As the number of adware-infested Chrome extensions being uncovered increases daily so too does user anxiety over what add-ons can really be trusted.
If you’ve been feeling cautious yourself it’ll help to know that you’re not alone, and you’re not out of options.
Emerging from the debris left behind by the recent explosive revelations is a new breed of security tools for Chrome that aim to scan, detect and alert users to known suspicious add-ons.
‘Extension Defender‘ for Chrome is one of these. It promises to “protect Chrome” from malicious apps and add-ons by scanning your extensions for ‘known malware, adware and spyware’. It is backed up by an online database of more than 80 extensions that are known to come with nasty surprises.
If there’s one flaw, it’s a necessary one: Extension Defender requires some heavy duty permissions, including ‘access to your data on all websites’. My advice to those installing it is to only enable it on demand (i.e, after you install a new add-on) if you’re worried about it peeking in on your data full-time.
Features include proactive scanning and continued updating of ‘signatures’ so that you’re always being checked against the latest known rogues.
A notification badge is used to alert you about any malicious code, with options to see further information and, helpfully, a button so that you can remove it there and then.
Of the users who have taken the tool for a spin so far, the general response seems positive. “Best adware detector on webstore”, praises one user, “Able to quickly remove troublesome extensions”, writes another.
Providing you still have trust left to place in third-party add-on makers, Extension Defender can be install for free straight from the shelves of the Chrome Web Store.