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How You Might Get Hacked By a Chrome Extension

Chrome extensions are useful tools that improve your browsing experience. However, they may contain viruses that could compromise your computer’s security. This can have serious consequences. Consider all of the sensitive information stored in your browser. You are responsible for passwords, social media accounts, and credit card credentials.

Even a seemingly innocent-looking Chrome theme could contain malware. We’ve seen it happen! Chrome’s security is not as strong as you might think. It has very weak regulation. You need to be aware of security risks that can arise from installing extensions. Let’s talk about how to tell if you have been hacked by an extension and what you can do to prevent it from happening again.

Be on the lookout for warning signs

Are you having trouble with your browser? It’s not something you should ignore. The extension that was installed recently could be the culprit. These behaviors could indicate that Google Chrome has been compromised.

*The default search engine may be different.

Most people find it almost effortless to search for answers on Google. You open Chrome and type your query. Then wait for the results to load.

When you search for something, pay attention to the URL of your browser. Is it redirecting you to strange websites? This is still a concern, even if it redirects you to Google eventually. A browser extension could have hijacked your browser to try to redirect you to another search engine.

This is the point: If Chrome takes you to any other than Google (and it hasn’t been set to do so), then you may suspect that you’ve had your computer hacked.

*You are liking odd posts on your social media accounts.

You might notice something odd in your YouTube or Facebook history the next time you log into your account. You might have subscribed to multiple channels or liked spam posts.

You have to be aware that anyone accessing your account via social media is not authorized.

*You keep seeing strange ads.

Are you starting to find the ads you see a little too inappropriate? Despite not having visited any suspicious websites, you still see ads that seem to be risky and malicious. This could be a sign that your ads have been hijacked by an extension.

These signs could indicate that your Chrome browser has been compromised by an extension.

What can you do if your computer is hacked?

Your browser is acting differently than usual. Now you need to figure out how to regain control and fix the problem.

*Scan for security vulnerabilities

You can enter your email address to see if it has been compromised in data breaches on this website. You can even find out the source of the data breach. This is an effective way to identify potential risks.

You can take it further by scheduling a Dark Web or External Security Scan. This scan will determine if your information is accessible on the Dark Web, or if your computer has unsecured access points.

These scans and data breach checks are a great way to protect your computer from viruses.

*Change all passwords.

We all know how frustrating it can be to have your password changed. You can expect to be wrong for several weeks as you try to break the habit. However, it is possible to improve your security by adding extra security features (such as capitalization and special characters) to your password.

The better your password, the longer it is. Ensure you have the best protection possible by asking security questions that only your brain can answer.

*Remove the extension

This should be your priority. It is important to find the extension that is causing the problem immediately and then delete it. Sometimes it is obvious, like when you have already noticed strange changes in your browser since you installed an extension the previous day. What if you get 10 extensions in a single day and can’t find what caused it?

To determine the root cause of the problem, use a process called elimination. Delete each extension until you find the culprit. After you have identified the malicious extension, you will be able to reinstall those extensions that you found and not the problem. To identify the virus, you can also use a malware scanner such as this one.

You’ll be left wondering, “How can I prevent dangerous extensions from happening in the future?”

How to protect your browser against hacked Chrome Extensions

The solution isn’t to download extensions. They add useful functionality to your browser. You need to be more cautious about the extensions you download.

There are tools available that will help you distinguish malware-ridden extensions from safe ones.

*View the source code for the extension.

This step is for people who have some JavaScript knowledge, but it can also be helpful for beginners.

You can view the source code for other extensions by installing this extension.

You might spot any oddities in the extension’s code if you carefully read it. Are there multiple scripts running? Are there any installation files? Do you find any unusual phrases?

If you don’t have JavaScript knowledge, it’s difficult to identify suspicious extensions by looking at the source code. This handy tool is for tech-savvy readers.

*Be cautious about what permissions are granted.

You will need to permit the extension to access your data every time you download it. You may be asked to permit it to access certain functions in your browser. You should be careful about what extension you allow to access your browser.

Make sure these permissions are compatible with the purpose of the extension. An extension that changes the Chrome home screen should not have access to any data from websites you visit.

It is best to delete the request if you are uncomfortable giving permissions for the extension.

*Install Password Checkup

You may be wondering if you should install an extension to block hacked extensions. Although it may sound strange, Google offers a Password Checkup tool. It will compare your login credentials to any password or username that was leaked during a data breach. It will recommend that you change your password if it finds one. You don’t want a password that hackers can guess easily!

It is quite surprising to see how many hacked extensions you can find on the Google Chrome Web Store. This is Google we’re talking about. It doesn’t appear that the company will soon implement additional verification for extensions. This puts the burden on the users to find risky downloads.

Many of us work from home and are more dependent on technology. The Chrome Web Store offers a variety of useful tools that will enhance your browsing experience, and save you time on repetitive tasks. But, just because an extension is available for download does not mean that it is safe.

Many people don’t know how to avoid downloading random files from the Internet. Extensions in Chrome Web Store can also be dangerous. This guide will help you to stay safe from these viruses.

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Evangeline Christina is a Cyber Security Enthusiast, Security Blogger, Technical Editor, Certified Ethical Hacker, Author at Cyberspecial.net. Previously, he worked as a security news reporter in a reputed news agency.