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Browser extensions can make your life better 15 Awesome Chrome Extensions For Geeks 15 Awesome Chrome Extensions For Geeks Even before the world caught on to it, geeks loved Chrome. If you consider yourself a geek, you need to take advantage of it by installing the best Chrome extensions for people like us. Read More . But they can also be hiding nefarious secrets 4 Malicious Browser Extensions That Help Hackers Target Their Victims 4 Malicious Browser Extensions That Help Hackers Target Their Victims You'd be wrong to think all browser extensions are designed to help you. Whether extensions exploit vulnerabilities or send data to hackers, it's time to be vigilant about how you enhance your browser. Read More — using lots of system resources, collecting your data, installing adware, and otherwise not doing what you want them to do.

It’s hard to keep track of which extensions have been caught abusing their privileges, but you should definitely uninstall these 10 as soon as possible.

1. Adblock Plus

adblock plus chrome store

ABP is one of the most popular extensions for Chrome, but it’s also one of the most resource-intensive. It does a great job blocking ads, but the price you pay in CPU and memory usage isn’t worth it. A number of benchmarking tests have found that ABP, while very effective, is the least efficient when it comes to resource usage.

If you must use an adblocker — and we encourage you to consider the question of adblockers carefully AdBlock, NoScript & Ghostery - The Trifecta Of Evil AdBlock, NoScript & Ghostery - The Trifecta Of Evil Over the past few months, I've been contacted by a good number of readers who have had problems downloading our guides, or why they can't see the login buttons or comments not loading; and in... Read More — we recommend a lighter-weight alternative, like uBlock Origin, AdGuard, or Ghostery. And if you do decide to keep running ABP, make sure you do what you can to reduce Chrome’s resource consumption Why Is Chrome Using up So Much RAM? (And How to Fix It Right Now) Why Is Chrome Using up So Much RAM? (And How to Fix It Right Now) But why does Chrome use up so much RAM, especially compared to other browsers? And what can you do to keep it in check? Read More .

2. Hola

hola chrome store

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It used to be the best way to watch different countries’ Netflix movies, but Hola was outed as basically a giant botnet system Hola is Basically a Botnet, Congress Redirected to Nude Photos, & More... [Tech News Digest] Hola is Basically a Botnet, Congress Redirected to Nude Photos, & More... [Tech News Digest] Also: Google offers unlimited photo storage, how you can pretend to be a destructive cat, and YouTube celebrates its 10th anniversary. Read More . Users’ bandwidth was being sold to cover operating costs for the free service, and someone had scammed the system.

Hola has tried to distance itself from this sort of behavior, and according to their blog, the bandwidth load is only about 6 MB per day. They also vet their enterprise customers to make sure you’re not being used as a tool in a crime. But lots of people don’t know that they’re trading their bandwidth to Hola’s commercial customers. Better to be on the safe side and trash this extension.

3. FindMeFreebies

findmefreebies chrome store

It’s an extension called “FindMeFreebies”… which probably makes you think that it will find you free stuff online. It’s a reasonable assumption. But all it does it change your home page to FindMeFreebies.com, which advertises a free-stuff finder. It looks like it installs a toolbar, too.

This company has a ton of apps like this, and they integrate with third-party services that Mindspark (the developer) takes no responsibility for. It just looks shady all around.

4. ShopGenius

shopgenius chrome store

While this extension promises to help you compare prices 7 Price Comparison Websites You Should Bookmark Right Now 7 Price Comparison Websites You Should Bookmark Right Now Price comparison websites help you find the item you want at the lowest price possible. Read More and find coupons, reviews indicate that it actually doesn’t do anything at all. And that it’s difficult or impossible to remove. Also, the app store description states that it provides anonymous URL information to third parties.

Does that sound like a good way to save money on online shopping? I didn’t think so. If you have this one and haven’t deleted it yet, you should do that now.

5. Website Destroyer

website destroyer chrome store

Destroying websites sounds like a lot of fun, but this extension isn’t a great way to do it. It certainly does what it says — lets you blow up sites using a variety of weapons — but it doesn’t tell you that it offers other weapons for sale in an attempt to make money.

If you really want to spend time blowing up some sites, use the Kick Ass bookmarklet instead. It’s simple, free, won’t use up browser resources, and lets you design your own ships. You should probably be doing something more productive anyway, but when you absolutely need to destroy a website, Kick Ass is the way to go!

