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  • Malwarebytes Releases Browser Extension

    Posted on Bluetrix Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Home Forums AskWoody support Questions: Browsers and desktop software Malwarebytes Releases Browser Extension

    This topic contains 3 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  anonymous 2 weeks, 1 day ago.

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    • #1960159 Reply

      Bluetrix
      AskWoody MVP

      Malwarebytes released a Browser Extension (beta version in July ’18) for Firefox and Chrome. All the usual was promised, pop-up blocking, web security, speed up your web experience, etc. MWB extension is now out of beta, Version 2.0.4. 14Mb file size. This is as of Sep,17 2019.

      This extension has a lot of great selling points, except one, which of course isn’t included in their description.

      From MWB website, an excerpt from their Browser Guard marketing description:

      On the other hand, Browser Guard blocks more than just domains and IP addresses. Not only does it recognize malicious websites based on their behavior that are not in the database (yet), it also blocks advertisements and trackers. These are not always malicious, but they usually do not improve user experience and blocking them can speed up your browsing up to four times.

      MWB says their Premium AV doesn’t offer as much browser security as their free browser extension.

      Looking at Malwarebytes Premium, it blocks the IP and domains for all running applications, where Browser Guard does this only for the browser the extension is installed on.

      As far as I can tell, a browser is an application. Evidently in this case MWB makes a distinction between applications and browsers. The core of this mystery is evident in permissions you grant when installing the extension.

      As much as I would like to try MWB browser extension, I have reservations. My main concern is what MWB is allowed do when the extension is installed. It sounds so Googlesque.

      MWB statement “Browser Guard combats privacy abuse”, I find slightly amusing after reading this. From Firefox’s page on what this extension is allowed to do.

      Permissions:

      This extension can, according to Mozilla

      1. Access your data for all websites
      2. Download files and read and modify the browser’s download history
      3. Access browser tabs (possibly even recently closed tabs )
      4. Store unlimited amount of client-side data

      u/ripesashimi  said this in a post comparing this MWB extension to Ublock Origin while this extension was in beta:

      Also no log so no way to tell which has been blocked.

      I read that as no log, no way of telling what they are doing at all.  That is a Googlesque scary proposition.

      I use MWB AV, I like it’s ease of use and the speed of it’s manual scans. Coupled with Windows Defender and computer use common sense I’ll be okay.

      I haven’t installed the MWB extension, I’ll keep using Ublock Origin and AdAware, they are much less intrusive and one click enables/disables protection (White Lists) a website. With MWB you have to open the extension and change settings, no on/off switch.

      I’m not sold on this extension. Bummer.
      ymmv

      Windows10 Home 1809 | Mint19 on VM

      4 users thanked author for this post.
    • #1961360 Reply

      Geo
      AskWoody Plus

      I use ADWCleaner and AdBlocker Ultimate.

      • #1962972 Reply

        Bluetrix
        AskWoody MVP

        I use ADWCleaner and AdBlocker Ultimate.

        @geo, ADWCleaner is a Malwarebytes program. It’s an on demand scan program, not a tool bar extension.

        AdBlocker Ultimate. What can I say, it’s Googlesque. As with MWB Browser Guard you have to manually enter sites you don’t want blocked. It doesn’t offer the one click on/off option for websites like Adaware and Ublock Origin does.

        I will never use Chrome for the same reason I will not use Browser Guard, no privacy control over my data if I accept their terms.

        My post is about what I perceive as a privacy flaw in a new browser extension that I can’t accept, by a developer I do use other products from, and a simple comparison to other extensions I use daily.  ymmv

         

        Windows10 Home 1809 | Mint19 on VM

    • #1969325 Reply

      anonymous

      I appreciate you taking the time to review the Malwarebytes Browser Guard extension, and would like to respond to the concerns you’ve raised about permissions.

      For reference I’ve included the permissions as published on the Mozilla site for Malwarebytes Browser Guard, uBlock Origin, and Adaware.  As you can see the very nature of an Ad blocking extension requires fundamental permissions that we all share in common.

      The only permission that we have that the other two do not is “Download files and read and modify the browser’s download history”.  This is present in ours alone because it’s a service only we provide, that of blocking potential malicious downloads.  In order to provide this service we’re required to present this permission.  I can assure you that we do not download any files ourselves nor do we modify the download history, but alas we do not control the wording of the permission statement.

      As for the lack of logs, this was true in the Beta version and as a result of customer feedback we included the blocking information on a newly created statistics page in our launch product.

      Malwarebytes Browser Guard

      Permissions:

      This extension can, according to Mozilla

      1. Access your data for all websites
      2. Download files and read and modify the browser’s download history
      3. Access browser tabs (possibly even recently closed tabs)
      4. Store unlimited amount of client-side data

      uBlock Origin

      Permissions:

      This extension can, according to Mozilla

      1. Access your data for all websites
      2. Read and modify privacy settings
      3. Access browser tabs (possibly even recently closed tabs)
      4. Store unlimited amount of client-side data
      5. Access browser activity during navigation

      Adaware

      Permissions:

      This extension can, according to Mozilla

      1. Access your data for all websites
      2. Read and modify privacy settings
      3. Access browser tabs (possibly even recently closed tabs)
      4. Store unlimited amount of client-side data
      5. Access browser activity during navigation

      On the topic of the level of web-based protection offered by each Malwarebytes Premium and Browser Guard, while there are some overlaps when blocking domains and IPs, each product has additional features not included in the other. As you noted, Malwarebyte Premium offers web protection at the driver level, so it can block malicious inbound and outbound connection attempts. Browser Guard does not have the ability to do this. But since Browser Guard protection is at the browser level, it can leverage heuristics and behavioral data from the web pages themselves. This means Browser Guard can block certain newly created malicious web pages promoting such malicious activity as technical support scams, phishing, etc. purely via heuristic analysis.

      I hope you’ll give Malwarebytes Browser Guard another look.  Our current product version is 2.0.7 and we’ll continue to release additional features as time permits.

       

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