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Google Chrome extensions that (re) track your browsing history



A security researcher said that some Google Chrome extensions, such as HoverZoom, your browsing history, and in some cases even embedded URLs. Then, the extensions released it for a fee to a company called Nacho Analytics, which may reveal personal information.

Sam Jadali, security researcher and founder of the Internet hosting service Host Duplex, noticed something surprising. A company called Nacho Analytics had published a number of links listing one of its customer domains. These URLs allow for private forum discussions, and only the senders and recipients should have these links and the required credentials to access the discussions.

When investigating how Nacho Analytics obtained the URL, he found that the culprit was the extensions that users installed in their browsers. Enhancements such as HoverZoom, which expands images, require access to the entire web page that you browse to perform their function. However, the Privacy Policy includes a statement that it may collect your browser data and disclose it to third parties for promotional purposes. Jadali has discovered several other extensions with similar access and privacy policies.

Many (if not most) people do not read the Privacy Policy at all, so they do not know to what extent a browser extension can track it. While simply looking at the history at first glance does not appear to be a serious privacy breach, some URLs result in private and personal information without the need to enter a password. Surveillance videos from Nest and other surveillance camera vendors; Tax returns and business documents hosted on OneDrive, Intuit and other online services; Facebook Messenger attachments and private Facebook photos; and other private information.

Nacho Analytics emphasizes that collecting and publishing this data is not illegal. This is correct. The company has also downplayed the severity of the problem. The company's CEO, Mike Roberts, told Ars Technica

. These pages are available. It's just that you did not know how to discover them. This is just something you can see now that you have not seen before. But we do not create a gap. There is no back door or anything like that. We only display links that you did not know before and that may not have been indexed, but they do exist …

Google is already investigating and removing some abusive extensions. However, this detailed report shows that you should take a closer look at enhancements to the installation. This includes what data you access and how the privacy policy determines that the extension can handle this information. [Ars Technica]

In other news:

  • Vienna's driverless bus parked after a collision with a pedestrian: In Vienna, Austria, a self-driving bus attempt is suspended after the bus has collided with a pedestrian. The bus was traveling at 1
    2 km / h and only cut off the person so that everyone is fine. But Navya, the startup behind the bus, wants to investigate thoroughly to ensure everyone's safety. Self-drive is difficult. [The Verge]
  • Southwest Airlines gave passengers free Nintendo switches: A Nintendo Rep surprised passengers on a Southwest Airlines flight to San Diego. Free switches (with Maro Maker 2) for everyone. Bonus points when they roared: "And you get a switch and you get a switch …" [Digital Trends]
  • Plants vs. Zombies 3 is in development: Six years after Plants vs. Zombies 2 was dropped, is a new sequel in Development. Better yet, you can now try an early pre-alpha version on Android. But the seats are limited, so jump in now if you want to play. [Engadget]
  • Google Stadia Controller does not support Bluetooth headset to start: Those who want to play quietly in the Google Stadia service need to use cable headsets. The director of Andrey Doronichev, Product for Stadia, stated in an AMA that the controller would not support Bluetooth audio on the first day. An update down the road will add the feature. Until then, it has at least a headphone jack. [9to5Google]

Dolphins, after all, do not like golf balls. You may have known that, but scientists have long suspected that dolphin skin is very similar to the studded structure of a golf ball. This texture helps a golf ball fly further through the air by reducing air resistance.

Scientists believed dolphin skin had similar ridges, leading to their high speed in the water, and earlier tests seemed to support this idea. Unfortunately, these tests were flawed and recent better techniques have shown that dolphins have a very smooth skin. This is exciting because now we can explore new theories on how dolphins move through the water so quickly, and perhaps find practical applications with that knowledge. [Phys.org]


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