6. Super Browse for Netflix

super browse netflix chrome store

Many internet denizens made a big deal about Netflix’s “secret categories Improve Your Netflix Searches With These Secret Codes Improve Your Netflix Searches With These Secret Codes If you need a little more specificity when searching Netflix, you can use some secret codes to find exactly what you need. Read More ” a while back, and the developers of this extension are doing their best to cash in on that excitement. It’s a useful extension, but it also costs $1.99 per year. That’s not much, but when you can use the codes manually, why not save yourself the money?

Bookmark your favorite categories instead, or just memorize a few of the codes that you use on a regular basis. You can do both of those things for free in about five minutes, instead of having a recurring subscription fee.

7. Autocopy Original

autocopy chrome store

This extension automatically copies text that you highlight so you don’t have to click Copy or hit Ctrl + C. Unless you copy an insane amount of text, this just isn’t that useful. Add that to the fact that it’s made by a website that wants to sell you stuff, and it’s worth deleting.

Wips.com, the developer, says that their extensions collect and store “anonymous information about specific webpages,” which is quite nebulous.

8. Hover Zoom

hover zoom chrome store

Although it started as an honest and useful extension for viewing images, Hover Zoom was bought by a company that basically turned it into spyware. It collects and sells your data, and there isn’t anything you can do about it other than delete the extension.

We’ve talked about Hover Zoom before, but if you missed our previous warning, you should delete it now before it collects and more of your data.

9. SpeakIt!

speakit chrome store

Having your computer read an article or Wikipedia entry to you sounds like a pretty cool feature 5 Ways to Make Your Windows Computer Speak to You 5 Ways to Make Your Windows Computer Speak to You Lean back and listen: let your PC do the reading. Windows comes, built in, with the ability to read text and third-party apps offer additional features. Let us show you the details. Read More , doesn’t it? That’s what this extension offers. But it also got outed for collecting a huge amount of your information. Not good.

A number of users of the free version of SpeakIt! have stated that it also just doesn’t work very well. This has brought up some speculation that the free version only exists to get you to buy the pro one.

10. Any Antivirus Extension

avg web tuneup chrome store

Browser extensions from antivirus manufacturers very often exist solely to make the companies money. Your antivirus should be monitoring your web traffic already, so what do you need a browser extension for?

A number of these extensions have engaged in questionable behavior, from gathering a lot of information Is Your Antivirus Tracking You? You'd Be Surprised At What It Sends Is Your Antivirus Tracking You? You'd Be Surprised At What It Sends Read More to recommending insecure browsers. There’s just no reason to use one, so get rid of them.

Time to Clean Out Your Extensions

As with anything else, you should periodically clean out your browser extensions, even if you’re confident that yours are well-behaved. Get rid of any you don’t remember installing, any that you don’t use anymore, and any that are on this list.

And if you know of other extensions that readers should avoid, tell us about them in the comments.

Do you use any of these Chrome extensions? Have you had bad experiences with others? Let us know which extensions we should avoid in the comments below!

Image Credits: OBprod/Shutterstock

  1. infmom
    November 11, 2016 at 3:58 am

    Thank you! I got rid of ABP and installed AdGuard instead.

    • Dann Albright
      November 12, 2016 at 10:40 pm

      Good call; it's more resource efficient. Hopefully you'll see a speed boost (though it may be minuscule).

  2. Namma
    November 10, 2016 at 3:05 am

    Bull

    All blockers have the ability to whitelist sites. Ask you readers politely to whitelist the site and they just might. DO NOT come off as though we are required to make you money. This user as the product crap has to stop.

    As you are not required to post articles, we are not required to provide you with money. CHOICE is the keyword here. Ask people ... nicely... and they might make that choice.

    btw, ABP does NOT block all ads on your site. I turned it off all blockers and then ABP only and - lo' and behold! there are still ads. Will I click them? Nope? Will I read them? Probably not. It's Ghostery and Privacy Badger that block the remaining stuff you load into the page.

    What most people do NOT like is;

    (1) Ads that interrupt the flow of the article. ABP does block the stupid ads you placed right in the middle - bad form.

    (2) Click bait ads that look like articles and are for some scummy scammy, spammy, crappola no one in their right minds wants to buy.

    (3) the possibility of drive by virus and maleware injection. Let's tell the truth, eh? You people get so used to the money you eventually get lazy about curating and approving the ads and crap gets snuck by. Happened with Yahoo! it can happen here. If I block the crap guess what? No injection.

    So stop recommending people remove protection ONLY so you can "get rich quick". You are not guaranteed immeasurable wealth from anyone anywhere, so knock it off.

