Here’s how to know if a Google Chrome extension is safe to use

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Chrome extensions are amazing. They can help you write better, keep annoying ads at bayand save money while shoppingamong hundreds of other tasks. But like Android apps in the Play Store, extensions on the Chrome Web Store are not always what they seem. Malware is very much an issue and you certainly do not want to compromise your privacy and security by trying to download an adblocker.

Google seems to know that the quality and security of the many Chrome extensions are not very consistent. That’s why the company has rolled out a new system to identify verified extensions and creators. As you browse through extensions to download, you will begin to notice two new badges on reputable options, both of which indicate different ways in which that extension and / or its publisher have been deemed legitimate.

Selected badge

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The “Selected” mark appears as a blue ribbon icon on some 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.” The cool thing about this badge is that it’s a sign that the extension has been manually notified by team members at Chrome, as opposed to being assigned by an algorithm or other application.

These team members look to see if the extension has a solid store page with a clear representation of its features; that it works well for those who download it; that it uses the latest Chrome APIs; and most importantly in my opinion that it respects the privacy of users. While Google itself does not have best Reputation When it comes to users’ privacy, it’s good to see the company at least acknowledge that it’s worth making sure an extension does not openly steal your data.

Established publisher badge

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When Google assesses that a publisher has been shown to work within its developer program policies and has confirmed their identity with Google, the company will award them the Established Publisher badge. You will see this badge as a tick next to the publisher’s site. This badge offers another great way for users to trust the extension they are interested in installing as it means Google knows who they are. If the developer is trying something fun, their account is probably toast.

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

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

  • Read the description in its entirety so you know exactly what you are downloading and what it promises to do.
  • Review all permissions requested by the extension. If you do not think there is any reason why the extension should ask for access to your camera, it’s a big red flag.
  • Review the developer’s website, which is always listed on the store page of the extension. If you get a weird mood from the side, or if it does not seem to match the promise of the expansion you are considering, trust your gut feeling and let it be.
  • Do not forget to check the reviews. If customers have had shady experiences with an extension, they are likely to report it in the comments. On the back, if most of the comments are quite old and you can not find any of the latest, you may be able to stay away. Onemake sure the extensions you download are preserved up to date, which reduces the chance that they have been compromised.