Archive for July 5, 2018

#PSA: Do You Have A Browser Extension Called Stylish Installed In Chrome Or Firefox? Uninstall It NOW!

Posted in Commentary with tags on July 5, 2018 by itnerd

There’s a popular extension called Stylish which was once a great way to remove annoying features from websites—trending topics on Facebook, say, or that annoying bar that follows you as you scroll on Medium. To do this Stylish, the browser extension, needs access to every website you visit. But it also trolls and steals your browser history. In short, it’s spyware. And here’s what  Robert Heaton has to say about it on his personal blog:

Unfortunately, since January 2017, Stylish has been augmented with bonus spyware that records every single website that I and its 2 million other users visit. Stylish sends our complete browsing activity back to its servers, together with a unique identifier. This allows it’s new owner, SimilarWeb, to connect all of an individual’s actions into a single profile. And for users like me who have created a Stylish account on userstyles.org, this unique identifier can easily be linked to a login cookie. This means that not only does SimilarWeb own a copy of our complete browsing histories, they also own enough other data to theoretically tie these histories to email addresses and real-world identities.

As a result, Firefox has taken steps to ban the extension from its addons site and prompt all users to disable it. Google has done the same thing. Now the data that this addon shares is anonymized, but that’s still scary.

I try not to use browser add ons as I am always afraid of this sort of thing happening. Now it looks like my paranoia isn’t paranoia after all.

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