happen, most of which are highly questionable (developers buying reviews, etc.).

Otherwise, keep an eye out for common themes—users complaining of oddities happening, speculating on their data being taken, basically anything that strikes you as odd—especially if multiple users are saying it.

Now, we’re not suggesting you read through every single review. That could take ages on some extensions! Instead, just a quick skim should do the trick.

Dig into the Source Code

So here’s the thing: this one isn’t for everyone. Or even most people! But if an extension is open source (many are, most aren’t), then you can dig through the code. If you know what to look for, then you probably already do this. But just in case, it’s still worth a mention.

You can oftentimes find the source code from the developer’s website, which we talked about early. If it’s available, that is.

Find out whether a Chrome extension is safe or not!

Almost every web browser based on Chromium provides us an option to install Extensions. In this article, we will talk about the Chrome extensions that enhance the features of the web browser.

Chrome extensions were basically web tools that adds new features to the web browser. For example, an ad-blocker extension will block ads & trackers, VPN extensions will hide your IP Address, and so on.

However, not every browser extension you find on the web is safe to download and use. Chrome extensions downloaded from unknown sources can also track your browsing activity, log the data you enter on sites, and more.

Make Sure a Browser Extension Is Safe Before Installing It

So, while installing extensions on Chrome, you should consider a few things.

Below, we have shared a few best tips that will help you figure out whether the Extension is safe or not. Let’s check out.

1. Check the Download Source

Before installing any extension, make sure to check the download source. By Download Source, we mean from where you are downloading the Extension. If you are downloading the Extension from the official web stores, you can proceed with the tips below.

If you ever came across an extension that’s removed from the Chrome Webstore, then there’s something wrong with the Extension. Chrome web store is the biggest apps store from where you can get web apps and extensions. So, make sure to double-check the download source before installing any extension

2. Look at the Developer’s Website

This is the second-best thing to look at before installing a new extension. First, you need to check out the developer’s website to find out whether the Extension is legitimate or not.

For example, if you are installing an extension for Twitter published by some random developer, there’s a reason to worry about it. So, make sure to check out the developer’s website before installing extensions.

3. Read the Whole Description

Chrome extensions that come from official websites don’t have any spelling mistakes in the description. So, make sure to read the entire description and look at things that may be questionable.

The Extension’s description section will also tell you about the tracking info or data sharing. If the description is questionable, it’s best to leave that Extension.

4. Focus on the Permissions

Whenever you install any extension, Chrome shows you a pop-up displaying the permissions that the Extension needs. We usually allow all permissions that the Extension requires. However, this is one of the common mistakes we make in everyday life.

You should pay attention to the permissions that the Extension asks for. For example, if a photo editing extension asks you to access your microphone, it’s suspicious. Permissions should match the nature of the Extension.

5. Look at the Reviews

The review section of the Chrome extension page tells a lot about the extensions. For example, if 60 out of 100 people have reviewed the Extension negatively, it’s best to leave that Extension.

You need to look for other factors as well, like users complaining about unnecessary permissions, bugs, and glitches, browser slowdown, browser crash, etc.

6. Scan with Internet security tools

There are tons of internet security tools available on the internet like Kaspersky internet security, Avast internet security, etc. Kaspersky Internet Security is the most effective one for detecting malicious codes in the browser extension.

Even if you are using the Kaspersky Internet Security, make sure to turn on the internet security option to check for malicious code in the browser extension. The security tool automatically detects malicious codes and blocks the installation.

7. Scan With VirusTotal Extension

Well, VirusTotal is a leading name in the security world. It’s usually known for its effective online scanner that scans links before the installation.

The leading security company also has a browser extension to help you avoid infections and other unwanted outcomes when you receive suspicious files or links. The Extension effectively scans for what’s inside the link, and it instantly shows the scan results.

So, you can use the VirusTotal Chrome extension to check whether the Extension has any malicious files or not. So, Virus Total Extension, also known as VTChromizer, is one of the best Extensions you can use to know whether the browser extension is safe to install.

These are the few best ways to check whether the Chrome extension is safe or not. I hope this article helped you! Please share it with your friends also. If you have any doubts related to this, let us know in the comment box below.

Browser extensions can be handy. They make your everyday tasks a lot easier by only having to click once to access your notes, for example. But there are some things to keep in mind before you click on that install button.

They can also do things such as collect your info, use your system resources and even install adware. If you don’t want a browser extension watching your every move, it’s a good idea to see if the extension is trustworthy before you install it.

Investigate the Developer Behind the Extension

One way you can make sure that the extension you’re thinking about installing is safe is investigating the developer. You can do this by clicking on the developer’s name next to the words “offered by.” The link should take you to the developer’s site and give you more information.