    • Dann Albright
      November 12, 2016 at 10:39 pm

      You must've just looked at the section header and then come down here to comment. If you would've read the rest of that section, you'd see that "we recommend a lighter-weight alternative, like uBlock Origin, AdGuard, or Ghostery." ABP is a known resource hog, and both uBlock and AdGuard have tested better. Also, "You are not guaranteed immeasurable wealth from anyone anywhere"? Really?

      • Namma
        November 13, 2016 at 12:53 pm

        "You must've just looked at the section header and then come down here to comment."

        Bzzzt! Wrong

        "If you would've read the rest of that section, you'd see that "we recommend a lighter-weight alternative, like uBlock Origin, AdGuard, or Ghostery." ABP is a known resource hog, and both uBlock and AdGuard have tested better."

        Actually read several other sites and found that the perplexing thing you said "resource hog" isn't true for everyone everywhere. so again Bzzzt! Wrong.

        "Also, "You are not guaranteed immeasurable wealth from anyone anywhere"? Really?"

        Yes, really. I read at, again, several sites and have been reading marketing and sales materials since 1997. The reason for ill-placed, ill-planned ads is the supposition that the reader will view or click them so the person placing them will make money.

        Nothing can be further from the truth, but you can believe whatever hokum/guru you want. Perhaps re-education into what actually motivates people might be in order.

        • Dann Albright
          November 13, 2016 at 1:56 pm

          If you could link to the sites that show a resource/speed advantage with ABP, I'd very much appreciate it. If that's true, I'd love to know. Every test that I've come across has shown ABP to be more resource-intensive, on average, than any other blocker. If that belief is erroneous, I want to correct it. Where'd you find that info?

        • Namma
          November 14, 2016 at 3:28 am

          I don't need correcting. If you want the data - go educate yourself. I don't work for you.

          Do your research better next time and stop using only profit driven sites for data. User experience is more compelling than some corporate weenie assumptions.

  3. Susie
    November 9, 2016 at 9:41 pm

    Thank you for this! The only one I had installed was AdBlock and I got rid of it as soon as I read this. I'm not big on extensions because I did ave an AVG extension installed on a windows laptop last year and it installed Chrome malware that was a nightmare to get rid of! Be careful what you install people... keep your computer and info safe!

    • Dann Albright
      November 12, 2016 at 10:36 pm

      Did you end up replacing ABP with something else, or just going without? Sorry to hear about your AVG problem; I do remember hearing about that happening. Hope you got it sorted out easily!

  4. Ron Ablang
    November 8, 2016 at 12:46 pm

    I didn't have any of these installed but it was a good reminder for me to go back and remove any extensions that I don't remember installing or can't remember why I need it.

    • Dann Albright
      November 12, 2016 at 10:35 pm

      That's also a great idea; after a few years, you can pick up a lot of stuff that you used once or didn't know about. An occasional cleaning is good for everything!

  5. Vacheli
    November 8, 2016 at 5:03 am

    Oh wow I had three of these installed.

    • Dann Albright
      November 12, 2016 at 10:35 pm

      A lot of them are quite popular; I'd imagine a lot of people have at least that many installed.

  6. Eddie G.
    November 7, 2016 at 11:20 pm

    I'm sorry, but the AdBlocker is just too valuable to me. I have a "middle-of-the-road" PC with about 8GB of RAM and a 5ooGB HDD. I had to wait until all manner of ads and things loaded before I was able to view certain sites. Now that I have AdBlocker installed (NOT "AdBlocker PLUS" or any other variation....just plain' old AdBlocker!) I can load sites and read content without the annoying Pop-ups that would usually occur and obscure half the page, nor are there videos starting that are loud and obnoxious and also "buried" somewhere on a page. (You know how IRRITATING it is to spend upwards of 20 minutes LOOKING for the video and then having to shut it down!??...because you have like 20 different tabs open!!)) In my opinion all the other add-ons on this list are garbage, but AdBlock is actually helpful!

    • EdJr
      November 8, 2016 at 7:50 am

      There are many alternatives. uBlock Origin probably being the best as it's open source (so no privacy concerns), super fast and simply flawless. AdBlock literally has no advantages over it.

    • cmdtvt
      November 9, 2016 at 11:14 am

      I just use Opera browser it takes so less ram and it has awesome starting site.
      browser itself has an adblock what works perfectly.

      • Dann Albright
        November 12, 2016 at 10:34 pm

        I haven't used Opera in a long time, but I do remember it being very fast. I don't think it had a built-in ad blocker when I used it, though. That's pretty sweet!

