javascript contador Skip to content

Your browsing history could be for sale right now

Autocomplete forms is insecure and allows you to get more data than you think

Autocomplete forms is insecure and allows you to get more data than you think

Maybe you are not browsing the Internet with as much privacy as you think. Some browser extensions sell the browsing history of their users.

A person’s browsing history can say a lot about itWhat content do you consume, what do you buy, with whom do you talk? It is no coincidence that companies whose income comes from advertising, such as Google, are so interested in getting all the navigation data from their users. With them you can create a complete profile of a person.

So the fact that your browsing data and that of many other people maybe they have already been sold it is alarming news.

Some browser extensions sell the history of their users

You may not know it, but many of the extensions that you install in your browser have access to all the history. Not only that, but many of those extensions openly acknowledge that they sell the data they obtain to third parties. All the data they sell is anonymous, assure the majority, that is.

The latter may not be entirely true, as journalists at the German television station Panorama have discovered. These journalists got buy the navigation data of more than 3 million Germans to companies that make browser extensions. They only revealed, that is, one of the extensions that sold them the data: Web of Trust, or WOT.

Investigating the histories

As we said before, most extensions that acknowledge selling their users’ data claim to do so anonymously. Web of Trust was one of those extensions, but as journalists also discovered, that’s not true.

Among the data stored and sold was the username of accounts such as Skype and email. Through these data, obviously, journalists were able to easily identify identity behind each history.

Journalists also got access to confidential documents saved in the cloud through the link used to share them. Thus they obtained information from police investigations, from the financing of private companies and even on the sexual preferences of a judge.

Not to mention, of course, the ease with which they found people who had made compromising searches: for drugs, prostitutes, weapons, illnesses All related to one day, one hour and a location.

Web of Trust removed from Chrome and Firefox, a solution?

After uncovering this scandal, both Google and Firefox have proceeded to remove Web of Trust from their stores. It is the minimum measure that they could take, but it is certainly not a solution to the problem.

Panorama researchers say that obtained the data from many extensions, not just from Web of Trust. And to these we must add all the extensions to which the journalists did not even try to buy the data.

This is a large-scale privacy problem, and the solution solution is currently in the hands of the users. We must always know what we are installing and, above all, you have to look at the permits that the extensions require.