If the link doesn’t take you anywhere or the site or takes you to a site that doesn’t tell you much about him/her, then you should think twice about installing the extension. A trustworthy extension will give a lot of information about the developer.

Make Sure to Read All of the Permissions

Those who create dangerous extensions know that you’re in a hurry and that there’s a good chance that you might not even read the permissions. Chrome extensions don’t work like Android where you can decide what permission to allow and which ones to deny, you accept all of them.

If an extension is asking for more permission than you think it should, it’s best not to install it. For example, why would a calculator extension need access to everything you do online?

Read the Entire Description

You’re probably saying to yourself that you do read the description, but only reading the first sentence doesn’t count. Make sure you read all of it, and the more information it gives you, the better.

If you see that the description doesn’t say much about what info it may track, it’s best to try and find another similar extension that tells you more. To see all the information, make sure you scroll down, or you could miss out on some important info.

Read What Others Have Commented About the Extension

Before you buy a device, you may come about forums to see what other users are saying about that device. Before you click the install button, you should also read what other users are commenting on the extension. You could save yourself a massive headache by understanding the issues others user experienced.

Look for reviews that tend to repeat the same idea. For example, do you see reviews that complain about the same thing? Do you see reviews that sound too good and possibly purchased? If an extension seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Conclusion

Doing research on the extensions you want to install may sound time-consuming and annoying, but keep in mind that it’s your info that’s at risk. By only installing trustworthy extensions, you’re staying safe online and preventing others from illegally using your bandwidth, for example. What extensions do you trust? Let us know in the comments.

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You can’t trust any old Chrome extension, you know.

Chrome extensions are great . They can help you write better , keep pesky ads at bay , and save you money while you shop , among hundreds of other tasks. However, like Android apps on the Play Store, extensions on the Chrome Web Store aren’t always what they seem. Malware is very much a concern, and you certainly don’t want to compromise your privacy and security trying to download an adblocker.

Google seems to know the quality and security of the many Chrome extensions aren’t particularly consistent. That’s why the company has rolled out a new system for identifying verified extensions and creators . As you browse extensions to download, you’ll start to notice two new badges on reputable options, both of which denote different ways that particular extension and/or its publisher have been deemed legitimate.

Featured badge

The “Featured” badge appears as a blue ribbon icon on certain extensions. According to Google, the company awards this badge to extensions that “follow our technical best practices and meet a high standard of user experience and design.” What’s cool about this badge is it’s a sign the extension has been hand-reviewed by team members at Chrome, as opposed to being awarded by an algorithm or other program.

These team members look to see if the extension has a solid store page with a clear representation of its functions; that it’s working well for those who download it; that it’s utilizing the latest Chrome APIs; and, most importantly in my opinion, that it’s respecting user privacy. While Google itself doesn’t have the best reputation when it comes to user privacy, it’s good to see the company at least acknowledging that it’s worth ensuring an extension isn’t blatantly stealing your data.

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Established Publisher badge

When Google deems a publisher has shown to be working within its developer program policies and has verified their identity with Google, the company will award them with the Established Publisher badge. You’ll see this badge as a checkmark next to the publisher’s website. This badge offers another good way for users to trust the extension they’re interested in installing, since it means Google knows who they are. If the developer tries anything funny, their account is likely toast.

What else can you do to make sure a Chrome extension is safe?

Even with these two new badges in place, you should continue to employ best practices before downloading extensions to your browser:

  • Read the description in full so you know exactly what you’re downloading and what it’s promising to do.
  • Review all permissions the extension requests. If you don’t think there’s any reason the extension should be asking for access to your camera, that’s a big red flag.
  • Review at the developer’s website, which is always noted on the extension’s store page. If you get a weird vibe from the site, or if it doesn’t seem to match the promise of the extension you’re considering, trust your gut and leave it alone.
  • Don’t forget to check out the reviews. If customers have had shady experiences with an extension, they’ll likely report it in the comments. On the flip side, if most of the comments are pretty old and you can’t find any recent ones, you might want to stay away. En sure the extensions you download are being kept up to date, which decreases the chance that they have been compromised.

Let’s take a look at how to make sure your browser extension is secure before you install it as you have to try a lot of extensions in Chrome browser to check all the new features that these extensions offer you. But sometimes, this extension can leak user data and grab cookies and other details as well. So you must be aware of that and need to follow the guide below.

Nowadays, many popular web browsers provide an option for users to install and run extensions. This is in order to extend the functionality of web browsers and ultimately develop the users’ browsing experience. While these extensions can be very useful, there are some issues that cause web browsers to slow down, and these extensions cut them off. This usually happens when add-ons have not been checked for security. There are a few ways in which users can check the security of add-ons while installing them on their web browser. Here in this article, you will know about the methods to implement to ensure that browser extensions are safe before installation. If you are interested in learning about these methods, please go ahead and start reading the main section of this post.

