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Amazon says this browser extension is a major security risk

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Amazon has warned users to exercise caution when using a popular online shopping browser extension.

Honey, which helps consumers search for coupons that get them deals or money off when shopping online, has been flagged by the retail giant as a security threat following fears it may be tracking user browsing habits.

The tool is available as a free browser extension across Chrome, Firefox, Safari and other popular browsers, and counts millions of users across the world.

Tracking

Amazon's warning, which was first spotted by Politico editor Ryan Hutchins (opens in new tab), says that Honey "tracks your private shopping behavior, collects data...and can read or change any of your data on any website you visit." It goes on to advise users that, "to keep your data private and secure, uninstall this extension immediately."

The warning allegedly began appearing on Amazon's site on December 20th, in the peak of the holiday shopping season, leading many commentators to question the sudden change in Amazon's tone, given that Honey has been compatible with Amazon for years. 

Some have suggested the move is linked to the $4 billion takeover deal of Honey by PayPal back in November 2019, with Amazon feeling threatened by its competitor's big-name acquisition.

“Our goal is to warn customers about browser extensions that collect personal shopping data without their knowledge or consent,” an Amazon spokesperson told The Verge (opens in new tab).

“We only use data in ways that directly benefit Honey members — helping people save money and time — and in ways they would expect,” a Honey spokesperson told Wired (opens in new tab), adding it had a "commitment" to privacy, and that it works with security firms to ensure it doesn't cross any lines.

  • Keep your privacy secured online with the best VPN services of 2020

Via The Verge (opens in new tab)

Mike Moore
Deputy Editor, TechRadar Pro

Mike Moore is Deputy Editor at TechRadar Pro. He has worked as a B2B and B2C tech journalist for nearly a decade, including at one of the UK's leading national newspapers and fellow Future title ITProPortal, and when he's not keeping track of all the latest enterprise and workplace trends, can most likely be found watching, following or taking part in some kind of sport.