Beware of 3rd Party Extensions

Beware of 3rd Party Extensions

March 23rd 2021

This week I have a short PSA to address some of the tickets I've seen come through Help Desk. Extensions have the potential to be an incredibly powerful educational tool. They allow for us to remote into devices to help troubleshoot problems, address issues of accessibility and even make writing complex math equations simple. However, some of these extensions can change settings on your account or device without making these changes explicit. What does this translate to?...

  • You go to open a new tab and Yahoo! or Bing is your default search engine - THE HORROR!

  • You open your web browser and a new tab to a suspicious website opens.

  • The extension records your browsing data and sells it to advertisers for a profit. (Guess what? Nothing is truly free on the internet.)

For your Mansfield student account, these changes are not so simple to undo. We do not allow students access to their settings pages for security purposes. So, how can you avoid this?...

  • Don't download extensions that are created by companies/individuals you've never heard of.

  • Pay attention to any changes in the behavior of your device or browser after downloading a new extension. That way you know the root of the problem.

It's so important to be mindful of your activity on the internet. It's the Wild West out there. Enjoy your week!

-Leo Bunyea, Technology Technician and Digital Doomsayer