1. Skip to content
  2. Skip to main menu
  3. Skip to more DW sites

Add-ons: Auxiliary programs turned spies

April 25, 2017

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.

Symbolbild Überwachung, Spionage, Bespitzelung
Image: Kai Remmers/dpa/picture alliance

Add-ons: Auxiliary programs turned spies

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.