Google Chrome extensions would be used to track people

New research suggests your Google Chrome extensions can be used to identify and track your online activity.

The problem lies in Google’s abandonment of third-party cookies, which has prompted developers looking to collect data for advertising to find alternatives, including “Fingerprinting”.

For many, tracking is something that comes with the internet environment, with the data collected for advertisements being a small price to pay to keep the internet and many of its services free. However, for others, the thought of a big company, or even a company they’ve never heard of, tracking their business is terrifying.

The fingerprint is able to identify the user’s device and its characteristics such as performance, specifications, installed apps and more. However, a new feature called extension fingerprinting, which fingerprints a user based on the extensions they have installed, poses a new risk.

Credit: Tech Game World

Although only extension data seems standard, information collected alongside other user data such as activity that suggests time zones and location, can be used to identify specific people.

The “Fingerprints Extension” was developed by a developer under the alias “z0ccc”, according to a BeepComputer report.

The site scans a user’s browser for 1,170 of the most popular Chrome store extensions, and while some protected extensions require a secret token to be accessed, z0ccc says they can still be identified.

“Resources from protected extensions will take longer to retrieve than resources from extensions that are not installed. By comparing timing differences, you can accurately determine whether protected extensions are installed,” he said.

When it comes to identifying specific people, z0ccc agrees that the technology poses a risk.

“[The fetching web accessible resources method] combined with other user data (like user agents, time zones, etc.), users could be very easily identified. »

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