Health data for sale online through browser extensions

Seemingly innocuous web browser extensions are actually a gateway for health and other data to be collected––and even put up for sale, according to Geoffrey Fowler, technology columnist for The Washington Post.

Fowler researched the availability of personal data for sale online and determined as many as four million people have leaked personal and corporate secrets through Chrome and Firefox web browser extensions. Extensions, or add-ons and plug-ins, are programs that are downloadable and can improve the web browsing experience by remembering passwords or automatically searching for coupons, Fowler wrote.

But not all these extensions are safe, and “some extensions have a side hustle in spying,” he said.

The leaked data include medical records, such as patient and doctor names and medications. Corporations also were sharing information online, including what they were working on.

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