Browser extensions are convenient and useful, but they are dangerously close to violating your privacy as well
Google Chrome is used by millions of people for its friendly user experience and the vast variety of extensions that third-party developers have built for it.
Chrome extensions make web browsing easier. If you use Chrome for work, then there are plenty of extensions that can make your business workflows faster and efficient. However, using Chrome extensions has its flaws. Like, most extensions require permission to access and modify your data as you browse the web.
By default, the permission to ‘read and change site data’ is given to an extension for any website you visit in the browser. But thankfully, Chrome allows you to change it and limit it to either specific websites, or only allow the extension to access your data when you click on the extension’s icon.
Why should you Customize the Extension Permission on Chrome
While some recognized extensions need this information to perform a particular task on a web page. For instance, ad-blocking extensions need to read the website’s code to check that if an ad is set to view automatically so that it can block the signal from the advertiser’s server. There may be unsafe extensions that may collect your browsing information and sell it to a third-party, leading to serious privacy issues.
Also, using too many extensions consumes a huge amount of system resources like RAM, Processor, and Network data which may make your PC unresponsive sometimes.
Thankfully, changing an extension’s permission to ‘read and change site data’ is pretty easy in Chrome. You can do it in a few clicks. However, it has to be done individually for each extension, Chrome doesn’t yet support bulk operations for changing extension permissions.
Limiting an Extension’s Permission to Read and Change Site Data in Chrome
To manage an extension’s permission to ‘read and change site data’, right-click on the extension icon and hover your mouse on the “This can read and change site data” option to expand and see more options.
You’ll see the following set of permissions that an extension can have for reading and changing site data.
- When you click the extension: Selecting this option restricts the extension to read and change data on any website until you click the extension’s icon. This is the safest option.
- On the site that’s open in the current tab: If you want the extension to read and change data for only the website that is open in the active tab, then select this option.
- On all sites: This is the default option. Selecting this option will permit the extension to read and change the data on each and every website that you open.
We recommend that you verify this permission for all extensions you use in Chrome, and limit an extension’s access to your data by only allowing it on specific websites or completely block it unless you click the extension icon.
By this approach, you can allow or block the permissions of an extension and restrict it from running on sensitive sites. Properly managing the extensions will reduce the risks and vulnerabilities in your system.