Browse Definitions :
Definition

browser extension

Contributor(s): Ivy Wigmore

A browser extension is a small software application that adds a capacity or functionality to a web browser. A browser extension, also called a plug-in, can take advantage of the same application program interfaces (APIs) that JavaScript can on a web page, but the extension can do more because it also has access to its own set of APIs.

While extensions are typically used to add features and enhance the functionality of a website, they can also be used to remove unwanted website elements such as pop-up ads and features such as auto-play for online videos.

Here are a few examples of browser extensions:

  • AdBlock - enables content filtering and ad blocking.
  • HTTPS Everywhere - provides another layer of security by making websites that support the extension automatically connect through HTTPS.
  • StayFocusd - limits the amount of time the user is allowed to spend on designated websites.
  • Highly - allows the user to highlight webpage text and share it through social media, email, Slack or iMessage.

Browser extensions are usually written in HTML, CSS or JavaScript. Like other types of software, browser extensions can be coded for undesirable behaviors and be misused to deliver malware. Though most add-ons are reviewed prior to being listed, malicious extensions that violate browser developer program policies are not uncommon.

For example, in January 2018, it a security company called ICEBERG reported that four malicious extensions available from the Chrome Web Store were designed to conduct click fraud and black hat SEO. In 2017, Proofpoint reported that eight compromised Chrome extensions had sent malicious code to almost four and a half million users.

When deciding whether or not to install an extension, always keep in mind the type of resources the extension can access and where it will send the data it collects. Treat with extreme caution any extensions that do any of the following:

  • Interact with local files
  • Interact with the Windows Registry
  • Interact with cookies
  • Access any browser tab or window
  • Execute commands in the user's shell
This was last updated in February 2018

Continue Reading About browser extension

Start the conversation

Send me notifications when other members comment.

Please create a username to comment.

SearchCompliance

  • risk assessment

    Risk assessment is the identification of hazards that could negatively impact an organization's ability to conduct business.

  • PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard)

    The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) is a widely accepted set of policies and procedures intended to ...

  • risk management

    Risk management is the process of identifying, assessing and controlling threats to an organization's capital and earnings.

SearchSecurity

SearchHealthIT

SearchDisasterRecovery

  • call tree

    A call tree is a layered hierarchical communication model that is used to notify specific individuals of an event and coordinate ...

  • Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS)

    Disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS) is the replication and hosting of physical or virtual servers by a third party to provide ...

  • cloud disaster recovery (cloud DR)

    Cloud disaster recovery (cloud DR) is a combination of strategies and services intended to back up data, applications and other ...

SearchStorage

Close