  • How to make sure that browser extensions are safe before installing them
  • #1 Look at the developer’s website
  • #2 Read the full description
  • #3 Focus on permissions
  • #4 Have a look at the reviews
  • #5 Delve into the software source instructions
  • Conclusion

How to make sure that browser extensions are safe before installing them

Here are the things you need to consider before installing an extension because these are the methods I usually consider before downloading or installing I usually do when writing guides about adding different features in Chrome browser. So let’s take a look at the procedures you need as well. See below the things to know about the extension before you install it.

#1 Look at the developer’s website

Currently, this does not mean that every development process undertaken by an individual designer is a misconception, just that you may need to check the belief of course. There are a lot of honest, fair enhancements that are added by valuable features for different departments – like Ink for Google, for example. Often times, you can find out more data about the engineer by clicking on the name, you will be taken to the dev site. To do some spying, see what you find. In the event that the site does not exist or the name has nothing to do with anything, at this point you may need to dig a little further. It’s a good thing we have more stuff on this mission. You can also check the whois data of this site so you can see who registered this site and more details that will be relevant to track down the owner of that extension.

#2 Read the full description

Read the description completely and not just a part of it! Read the entire description and look for things that may be faulty, such as follow-up information or information sharing. Not all extensions integrate these points of interest, but some do. What’s more, this is something you need to know. You can discover the description on the right side of the application window, specifically next to the extension image.

#3 Focus on permissions

When you try to install an extension to Chrome, a popup warns you which matches your boost needs. There is no “accept and choose” framework in the download framework here, instead one that provides some information. You will get this menu after clicking on “Add to Chrome”. You need to prefer these permissions earlier as you can enter the extension.

#4 Have a look at the reviews

You generally cannot trust customer reviews. You can search for information that is concerned with ordinary and false material topics. Another thing, look for casual topics – clients who talk privately, value their information, anything that strikes you as odd – especially if many clients mention it.

#5 Delve into the software source instructions

This is not for everyone. Or on the other hand so many people! In any case, if the extension is open source, at that point you can hack the code. The moment you understand what you’re looking for, you’re supposed to be doing it now. Anyway, in case there are some unexpected issues, it is justified so far no matter what is given.

Conclusion

After reading this post, you will have to know the method by which you can check and make sure whether the browser extension is safe or not before installing. And this information will be really useful and you will never fall back from the browser due to the extensions. Complete information is provided by readability and you’ve probably got it all. We hope you liked the information in this post if so, please try to share it with others. Don’t forget to share your opinions and suggestions regarding this post by using the comments section below.

Samir Makwana is a freelance technology writer who aims to help people make the most of their technology. For over 15 years, he has written about consumer technology while working with MakeUseOf, GuidingTech, The Inquisitr, GSMArena, BGR, and others. After writing thousands of news articles and hundreds of reviews, he now enjoys writing tutorials, how-tos, guides, and explainers. Read more.

If you let your family or other people browse the web using Chrome on your PC, you might want to prevent them from installing extensions in Chrome. Here’s how to take advantage of a Chrome policy meant for system administrators to disable extension installation.

You can use either the Registry Editor or the Local Group Policy Editor. The Registry Editor is accessible on all Windows 10 editions. The Local Group Policy Editor is not available on the Home edition of Windows 10.

Note: Using the Registry Editor or Local Group Policy Editor to block people from installing Chrome extensions will make Google Chrome say it’s “Managed by your organization” on its Settings screen.

Home Users: Use the Registry Editor

If you have Windows 10 Home, you’ll have to edit the Windows Registry to make this change. You can also do it this way if you have Windows Pro or Enterprise but just feel more comfortable working in the Registry instead of the Group Policy Editor. (If you have Pro or Enterprise, though, we recommend using the easier Group Policy Editor as described below.)

Here’s our standard warning: The Registry Editor is a powerful tool, and misusing it can render your system unstable or even inoperable. This is a pretty simple hack, and you shouldn’t have any problems as long as you stick to the instructions. That being said, if you’ve never worked with it before, consider reading about how to use the Registry Editor before you get started. And definitely back up the Registry (and your computer!) before making changes.

To open the Registry Editor, hit Start, type “regedit” in the search box, and press Enter.

In the Register Editor window, drill down to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE > SOFTWARE > WOW6432Node > Policies if you’re using a 64-bit version of Windows.

If you’re using a 32-bit version of Windows, go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE > SOFTWARE > Policies instead.

In the left pane, right-click on the “Policies” folder. Select the “New” option, and then select the “Key” option. Name this new subkey “Google” without quotes.

