Add-ons: Auxiliary programs turned spies | Digital Culture | DW | 07.02.2017
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Digital Culture

Add-ons: Auxiliary programs turned spies

A lot of add-ons are supposed to make surfing the net easier. Some, however, in fact spy on user behavior and pass on that information to third parties. The sensitive data has become a lucrative business.

German journalists have shown that "Web of Trust" spies on users. What’s more, the browser extension often installs itself without the user’s knowledge and then forwards sensitive data to its operators. The service then analyzes the data and sells it to third parties. It’s a lucrative business worth billions in all. The advertising industry is especially interested in the data, which enables the creation of detailed user profiles – with potentially disastrous consequences for users.