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Google Chrome. Pixabay

Popular browser extensions like ad blockers have been caught harvesting personal data of millions of consumers who use Chrome and Firefox — not only their browsing histories but also exposing tax returns, medical records, credit card information and other sensitive data in the public domain.

According to an independent cyber security researcher Sam Jadali, the data has been leaked to a fee-based company called Nacho Analytics that gives unlimited access to any websites analytics data.


The data could be purchased for as little as $10 to $50, said Jadali whose report was first described in Ars Technica late on Friday.

“This non-stop flow of sensitive data over the past seven months has resulted in the publication of links to home and business surveillance videos hosted on Nest and other security services.

“Tax returns, billing invoices, business documents, and presentation slides posted to, or hosted on, Microsoft OneDrive, Intuit.com, and other online services” have been exposed, said the report.

The exposed data via eight browser extensions also include vehicle identification, numbers of recently bought automobiles, along with the names and addresses of the buyers.

Patient details, travel itineraries, Facebook Messenger attachments and Facebook photos, even private, are now available in the public domain.

Browser extensions – also known as plug-ins or add-ons – are apps that consumers can install to run alongside their browser for additional functionality.


Mozilla, the maker of Open Source browser Firefox, has released a new Firefox family of logos. Pixabay

The affected extensions were apps used by millions of people, including HoverZoom, SpeakIt!, and FairShare Unlock.

“The extensions have been remotely removed or disabled in consumers’ browsers and are no longer available for download,” said both Google and Firefox.

People who didn’t download the extensions may also be affected.

“Nobody is immune to this. Even if you don’t have any harmful extensions, the other people you interact with may have an extension on their computers that could be leaking the data you share with them,” Jadali was quoted as saying.

Also Read: Researchers Develop AI-driven System to Curb ‘Deepfake’ Videos

Nacho Analytics, for example, promises to let people “see anyone’s analytics account” and to provide “real-time web analytics for any website”.

The company charges $49 per month, per domain, to monitor any of the top 5,000 most widely-trafficked websites.

The security expert has suggested users to delete all browser extensions they have installed in the past. (IANS)


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IANS

The aim of the book is to teach children that families can exist in different forms, and show them how to accept the diversity in family backgrounds.

By Siddhi Jain

Delhi-based author Pritisha Borthakur is set to release her new book, 'Puhor and Niyor's Mural of Family Stories'. The 1,404-word children's book was put together to address a new kind of societal debacle in the family system. The author says the aim is to teach children that families can exist in different forms, and show them how to accept the diversity in family backgrounds.

The author who named the book after her twin sons -- Puhor and Niyor -- is a parent who has seen and heard the tales of ridicule and discrimination suffered by many in India and beyond. She says the book is an artistic illustration for kids that details how different families can live and coexist. Whether it's children with two dads or two moms, children with a single dad or single mom, and even multiracial family units, Borthakur's book teaches love, understanding, and compassion towards unconventional families.

Beyond race, gender, color, and ethnicity which have formed the bases for discrimination since the beginning of time, this book aims to bring to light a largely ignored issue. For so long, single parents have been treated like a taboo without any attempt to understand their situations; no one really cares how or why one's marriage ended but just wants to treat single parents as villains simply for choosing happiness and loving their children.

Homosexual parents, a relatively new family system, is another form that has suffered hate and discrimination for many years. Pritisha emphasizes the need to understand that diversity in people and family is what makes the world beautiful and colourful. 'Puhor and Niyor's Mural of Family Stories' is a firm but compassionate statement against all forms of discrimination on the bases of sexual identity, gender, race, and even differences in background

four children standing on dirt during daytime 'Puhor and Niyor's Mural of Family Stories' is a firm but compassionate statement against all forms of discrimination on the bases of sexual identity, gender, race and even differences in background. | Photo by Ben Wicks on Unsplash


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