Malware and tracking apps are a nuisance and a risk to your digital security. Google is testing out a Safety Check feature to alert users when a malicious extension has been detected on their Chrome browser.
Google removes apps from the Chrome Store if they violate Google policies or are detected as malware. However, this doesn’t remove the extensions from your browser, where it could still run in the background collecting data and compromising the security of your device.
Such apps can track your search history, steal your emails, gain access to your social media accounts, and swipe any credit card information you have saved. The 2022 Federal Bureau of Investigation Internet Crime Report said cyber crime losses affected 5.7 million people and totaled $10.2 billion.
The Safety Check feature notifies users if that has been detected as malware and deleted from the Chrome Web Store, and recommends you take it off your browser too The feature will be available on Chrome 117, according to Bleeding Computer. It went live in beta form on August 16.
You can try out the trial version of Safety Check now if you use Chrome 116. Go to the Chrome Flags page, and enable ‘Extensions Module in Safety Check’. You’ll need to restart your computer to activate the feature.
Select ‘Privacy and Security’ under settings to review questionable extensions. Google will provide a list of extensions that have been deemed unsafe and are already removed from the Chrome Store but remain on your browser. Google will also prompt you to remove apps that have been unpublished by the developer. To delete them, select the trash can icon to uninstall apps.
That there remain a lot of malicious Chrome browser extensions is a reminder to change your passwords regularly. Using a different password for everything offers further protection if one of your accounts is compromised.