    • Dann Albright
      November 12, 2016 at 10:34 pm

      As EdJr points out, the article mentions uBlock Origin and AdGuard, which use fewer resources than ABP.

  7. OMEGATALON
    November 7, 2016 at 7:24 pm

    You've got to wonder how much money did MakeUseOf.com get to tell people to remove 'AdBlock Plus' as a Chrome Extension; it's the opposite for me.. as it's the first thing that I tell people to add.

    Have you seen the crap on webpages when you don't have AdBlock Plus and how much computer power are we talking about as AdBlock Plus does it job instantaneously meaning the moment you click to the webpage.. it's done.

    • EdJr
      November 8, 2016 at 7:55 am

      One thing that the article really should have mentioned is that there are many (better) alternatives to AdBlock. For me uBlock Origin is the best. It's super fast, open source (so no privacy concerns) and works flawlessly. AdBlock has literally zero advantages over it. There's also AdGuard and some other pretty good ones.

      • Dann Albright
        November 12, 2016 at 10:25 pm

        You mean like where I wrote "we recommend a lighter-weight alternative, like uBlock Origin, AdGuard, or Ghostery"?

        • Ed
          November 13, 2016 at 2:04 am

          Oops, I'm really sorry. I certainly didn't pay as much attention as I should have, but somehow believed I did. I saw several comments asking for alternatives to AdBlock, so I just assumed you didn't mention them without bothering to read again.
          (Apparently I wasn't the only one :p)

    • Dann Albright
      November 12, 2016 at 10:27 pm

      If you know of someone who would pay us to continue recommending better alternatives to ABP, I'd love to hear about it! As of now, all we get are comments from people who are so committed to ABP that they won't drop it in favor of something that isn't a reputed and proven resource hog.

  8. A41202813GMAIL
    November 7, 2016 at 6:31 pm

    A - Yeah, Some Extensions Leak Memory, But Using The Extension With Code ID LCFDEFMOGCOGICOLLFEBHGJIIAKBJDJE Solves Some Of Those Problems - 2 Mouse Clicks And You Are Done,

    B - Why UnInstall Extensions When You Can Easily Enable / Disable Them In Large Groups Using The Extension With Code ID PMBFKCGPLCMLMOCCJBCGMOPKBEFNDHPD ? - 1 Mouse Click And You Are Done.

    Cheers.

  9. User
    November 7, 2016 at 5:57 pm

    I think antivirus or similar extension (web trust/ safety ranking) is useful. Yes, antivirus software itself will block known malware, but what about 0day one? Knowing that particular site distributes malware will cause you to stay away from it.

    • likefunbutnot
      November 7, 2016 at 6:59 pm

      @User, antivirus software does not block viruses. AntiMALWARE software blocks anitmalware. Further, there's no such thing as "malware-like behavior" as is the case with viruses. Computer viruses by injecting their code into previously existing files and this is the behavior that antivirus applications monitor your PC to find. Malware applications make no effort to spread beyond the computer where they are installed and thus have to be stopped beforehand by some kind of rules engine (e.g. Spybot Search and Destroy's Immunization function) or removed post facto (e.g. the Malwarebytes AntiMalware strategy).
      A security suite might have an antimalware component, but you are incorrect in suggesting that an antivirus application is sufficient protection from malware as well.

      Also, most internet malware is distributed by advertising networks, not first-party web sites. Because of their reach, it's entirely possible to pick up a horrific malware infection from a well-regarded and legitimate web site's advertisers without the web site being visited ever being aware that there was a problem. This is why it's so important to control ads and third-party scripts while browsing the web, thing that those Site Ranking tools do not account for.

  10. Vimal J
    November 7, 2016 at 2:54 pm

    Clear all!!

    • Dann Albright
      November 12, 2016 at 10:32 pm

      That's also an option. :-)

  11. Meena Bassem
    November 7, 2016 at 11:41 am

    I only have both adblock plus and hover zoom. But it's quite hard to give them up. are there any alternatives as good?

    • Ratindra
      November 7, 2016 at 1:42 pm

      Ublock Origin

      • Dann Albright
        November 12, 2016 at 10:32 pm

        Definitely agree with this; uBlock has been great for my own browsing.

    • The Dude
      November 7, 2016 at 1:57 pm

      uBlock Origin and Imagus

  12. Pss
    November 7, 2016 at 10:45 am

    I didn't know about the extensions of antivirus at all.

    • Dann Albright
      November 12, 2016 at 10:31 pm

      I don't think they're all that common, but you'll see them on providers' websites. They're out there, but they don't seem to have gotten much uptake. Which is probably for the best.