Next, right-click on the newly created “Google” subkey. Select the “New” option, and then select the “Key” to add a new subkey. Name it “Chrome” without quotes.

Right-click the “Chrome” subkey and select New > Key once again. Name this key “ExtensionInstallBlocklist” without quotes.

Right-click on the “ExtensionInstallBlocklist” subkey, select “New,” choose the “String Value” option, and set “1” (without quotes) as its value name.

In the right-hand pane, double-click on the “1” value name to open its properties. In the box under the Value data option, type in an asterisk (*), and click the “OK” button.

Next, right-click the “Chrome” subkey again, and select New > Key. Name this key “BlockExternalExtensions” without quotes.

Right-click on the “BlockExternalExtensions” subkey, select “New,” choose the “String Value” option, and set “1” as its value name.

In the right-hand pane, double-click on the “1” value name to open its properties. In the box under the Value data option, type in an asterisk (*), and click the “OK” button.

By adding these two keys, you can ensure that no other user can install Chrome extensions from the Chrome Web Store or any other online source. The only downside is that you have to remember the path for these new subkeys.

Windows 10 Professional: Use Group Policy

If your PC runs the Windows 10 Professional or Enterprise edition, you can skip messing with the registry. Instead, you can use the Local Group Policy Editor to prevent others from adding Chrome extensions.

First, download the Chrome policy templates zip file from Google and unzip it on your PC.

To launch the Group Policy Editor, hit Start, type “gpedit.msc” into Windows Search, and press Enter.

In the Local Group Policy Editor window, in the left-hand pane, drill down to Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates.

Click the “Action” menu at the top, and select the “Add/Remove Templates” option.

From the new window that opens, click the “Add” button.

Navigate to the folder where you unpacked the Chrome policy templates and drill down to policy_templates > windows > adm.

Double-click on the “en-US” language folder, select the “chrome.adm” file, and click the “Open” button. You can choose a different language folder matching the system language of your PC.

When the Chrome template file appears under the Current Policy Templates list, click the “Close” button.

In the left-hand pane of the Local Group Policy Editor window, drill down to Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Classic Administrative Templates (ADM) > Google > Google Chrome > Extensions.

In the right-hand pane, double-click the “Configure extension installation blocklist” setting. When the setting window opens, select the “Enabled” option and click the “Show” button.

When the new Show Contents window opens, type an asterisk (*) in the empty box under the Value heading and click the “OK” button.

Click the “OK” button in the “Configure extension installation blocklist” window to close it.

Now, use a similar process to open the “Block external extensions for being installed” setting to prevent anyone from installing an external custom extension in Chrome. When the setting window opens, click the “Enabled” option, and then click the “OK” button.

After you make your change, no one can install any extensions from the Chrome Web Store or from any other location. You can launch Chrome and try installing an extension to test whether you’ve configured the policy properly.

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Cybercriminals are always one step ahead of you. They’re devious, especially when it comes to using your smartphones and laptops for their financial gain.

Unfortunately, they have a huge incentive in the billions of dollars they steal each year from people like your family and you. They steal your ID, install ransomware that shuts down your computer and they spy on you.

Cybercriminals out of necessity are clever, too. You know as a Komando.com reader that we’re always warning you about data breaches, malware attacks, ATM skimmers and a lot more.

Now, cybercriminals are using web browser extensions to secretly use your computer for their own financial gain. You probably use browser extensions like Evernote Web Clipper, Office Online and Amazon Assistant.

Google’s Chrome web browser extensions make your life a bit easier. They perform specific tasks, similar to smartphone apps.

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One problem with extensions is, once you install them, they just sit there. Most people don’t constantly monitor all the extensions they’ve added, so cybercriminals take advantage of that by tapping into them to steal your ID, use your computer strength to cryptomine and worse.

Don’t worry, though. We’ve got five straightforward steps to protect you from cybercriminals who are using Chrome extensions to steal from you – do NOT skip No. 3!

1. Investigate the developer

Let’s face it, you speed through life. We all do, especially when we’re online.

If you’re like most people, you’re too busy to stop and think, “Is this a safe web extension to download?” No, you’re busy at work, with your children and grandkids and with everyday life.

However, cybercriminals know that. They’re counting on you to install Chrome extensions that are easy for them to manipulate.

You can take a big step toward protecting yourself, though. Ask yourself, “Who developed this extension?”

First, there is usually the developer’s name underneath the extension. Click on that and see what you can find out about that person or company.

Second, visit their website. You can learn a lot about a company’s reputation and safety track record by looking through their website.

Is it a professional site with contact information, like phone numbers and email addresses? If not, proceed with caution.

