At least 8 browser extensions sold extremely sensitive data about their users to a data broker, who then sold access to that data in real time to unknown buyers, according to a report from researcher Sam Jadali.

Why it matters: The broker sold a continuously updated list of what sites users visited, including page titles, location and computer information about the user. That data, viewed in near real time, can severely hamper user privacy and security.

Details: Jadali discovered the following browser extensions feeding data to the broker: Hover Zoom, SpeakIt!, SuperZoom, SaveFrom.net Helper, FairShare Unlock, PanelMeasurement, Branded Surveys and Panel Community Surveys.

  • The extensions range in users from 1 to more than 1 million.
  • The extensions are for Chrome and FireFox, and would have received user permission to observe browsing behaviors on the web when first installed. But Jadali writes that only 4 of those extensions thoroughly explained that browser data would be collected.
  • Jadali is not releasing the name of the data broker.

Threat level: We don’t know that any data was used maliciously. But there’s a clear way that real-time data could be used maliciously.

  • Many sites use temporary links as a security measure. Jadali notes that when an infected machine sent an image file over a chat app, a web link to that image appeared on the broker's page to that image. The link only worked for a very short period of time.
  • A project management service included important information in the page titles, including engineering missteps at 2 major companies.
  • Other sites include critically important information in the web address itself. Links to various airline sites included account holder names.

Go deeper

Updated 20 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Politics: Fauci: Trump hasn't been to a COVID task force meeting in months — Trump claims COVID "will go away" during debate.
  2. Sports: The youth sports exodus continues — Big Ten football is back.
  3. Health: How to help save 130,000 livesFDA approves Gilead's remdesivir as treatment How the pandemic might endMany U.S. deaths were avoidable.
  4. Retail: Santa won't greet kids at Macy's this year.
  5. World: Spain and France exceed 1 million cases.
36 mins ago - Health

Fauci: Trump hasn't been to a COVID task force meeting in months

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

President Trump has not attended a White House coronavirus task force meeting in “several months,” NIAID director Anthony Fauci told MSNBC on Friday.

Why it matters: At the beginning of the pandemic, the task force, led by Vice President Mike Pence, met every day, but in the "last several weeks," members have held virtual meetings once a week, Fauci said, even as the number of new cases continues to surge in the country.

1 hour ago - Health

How to help save 130,000 lives

People wear face masks outside Grand Central Terminal in New York City. Photo: Noam Galai/Getty Images

Nearly 130,000 fewer people will die of COVID-19 this winter if 95% of Americans wear face masks in public, according to research published Friday.

Why it matters: “Increasing mask use is one of the best strategies that we have right now to delay the imposition of social distancing mandates," Dr. Christopher Murray of the University of Washington told the N.Y. Times.