  13. Jurrie Eilers
    November 6, 2016 at 6:34 pm

    I removed Google Chrome altogether, and my computer has become faster, even if I don't browse the web. My recommended browser is Yandex (from Russia).

    • Klaas Vaak
      November 7, 2016 at 11:04 am

      Apart from a bit of speed improvement, in what other ways is Yandex superior and/or more trustworthy than Chrome?

    • Klaas Vaak
      November 7, 2016 at 11:05 am

      Apart from a bit of speed improvement, in what other way is Yandex superior and/or more trustworthy than Chrome?

      • qwe123
        November 7, 2016 at 11:45 pm

        He does not have one, its easy to talk trash..

    • Dann Albright
      November 12, 2016 at 10:31 pm

      I've never heard of Yandex . . . what do you like about it? I would use Safari as my main browser, because it's more efficient than Chrome, but there are a few Chrome extensions that I haven't been able to find replacements for.

      • Jurrie Eilers
        November 13, 2016 at 12:19 am

        Dear Dann,

        It is the fastest, most secure and most advanced browser I ever tried. It's partly built on Chromium, which means that most Google extensions will work. Also, after installation, all your Google bookmarks and passwords will be imported. Give it a try, it's fast and light!

  14. David Orr
    November 6, 2016 at 1:13 am

    The Google Chrome store entry for Hover Zoom says it is no longer a malware and is now a clean open source extension???

    • EdJr
      November 8, 2016 at 7:59 am

      If you're talking about Hover Zoom+, it's another extension (clean and open source, as you noted). Hover Zoom (the one with malware) has already been removed from the Web Store, as far as I know.

  15. likefunbutnot
    November 5, 2016 at 6:31 pm

    I recommend Adblock Plus for Chrome over other ad blockers and here are a couple reasons why:

    1. Training. Adblock Plus is available for every major browser. It runs on Edge and IE and Safari and Opera, not just Firefox and Chrome. From a user-training perspective, letting people know that the red ABP Hexagon should be present no matter what browser they select has a lot of value.

    2. Eeyo, the parent company of Adblock Plus, is a commercial entity, which gives it a certain standing to engage with the online advertising industry as a whole. Industry Organizations have a much easier time slinging mud at the "thieves" who naively want a safe and annoyance-free browsing experience when the projects that enable that are volunteer-led open-source affairs and a much harder time when another business entity can afford to buy its way into their trade shows and conferences to give voice to its message.

    3. What ABP does in basically extorting web companies to act according to its acceptable ads standard, makes the whole internet better. Eeyo deserves some support for that, too.

    4. The biggest knock against it, that ABP allows some acceptable ads? Guess what? Turning them off involves ticking one box in the Add-On settings menu.

    All in all, I don't mind giving up a little more RAM for those benefits.

    • Tee
      November 6, 2016 at 4:57 pm

      Totally agree. It works well, and is absolutely worth whatever extra resources it consumes. I have never noticed it overusing them anyway.

    • Dann Albright
      November 12, 2016 at 10:29 pm

      Those are all really good reasons, and your comment is a hell of a lot more useful than most of the responses we get about ABP! Thanks for sharing that.

  16. Doc
    November 5, 2016 at 5:34 pm

    A month or so after Adblock Origin came out, Mozilla fixed the Firefox bug that made AdBlock Origin superior to AdBlock Plus on memory usage. I switched back to AdBlock Plus because its integration with Element Hiding Helper was superior, and its better, cleaner "click" menu (without the huge "power" button).

    • Dann Albright
      November 12, 2016 at 10:28 pm

      I don't know about Firefox, as all of my research for this article was Chrome. But ABP still doesn't perform real well against other options when it comes to resource usage. I use uBlock Origin, and it does a fantastic job blocking, so I assume ABP's dominance is mostly down to name recognition at this point. Have you tried any alternatives?

  17. dmjab13
    November 4, 2016 at 11:47 pm

    Any replacements for HoverZoom? I love using it to browse reddit.

    • Mate
      November 5, 2016 at 12:04 pm

      Imagus

  18. Ibrahem
    November 4, 2016 at 7:10 pm

    The only one I use from those is Hover Zoom. Is there any good alternative for it ?

    • mark
      November 4, 2016 at 9:19 pm

      I've been using Imagus, it does a good job replacing Hover Zoom

      • Ibrahem
        November 5, 2016 at 12:12 am

        i'm gonna try it out. thanks.

    • Caden
      November 4, 2016 at 10:08 pm

      I've switched to Imagus, and it works great.

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