2. Read descriptions and disclaimers

You also want to take the time to read about what the developer is disclosing about the Chrome extension. That’s important with reputable developers, too.

They’ll describe the extension and often disclose the type of information they’ll be collecting about you. These descriptions are the type of thing you skim through if you’re like most people.

But take a moment to read these descriptions and disclaimers, which you’ll often see to the right of the extension you’re about to install. Reputable companies will tell you a lot about the data they collect.

However, un-reputable companies may not even include any disclaimers. That’s a red flag.

3. Slow down and read permissions

There’s a theme to protecting yourself when it comes to Google Chrome‘s web extensions. Slow down and don’t just mindlessly install them.

Many extensions will ask your permission to collect information about you or from your digital device. That’s fine if you’re OK with the information they’re collecting.

But you cannot know what they’re collecting unless you take a minute to read about it. Don’t rush through and give an extension to collect information on you – take your time and fully understand what they’re up to.

4. Read the reviews

Chrome web extensions, like almost everything else online, have user reviews. You have to take each one with a grain of salt, of course.

Read through several reviews to spot trends. Are they overly positive, suggesting that the developer and his friends wrote them?

Or do you see reviews that seem to be genuine? If so, are they mostly positive, meaning people like you are using the extension and seeing a benefit in it?

5. Check the source code

If you’re skilled at using source code, you can check it for the extension you’re about to install. You do that by going to Chrome://Extensions >> make sure Developer Mode is turned on >> find ID >> go to Chrome://Version >> copy Profile Path and paste it into Folder >> Go >> double-click on the extension to see its code.

Google bans cryptomining extensions

Cybercriminals have a brand new way of taking advantage of you. This time it involves cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin.

The problem is, you may not even know they’re using your devices for their criminal pursuits. But you have Google on your side.

Manually Install a Chrome Extension in a Minute

Whether you’ve never manually installed a Chrome extension before, or Github’s layout feels like a foreign land to you, this guide will help you quickly download and install a Chrome extension from Github.com.

Before we get to the guide, we want to make a quick note about security risks:

Security Risks

Chrome extensions can have a lot of access to your data – including the ability to read and change all data on every page you visit. Normally you install extensions through Chrome’s Web Store, where they can be scanned for malicious behavior. But anyone can write and upload an extension to Github, and there are no checks to make sure the extension is safe to use or does what it says.

Be aware of this risk before installing any random extension you happen to find.

How to Install a Chrome Extension From Github:

  1. The first step is to download the extension from its repository page on Github. To give this guide context, we will download and install tls-stats by Alex Gaynor. This extension keeps a local history of the sites you visit most often over HTTP – allowing you to take a look back at the most common pages you browse insecurely.

Once you are on the repository page, look for the green “Clone or download” button on the right-hand side of the page.

  1. Click the “Clone or download” button and then click “Download ZIP.”
  1. Take the downloaded ZIP file and extract it. We need to give it a permanent home because Chrome will externally load the files (if they get moved/deleted then the extension will stop working).
  1. With the extension downloaded and extracted, we can now install it.In Chrome, navigate to chrome://extensions
  2. Installing the extension is extremely easy. All we need to do is drag-and-drop the folder we extracted onto Chrome’s Extensions page.If the extension is in the “.crx” format, Chrome will ask you to review and approve the permissions before installing.
  1. The extension is installed! We will now see it in the list of our extensions, and it’s icon (if it has one) will be in the Chrome menu. That’s it! Super painless

Now you can start using the extension. In our example, tls-stats will now start recording the domains you access over HTTP. As you browse over the next few days and weeks, click on its icon in the Chrome menu to see your worst HTTP-offenders.

You will be surprised by how many requests are made over HTTP, especially on ad-heavy sites which make lots of calls to other origins in the background. The number in the blue square tells you how many new HTTP requests have been recorded since you last clicked the icon.

Note that when you install an extension this way, Chrome will always ask you about disabling developer mode when you open the first new window. Just click “Cancel” to ignore the message and keep the extensions operating.

If you become concerned that the extension is malicious or not doing what is expected, you can click “Disable,” which will immediately turn off all extensions you installed manually through this method. You can visit chrome://extensions/ again to entirely delete the unwanted extensions and re-enable the ones you want to keep.

What extension did you install with this guide? Did you have any problems or questions? Leave a comment below and I am happy to help out.

Google leads you to believe that you can install Chrome extensions only from the Chrome Web Store. If you are willing to assume the risk, however, there’s still a way to install third-party extensions you find in the wild.

Matt Elliott, a technology writer for more than a decade, is a PC tester and Mac user based in New Hampshire.

