I was doing some work with Burp Suite through Chrome (which I don't often do) and very soon I realised that all of my requests were being relayed to a domain
edatasales.com. After probing around a bit, I narrowed it down to the Easy Auto Refresh plugin for Chrome, which currently has over half a million downloads. Disabling this plugin also stopped all requests to
A sample request looks something like this:
It includes a number of things, an important one being the
events parameter. This parameter is simply a base64 encoded string containing, amongst other things, the URL you visited and your device's location.
Every single URL, its referrer, how you got to that site, your location, etc. are being sent to some server hosted using DigitalOcean, which is what the domain
edatasales.com resolves to.
The last part of the extension's description on its Chrome web store page mentions this:
The terms themselves are as follows:
However, the information being sent is hardly anonymous, and the data is being sent from all visited pages - the extension doesn't have to be in use, just enabled in the extensions menu. I imagine most people install this extension for a one-time use and then forget about it, just as I did.
NOTE: Other plugins offered by this dev are New Tab Changer and Email Exporter. I have not tested whether these extensions also harvest your data, but personally, I wouldn't use these extensions either.
I did report this on the Chrome web store, however, knowing how slow Google is to handle reports it might be weeks until this is addressed. Here's to hoping that's not the case.
This does make one wonder about the current state of the Chrome web store and other Google-run app stores. The Play store comes in mind, as there have been reports of malicious apps being on the store for weeks after being reported. Google needs to step up their game before they are starting to be seen as untrustworthy.
EDIT: Looks like this has been discovered before, 2 months ago. The fact that this has still not been removed from the store, and that the extension still tracks your data, is troublesome.