Are Google+ and Facebook Extensions for Chrome Safe?

Over at LockerGnome’s new YouTube channel, Questions to Answer, Gnomie Morgan Ellis (MorganEqualsTech) asks: What Google Chrome extensions for Google+ do you use?

Brandon Wirtz responds:

“I don’t use them, because I don’t trust them. The way they work is basically by getting your user name and password, and then logging into Facebook and Google+, and moving information back and forth. They’re not using OAuth or one of the methods that you can revoke. So the only way you can break them if you decide that they’re no longer safe is to change your password in both systems.

Are Google+ and Facebook Extensions for Chrome Safe?“So I don’t do this.

“There’s also been some hinting that because these extensions are violating the Google terms of service by logging into its system in this way, and violating the Facebook terms of service by logging into its system in this way, that you could, in fact, get your account banned by using either of these extensions.

“No one has had that happen yet, but in a war between social networks, it’s not beyond the realm of possibility.”

So “safe” is a relative term, and not really applicable in this situation. The safest (and we would almost never say 100% “safe” when you’re doing anything on the Internet) way to use these networks is to play by the rules and use good password common sense (e.g., not sharing passwords with others, not using the same password across networks, and changing your passwords regularly). Of course it should go without saying that having a Post-It note stuck to your office monitor that visibly declares your password to the world isn’t the brightest way to ensure security, either. But you’re a LockerGnome reader, so we’re just going to assume that you know better. Right? Right?

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Our resident "Bob" (pictured here through the lens of photographer Jason DeFillippo) is in love with a woman who talks to animals. He has a fondness for belting out songs about seafaring and whiskey (arguably inappropriate in most social situations). He's arm-wrestled robots and won. He was born in a lighthouse on the storm-tossed shores of an island that has since been washed away and forgotten, so he's technically a citizen of nowhere. He's never killed in anger. He once underwent therapy for having an alien in his face, but he assures us that he's now feeling "much better." Fogarty also claims that he was once marooned along a tiny archipelago and survived for months using only his wits and a machete, but we find that a little hard to believe.