Google has, over the years, increased its restrictions for installing third-party Chrome extensions to help protect Chrome users from malicious code. A few years ago, you could simply install an extension from a developer’s site without any hassle. Last year, you needed only to enable Developer mode before installing a CRX (Chrome extension) file. Now, according to Google, “to protect you while you browse, Chrome only lets you use extensions that have been published on the Chrome Web Store.”

If you are willing to assume the risk, there is a side door that Google left ajar for developers to test out their extensions, which you can use to install extensions that aren’t listed in the Chrome Web Store. And here’s the part where I say again that installing unverified extensions from unknown sources is risky and could expose your computer to malicious code. Proceed at your own risk.

Still with me? OK, here are the steps needed to install an extension from somewhere other than the Chrome Web Store.

1. Download the CRX file to your computer for the Chrome extension you want to install.

2. Go to chrome://extensions/ and check the box for Developer mode in the top right.

3. Use a CRX Extractor app — I used CRX Extractor — to unpack the CRX file and turn it into a ZIP file.

4. Locate the ZIP file on your computer and unzip it.

5. Go back to the chrome://extensions/ page and click the Load unpacked extension button and select the unzipped folder for your extension to install it.

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There are a few different reasons why your browser might be starting up or loading pages more slowly than usual – you have three million tabs open right now, don’t you? But browsers out of the box should work pretty well across machines. If you use a bunch of extensions, however, you’re changing the memory/CPU footprint of your browser and possibly how it interacts with webpages. This can often be a culprit in browser slowdowns, so it’s one of those things you should check if your browser has suddenly started moving with all the speed and grace of a slightly concussed sloth.

How can extensions slow down your browser?

Think of extensions as mini-programs or apps that are meant to run inside your browser. Every one you use is going to cost your memory/CPU a little more, potentially slowing down your whole computer (though some extensions can actually make your browser more memory-efficient). Most extensions are pretty lightweight and will merely sip power, but some can become real resource hogs depending on how they were developed and how they get along with your browser and other extensions.

The memory/CPU usage may cause your browser to start and run more slowly, but longer page-load times can also be due to how a plugin interacts with the pages you visit. A good basic example is an ad-blocker which has to check out a page, identify the ads, and remove them before displaying the page. Typically, this is a pretty fast process, but other extensions may possibly have more dramatic effects depending on your browser and the pages you visit.

How can you identify the culprits?

Browser extensions and browsers themselves change all the time, so it’s pretty hard to keep track of which extensions are using resources efficiently and which ones are eating up your RAM and asking for seconds. If there’s a good developer behind the extension, and it’s well-reviewed at the source, odds are it’s fine, but even then you might run into issues because of your specific setup.

First, check to make sureyou know what all of your extensions and toolbars are. Some of the worst culprits for browser lag are things that have been slipped in by shady programs, possibly while you were installing something else. If it looks sketchy, you can Google it to find out what it is, then delete it if you don’t need it. Even if this doesn’t clear up your problem, it’ll help keep you a bit more private and secure.

After the initial sweep, a good place to start is your browser’s “Incognito” mode, which will disable all your extensions (except in Firefox, where you may have to specify which extensions will and won’t be disabled in incognito mode). If you run into the same problems regardless of mode, it’s probably something else altogether. If the problem disappears, though, you’ll probably want to figure out if one of your extensions is dragging you down.

To do that, Chrome/Chromium and Firefox users can use the browser task manager to check if any extensions are currently drawing too much power. If you don’t see anything right away, keep the task manager open and check back whenever your browser slows down. This may reveal that a tab is actually the guilty party.

If the task manager gave you a lead, try disabling the extensions that were consuming the most resources and seeing if that helps. If the task manager didn’t show anything out of the ordinary (or you don’t have a browser with this feature), try disabling every extension and re-enabling them one by one until the problem resurfaces, at which point you’ll know what your problem is.

After removing the offending extension, your browser should work better, but if you’re still noticing problems, you may want to consider uninstalling and reinstalling the entire program, as there might be a problem that needs a reset to fix.

Find memory-hog extensions on Firefox

Firefox has a task manager in their browser, making it much easier to monitor the moving pieces.

1. Go to the hamburger menu on the top-right.

2. Click “More” near the bottom.

3. Go to the task manager.

4. Check the memory usage and energy impact of each item. If you don’t see anything out of the ordinary, try to reproduce your browser’s issue and see how things change.

If the task manager doesn’t give you anything useful, you’ll have to resort to either a one-by-one extension test or using the Firefox “refresh” option, which is similar to a reinstall (but easier).

Track down rogue Chrome processes

Chrome also has a handy task manager. You can access this with the keyboard shortcut Shift + Esc (also works for Opera), or follow the steps below.

