Daily News Roundup: Google Chrome Extensions Tracking Your Browsing History (Again)



A security researcher revealed that some Google Chrome extensions, like HoverZoom, collected your browsing history, and in some cases, even embedded URLs. Then the extensions published them for a charge through a company called Nacho Analytics, potentially revealing personal data.

Sam Jadali, a security researcher and creator of Internet hosting service Host Duplex, discovered something unexpected. A company called Nacho Analytics had published a set of hyperlinks that listed one of his client domain names. Those URLs let to personal forum conversations, and just the senders and receivers should have those links along with the essential credentials to access the talks.

When he investigated how Nacho Analytics obtained the URL he discovered the culprit was the very extensions users were installing on their browsers. Extensions like HoverZoom, that expands pictures, requires access to the full webpage you navigate to accomplish its function. But buried in its privacy policy is the announcement that it may and will collect your browsing data and discuss it with 3rd parties for promotion purposes. Jadali discovered several other extensions with similar accessibility and privacy policies.

Many (if not most) folks don’t examine privacy policies whatsoever, so that they never know about the degree to which a browser expansion can monitor them. While mere browsing history might not seem like a major privacy breach at first blush, some URLs result in personal and personal information without needing to input a password.

When Jadali investigated further, he found Nacho Analytics printed links to business and home surveillance movies from Nest along with other security camera providers; tax returns and company records hosted on OneDrive, Intuit, and other online services; Facebook messenger attachments along with personal Facebook photographs; and other personal data.

For its own part, Nacho Analytics worries that collecting and publishing this data isn’t prohibited, which is accurate. The company also downplayed the seriousness of the issue. The CEO of the Business, Mike Roberts, told Ars Technica

Those pages are readily available. It’s just that you didn’t know how to discover them. This is just something which you’re now able to see that you weren’can see before. But we’re not creating a loophole. There’s no backdoor or anything. We’re just showing links which you didn’t know about before and maybe weren’t indexed, but they really do exist…

Google is investigating and already removed some breaking extensions. But this extensive record will illustrate that you should look at extensions closely when installing them. And that includes what data you’re providing accessibility to and what the privacy policies say the expansion may do with this data. [Ars Technica]

In Other News:

Vienna’s Driverless Bus parked after hitting somebody: In Vienna, Austria a self-driving bus trial is on hold after the bus collided with a pedestrian. The bus was traveling 7.5 miles per hour, and just trimmed the individual, so everybody is fine. But Navya, the startup supporting the bus, needs to investigate thoroughly for the protection of everybody. Self-driving is tough. [The Verge]
Southwest Airlines gave free Nintendo Switches to passengers: A Nintendo Rep was surprise for passengers on a Southwest Airlines flight to San Diego. Free Switches (using Maro Maker 2) for everybody. Bonus points if they cried, “And you also receive a Switch, and you receive a Switch…” [Digital Trends]
Plants vs Zombies 3 is in evolution: Six years after Plants . Zombies 2 fell, a brand new sequel is in development. Even better, you can try an early pre-alpha now on Android. But places are limited so jump right now in the event that you want to play. [Engadget]
Google Stadia Controller won’t encourage Bluetooth cans to begin: Anyone hoping to game quietly on Google’s Stadia service might have to use wired cans. Manager of Andrey Doronichev, Product for Stadia, clarified in an AMA that the controller wouldn’wont support Bluetooth audio daily one. A upgrade down the street will add the attribute. Until then, it has a headset jack. [9to5Google]

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