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Mozilla removes 23 Firefox add-ons in security clampdown

(Image credit: Image Credit: Mozilla)

Mozilla has removed 23 Firefox add-ons after discovering they were secretly monitoring the browsing habits of users and then sending the data they collected to remote servers.

The purge of add-ons began when a Firefox add-on called Web Security was found to be tracking the web pages visited by users and then sending this information to a server located in Germany. The browsing habits of many users were captured by the add-on which was downloaded over 220,000 times before being removed by Mozilla.

Web Security was recently featured in a list of recommended add-ons (opens in new tab) on the official Firefox blog though it was quietly removed after Germany security researcher Mike Kuketz revealed that the software was sending user data to a server over HTTP which could potentially expose users to Man-in-The-Middle attacks and spying.

Following the removal of Web Security, Firefox users suggested a number of other add-ons that should also be removed because they conducted similar activities. All of the add-ons removed by Mozilla have been listed by ID number and some of the more popular ones include Browser Security, SmartTube, Popup Blocker Ultimate, DirtyLittleHelpers, YTTools and Quick AMZ.

After the add-ons in question were inspected by engineers, it was revealed that while they all have different names, a number of add-ons all have the same code used in Web Security.

The questionable add-ons are no longer available to download and existing users will notice that they have been disabled in their browser.

Image Credit: Mozilla

After getting his start at ITProPortal and then working with the TechRadar Pro team for the last several years, Anthony is now the security and networking editor at Tom’s Guide where he covers everything from data breaches to how to cover your whole home or business with Wi-Fi. When not writing, you can find him tinkering with PCs and game consoles, managing cables and upgrading his smart home.