1. Go to the three stacked dots on the top-right.

2. Mouse over “More tools.”

3. Click the “Task manager.”

4. Check for abnormal memory/CPU usage, ideally while reproducing your browser’s issue.

No luck? You guessed it: you’ll have to go down the line and test each extension one by one. Or, as a last resort, reinstall everything.

Safari/Edge

Unfortunately, Safari and Edge do not appear to come with an easy way to check the memory footprint of your extensions, so you’ll have to go straight into turning them off and on to see which one is causing you issues.

But that was my favorite extension!

Alas, sometimes we must come to terms with the temporary nature of our universe. Luckily, most popular extensions have other versions from other developers, so you can probably find something similar that may not come with the same drawbacks. Also, while you’re about clearing up this extension, you may as well delete any others you aren’t using. They might not be causing you noticeable trouble at the moment, but extensions, even well-developed ones, can be potential privacy/security holes, so it’s not a bad idea to prune out the dead weight every now and then.

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If you can’t get your Hikvision device to show you live video in the Google Chrome and always get the annoying message to download and install the plugin over and over again, this article is for you. Here I explain how to solve this problem.

The picture below shows the final result, it’s running on Chrome 😉

Just to make sure we are talking about the same problem. The message you see when trying to access your Hikvision IP camera, DVR or NVR is this:

Please click here to download and install the plug-in. Close the browser when installing the plug-in.

If that’s the message you see in your web browser even after installing the plugin several times, you basically have two options to solve the problem.

1. Use the Internet Explorer (instead of Google Chrome).

2. Install the I.E. Tab extension on your Google Chrome.

The first option usually works fine but there’s a small tweak you need to do as explained in my other article here in the blog. >.

The second option is discussed here in the article, so bear with me to understand what the problem is and how to solve it in the blink of an eye. 😉

Hikvision devices rely on the NPAPI feature

The reason the Hikvision devices can’t show the video on Google Chrome is that they rely on a feature called NPAPI developed by Netscape many years ago and the support for such a feature is no longer available on Chrome.

Yes, NPAPI support was discontinued by Google and Hikvision acknowledged that back in 2015 but still didn’t fix the problem and that’s the reason you need to use the old good friend Internet Explorer or a Google Chrome I.E. TAB.

The Google Chrome I.E. Tab extension

The I.E. Tab extension emulates the I.E. rendering engine which enables the use of Java, Silver Light, and Active X controls that work with the Hikvision devices.

You need to install the Chrome extension and the I.E. helptab.exe which interfaces the tab with the I.E. engine The process is pretty simple and only takes 2 minutes.

Installing the Google Chrome Tab Extension

Visit the Chrome Web Store to install the I.E. Tab extension. The process is pretty simple, you just need to click the “Add to Chrome” button.

See the link below to download and install the extension:

Click the “Add extension” button to install.

And keep reading to learn how to use it.

Using the Google Chrome I.E. Tab Extension for Hikvision devices (IP cameras, DVRs and NVRs)

After installing the Google Chrome I.E. Tab extension, you just need to click on the small icon on the top right side of Google Chrome, as shown below.

If you see a message asking for the I.E. helper installation, just go ahead and run the installation since this software is used to communicate with the I.E. engine.

A new tab opens with the I.E. icon and you can use it to input the IP address of your Hikvision device. Remember to use the “http” before the IP address.

==> If you see a message asking for the I.E. helper.exe installation, just go ahead and run the installation since this software is used to communicate with the I.E. engine.

You should now have your Hikvision device working as shown below.

Is the Google Chrome I.E. Tab Safe ?

According to the developer Blackfish Software, LLC, it’s absolutely safe as they take security very seriously. They declare having 2+ million satisfied users.

You can read more about the extension on the IE Tab official site.

Is the Google Chrome I.E. Tab Free ?

By “free” I mean, no cost. According to the Blackfish documentation, if you are using the Google IE Tab for commercial purposes, it’s necessary to have a license that costs $19 per user (by the time I wrote this article).

Troubleshooting

Just in case you didn’t install the IE helper.exe and don’t know how to find it, there’s a version for download available on the company website. Click the link below to download it.

If you still have some problem with the I.E. engine that doesn’t show the video from your camera, please read this article to fix the issue.

Conclusion

Now you can make your Hikvision IP camera, DVR or NVR work with the Google Chrome Browser and that’s is pretty cool, isn’t ?

Please leave your comments and questions below.

What Is Google Chrome Update Service Extension?

Google Chrome Update Service extension may get installed on your Chrome browser without your knowledge or agreement and don’t provide any way to delete it on Extensions page. That happens because the extension abuses Group Policy settings of your computer and makes itself “installed by administrator”. Group Policy is intended for admins of corporate networks and allows them to force-install or forbid installation of specific programs and change various settings on machines under their care. Google Chrome Update Service has probably got installed on your computer after you’ve installed some free software or run a file downloaded from a shady source. This step-by-step guide will help you to reset Group Policy and remove Google Chrome Update Service extension from your computer.

