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Browser extentions gathering and selling data.

Discussion in 'Random Nonsense' started by Daniel~, Aug 29, 2019.

  1. Daniel~

    Daniel~ Chief BBS Administrator Staff Member

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    Chrome, Firefox and others are allowing browser extensions that collect and sell our data.
    I got this off the news so I have no real details. Except that Firfox has dumped the offenders now that others have caught them in the act.
  2. booman

    booman Grand High Exalted Mystic Emperor of Linux Gaming Staff Member

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    Yup, I'm not surprised. I've been very suspicious of Extensions in both Chrome and Firefox.
    Since they are 3rd party developed, we have no idea what is it doing. The only 3rd Party extension I use is AdBlock Plus. I'm sure its doing something with my browsing history, but I don't know if its tracking my information used in Gmail or logging into other sites?

    Another suspicious browser feature is Notifications. You would think notifications are for the Chrome related information, but 3rd party developers can create their own notifications. So when you go to any website and it prompts if you want notifications you are possibly enabling an unsecure feature in your browser.

    If you click "yes" those notifications can be whatever the developer wants them to be. It may or may not be related to the actual website that prompted it.

    So clever and frustrating at the same time. Its hard to trust 3rd party applications, but in the Linux world, everything is 3rd party.
  3. ThunderRd

    ThunderRd Irreverent Query Chairman Staff Member

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    Chromium FTW
  4. Kaitain

    Kaitain Active Member

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    Chromium uses the same extensions engine as Chrome, and so has the same vulnerability.

    If you want to know what they're doing, just look in them.

    Chrome extensions are a collection of javascript, css, json and html files - i.e. web pages. Now, you can do a lot with javascript, and it can be quite a potent language, but you can examine both what it does, what data it's gathering and where it's sending it. Also, javascript is not compiled - its functionality is all contained within text files, so you can read it. (I'm just flipping through the source for adblock plus in an idle moment, to prove a point).

    EDIT: ~/.config/google-chrome/Default/Extensions/ or ~/.config/chromium/Default/Extensions/
  5. ThunderRd

    ThunderRd Irreverent Query Chairman Staff Member

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    I thought Chromium is open-source. Am I wrong?
  6. Kaitain

    Kaitain Active Member

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    You're not wrong, however, it being open source doesn't help here.

    Chromium is the open source project that underlies Google Chrome. For each Chromium release, Google then adds its proprietary bits to make a corresponding Chrome release. Other Chromium-based projects (e.g. Brave, Falkon and recent Opera) do the same.

    Chromium therefore uses the same API for browser extensions, and it's these extensions that have been nicking data. However, even this isn't the whole story: referring to my post #4, Chromium's extensions are all plain text files. You could, if you so wished, examine them as they're also effectively "open source". However, none of us do, and thus bad actors have been able to get us to install privacy-invading extensions that have been hidden in plain sight.
  7. Daniel~

    Daniel~ Chief BBS Administrator Staff Member

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    K. you seem to know a whole big bunch of this code"stuff"
    Does your work require this knowledge or or you stuck in your early nerd phase?

    Either way I'm grateful.":O}
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2019
  8. Daniel~

    Daniel~ Chief BBS Administrator Staff Member

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    I just knew if I waited long enough (6 years!) you make a mistake! Now your mine!!!!

    Sorry to many Law and Order episodes.
  9. ThunderRd

    ThunderRd Irreverent Query Chairman Staff Member

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    Well, since you're wrong about me being wrong, what does that mean?


    [PS, one more thing: I've known you 13 years; are you saying I made a mistake 7 years ago?] :)
  10. Daniel~

    Daniel~ Chief BBS Administrator Staff Member

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    Maybe that I have to offer you a plea deal?
    I'll let you know when I stop drinking,
    Dude it's been a long hard wait! LOL

    And no damn it you didn't I just got tired of waiting and pretended to myself that you did...How could you take this away from me! LOL
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2019
  11. ThunderRd

    ThunderRd Irreverent Query Chairman Staff Member

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    OK, Mr McCoy :)
  12. Kaitain

    Kaitain Active Member

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    I have school-age children. I'm somewhat horrified by how little the schools are teaching them, so I'm trying to fill in the gaps as best as I can.

    If that means I still have to write the occasional "Hello, world!", so be it.

    :(

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