Password-stealing Chrome extension smuggled on to Web Store


Researchers at the University of Wisconsin–Madison have demonstrated that Chrome browser extensions can steal passwords from the text input fields in websites, even if the extension is compliant with Chrome’s latest security and privacy standard, Manifest V3.

To prove it, they created a proof of concept browser extension that could steal passwords and put it through the Chrome Web Store review process.

Browser extentions are small applications like ad blockers and password managers that extend the capabilities of browsers. In order to do what they do they enjoy a high degree of access to both the web browser and the pages the browser displays. This creates a significant challenge for vendors like Google.

On the one hand, the more access browser extensions enjoy, the more they can do and the more useful and featureful they can be. On the other hand, extensions are made by third-parties who may or may not be trustworthy, and the more access they have, the more harm they can do if they are malicious.

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