How to Remove Google Chrome Update Service Extension

The easiest method to stop Google Chrome Update Service ads is to run an anti-malware program capable of detecting adware in general and Google Chrome Update Service in particular. SpyHunter is a powerful anti-malware solution that protects you against malware, spyware, ransomware and other types of Internet threats. SpyHunter is available for Windows and macOS devices.

Other software that may be able to get rid of Google Chrome Update Service:
Norton (Windows, macOS, iOS, Android) The link may not work correctly if your country is currently under sanctions.
WiperSoft (Windows)

You can also try to remove Google Chrome Update Service by hand using the following instructions.

Reset Group Policy:

Before uninstalling Google Chrome Update Service you need to delete Group Policy files that mark it as “Installed by enterprise policy”.
Note: Do this only on your own home computer. If your computer at work is infected, contact IT personnel instead.

For Windows users:

  1. Open %WINDIR%\System32\GroupPolicy folder (just copy that path and paste into the address bar of Windows Explorer; otherwise you will have to show hidden items to find this folder). Delete the contents of the folder.
  2. Next open %WINDIR%\System32\GroupPolicyUsers and delete the contents.
  3. Restart the computer.

Remove Google Chrome Update Service Extension From Browsers:

Remove Google Chrome Update Service and any other suspicious extensions from browsers. If the problem persists, reset browser settings.

Remove Google Chrome Update Service Extension extension from Google Chrome:

  1. Click on three dots menu button .
  2. Select More toolsExtensions.
  3. To remove an extension, click on a trashcan to the right of it.
  4. Click Remove in the dialog box.

Note: If you cannot access the Extensions page, click on the top left corner of Chrome window and open Task Manager. End processes for any unfamiliar extensions that are running. Then go to the Extensions page and delete these extensions.
Alternatively, go to %LocalAppData%\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Extensions (just copy that path and paste into the address bar of Windows Explorer/File Explorer). Delete all folders within (that will remove all your installed extensions) or search the Internet for the folders’ names to figure out which extension compares to which folder and delete suspicious ones.

Reset Google Chrome Settings:

Note: This will disable your extensions and themes, clear cookies and site data, as well as change content settings, start page, new tab page and search engine to default.

  1. Open a new tab.
  2. Copy and paste into the address bar: chrome://settings/resetProfileSettings
  3. Press Enter.
  4. In the dialog box click Reset.

Remove Google Chrome Update Service Extension extension from Mozilla Firefox:

  1. Click on menu button and select Add-ons.
  2. Go to Extensions tab.
  3. To uninstall an add-on, click on Remove button next to it.
    Note: If the extension is impossible to delete, click on => =>Restart with Add-ons Disabled…. In the dialog boxes click Restart =>Start in Safe Mode. Restart Firefox in normal mode after you are finished.
Reset Mozilla Firefox Settings:

Note: Your add-ons, themes, added search engines and download history, among other things, will get deleted.

  1. Click on menu button .
  2. Click on help button and select Troubleshooting Information.
  3. Click Refresh Firefox… in the top-right corner.
  4. In the dialog box click Refresh Firefox.

Remove Google Chrome Update Service Extension add-on from Internet Explorer:

  1. Click Tools button in the top-right corner.
  2. Select Manage add-ons.
  3. In the drop-down menu under Show: select All add-ons.
  4. To delete an add-on, double-click it, in the new window click Remove.
Reset Internet Explorer Settings:

Note: This will remove most of your saved browser data, including extensions, passwords and the majority of browser settings.

  1. Click Tools button in the top-right corner.
  2. Select Internet options.
  3. Go to Advanced tab.
  4. Click Reset… button.
  5. Put checkmark in Delete personal settings checkbox.
  6. Click Reset.

Remove Google Chrome Update Service Extension extension from Opera:

  1. Press Ctrl +Shift + E keys to open extensions manager.
  2. To remove the extension, click on the x button next to it.
  3. Click OK when asked to confirm.
Reset Opera Settings:

Note: This will delete all saved data including bookmarks and passwords and return the browser to freshly installed state.

  1. Exit Opera browser.
  2. Open File Explorer.
  3. Go to C:\Users\username\AppData\Roaming\Opera\Opera, where username is the name of your Windows account.
  4. Find and delete Operapref.ini file.

Remove Google Chrome Update Service Extension From Programs and Features:

Go to Programs and Features, uninstall any suspicious programs, programs you don’t remember installing, or programs you installed just before Google Chrome Update Service appeared on your browser. When you are not sure if a program is safe, look for the answer on the Internet.