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Amazon says this browser extension is a major security risk

(Image credit: Shutterstock.com / ymgerman)

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, 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.

“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, adding it had a "commitment" to privacy, and that it works with security firms to ensure it doesn't cross any lines.

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Via The Verge