The Privacy Risks of Browser Extensions Today

Saheed Aremu  - Security Expert
Last updated: March 18, 2024
Read time: 9 minutes

This guide explores the use of browser extensions, their benefits to your browser, and the risks they pose to your privacy.


Browser extensions help your regular browsers go from zero to hero, being capable of carrying out tasks they could not do prior. Some extensions aid with ad blocking, others with malware protection, and others even with easier language translation. But despite the benefits, it is important to be cautious since extensions have been known to also come with some nasty privacy risks to your browser.

Browser extensions are a helpful addition to your browser’s functionality. They make your browser safer in some instances and speed it up in others. Every extension has its own unique functions that it offers the browser. But sometimes, either sneakily or inadvertently, these browser extensions also expose users to various privacy risks.

Some extensions do so much damage that is unknown to the user. For example, some extensions are the work of hackers who intend to steal your data to sell later. Likewise, some extensions sneakily log your activities for profiling and fingerprinting.

Despite the abundance of such underlying threats, you may not find much information online in this regard – that too – in one place. Therefore, this guide elaborates on what to expect with browser extensions — good and bad. Let’s talk about the privacy risks of using browser extensions and how to stay safe.

What is a browser extension?

Browser extensions are plugins designed for your browser to add some much-needed functionality. Extensions usually include ad blockers, web page translators, coupon finders, and more.

The major browsers often have online stores that allow users to search for and find extensions tailored to the browsers. We recommend only installing the correct versions and not shifting extensions.

Are browser extensions harmful?