ExtShield Notifies You If You’re Running an Adware Extension


From Lifehacker, a reminder about how to check your Chrome Add-ons for Adware or Malware.  For more information on how this happens, read Many Browser Extensions Have Become Adware or Malware. 

ExtShield Notifies You If You're Running an Adware ExtensionThis week, Ars Technica and How-To Geek released some pretty startling news: a lot of browser extensions are either injecting ads into the sites you… Read…

Chrome: ExtShield is a new extension that will let you know if you’re running one of the Chrome add-ons that’s been flagged as adware in disguise so you can remove it. Plus, as the community blacklists grow, the extension will update with new information to keep you safe.P

ExtShield (formerly Chrome Protector) is brand new, but it already knows about the most popular and commonly used extensions mentioned at How-To Geek’s updating list. Once installed (and yes, the add-on asks for a lot of permissions), it will notify you if you install something that’s tracking your activity, and you can click it at any time to check the extensions you have installed currently against its blacklist. The developer plans to add in new features like notifying you if an extension starts to behave oddly, or if there’s been a change in ownership (or TOS) of an extension you have installed in the Chrome Web Store.P

Of course, this is trust issue: How do you trust an add-on that’s telling you what other add-ons you can or can’t trust? Well, we took a look at its code and didn’t see anything fishy, but since Chrome extensions can be updated automatically without the user noticing, we’d understand if you’re skeptical of a new extension from an unknown developer that promises to keep you safe. Still, if keeping up with the blacklists is too much for you, or you want something to warn you that an add-on you’ve installed may be spying on you, ExtShield is a good start, if not a bit ironic.P

Update: The new version of the extension, now called ExtShield, is up and available in the Web Store at the link below! P

ExtShield | Chrome Web Store via Ghacks

Must Have AddOn for Firefox: Lightbeam


Install this into Mozilla Firefox if you are using it in the lab.  Read their note below.

As revelations about government surveillance continue to stun people around the world, I’m reminded of why I joined Mozilla three years ago as privacy and public policy lead.

In the midst of massive investments in tracking and mining of user data, here was a group of people fiercely committed to making individual control part of the Web. Today, Mozilla is still proudly non-profit, and we still believe privacy and security are fundamental principles of the Internet that cannot be ignored.

But we don’t just talk a good game, we build the tools that make a difference. And because you are a Mozilla supporter, I want you to be among the first to know about our latest free tool called Lightbeam for Firefox.

We built Lightbeam to shine a spotlight on online data tracking to help people understand the Web. After you download and install the Lightbeam add-on to Firefox, it creates a real-time visualization of the websites you visit and all the third parties active on those sites. As you browse from site to site you can watch the visualization grow. You can also share your Lightbeam data with Mozilla and better inform a global dialog on the prevalence of tracking.

We build tools like Lightbeam because we believe that everyone should understand and be in control of their user data and privacy. Privacy is what lets us trust that our laptops — and phones, apps and services — are truly ours and not working against us.

Like you, I believe that the Web and our privacy and security are worth fighting for. I joined Mozilla because I wanted to be a part of a community of people working to build the Web we need — and fighting to protect the Web we love. Join the fight! Together we can collectively pull back the curtains on the Web and shine a light on how we’re being tracked online.


The advanced Web Class is working with the Firefox AddOn Collusion and going through a recent article at Lifehacker.

Firefox: We talk a lot about privacy at Lifehacker, specifically about how your activities are tracked on the web and what you can do to stop it. If you’re still on the fence or not convinced that the issue is as widespread as it is, Collusion is a Firefox extension that will show you in real time which sites are tracking you, where you picked up their tracking cookies, and what they can see.

Collusion provides a visual, interactive map of tracking services you’ve interacted with and the sites you visited with the tracking cookies and scripts on them. Installing Collusion doesn’t require a restart, and once installed, the add-on opens a tab and begins to draw a map of how you’re being tracked as you browse the web. You’ll find most sites use some kind of tracking cookies (ours included) for ads, stats, and social media, but even after a few minutes of web browsing, the tracking map can grow alarmingly large. Hover over any point on the map to see who the tracking service is, and which sites you’ve visited are connected to it.

Dots in red are services that PrivacyChoice has confirmed track you across multiple sites. Dots in grey are unconfirmed, and some of them are harmless (like Disqus, for example, which tracks you across sites so you can comment on articles,) but that doesn’t mean they don’t keep tabs on you. If you want a real picture of who has access to what information, just look at the list of sites associated with each dot. If you already have some tools installed to prevent this kind of tracking and want to quality check, Collusion can help you see how well they’re working. If you’re not doing anything and the sheer number of services tracking your activities has you concerned, check out our guide to making the web more opt-in than it is opt-out for some suggestions.