3

One image can tell more than a thousand words... Is what this extension is asking for reasonable?

There are (at least?) five actions it is requesting permission that I do not see what it would need for:

  1. Read all your data on the websites you visit
  2. Change all your data on the websites you visit
  3. Manage your apps
  4. Manage your extensions
  5. Manage your themes

PS: Viber is an Instant Messaging platform, similar to WhatsApp. This extension allows for using Viber inside Chrome. Otherwise, to use it in a PC one has to install the Viber app.

Permission request dialog for extension in Google Chrome

For the purpose of the text search features, and indexing, the alert says:

Add "Viber"?
It can:
Read and change all your data on the websites you visit
Manage your apps, extensions, and themes

1

Whenever you're considering whether to install a new extension it's important to weigh the risk with the potential reward.

This particular extension has the ability to modify the webpage on any page you view, it does this in order to allow you to share images with a single click, or copy things to onenote.

While this particular extension looks pretty benign, there's always the potential the company loses control of their extension. This could happen through compromise of the account (attack) or by the company choosing to sell the extension to someone else. There's been a number of extension authors recently that have decided to sell the extensions they have made, and a new company now can change it however they want, often without having to notify you whatsoever.

Is the ability to share an image with a single click, or save text to one note within your browser worth the risk? That's something you have to weigh yourself.

  • I agree with your general comments. This question aimed at the specifics (please see edited OP, which makes this more clear). Your second paragraph refers to this, but I do not see a few things: 1) what does "sharing images with a single click" mean (perhaps an example?), 2) if Viber extension is enabling that action (whatever it means), 3) which of the 5 items I listed is required for this action (I suspect perhaps only item 1 would be needed). Something similar as for "copying things to onenote". Would you mind explaining this a little bit more? – sancho.s Nov 4 '18 at 10:54
  • 1
    I wasn't familiar with vibers extension so I googled it and looked at it's functionality. Is this the extension you are talking about? chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/viber/… that was the one where saw when I searched for the extension. 1) the screenshots talk about sharing images, among other functionality. 2) I'm not sure what you mean by this part. 3) many apps request more permissions than they need since people usually don't care about the prompts. CONT next comment – Daisetsu Nov 4 '18 at 17:12
  • cont the read ability is needed so it can search for images, text, or anything else on the page that it may want to modify in order to add it's new functionality. The second permission is needed in order to insert it's own JavaScript to allow you to use the Viber functions IN the same page, rather than having to right click on an element. Permissions 3, 4, and 5 don't have any discernable purpose but it may just be so they can tell what other apps you're using in case there's a bug. On the other hand they could be selling ALL your browing data or personal info. It's important to cont – Daisetsu Nov 4 '18 at 17:15
  • cont read the privacy policy and trust the company. – Daisetsu Nov 4 '18 at 17:16
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Reasonable is quite an open definition, I would even consider it personal on this matter.

Considering the purpose of Viber (messaging app), I don't ever see the need to read and change all your data in every website you access. This does not even come close to reasonable per my personal standards. This seems more like those flashlight Android apps that requests access to every piece of information on your phone.

Being an average Whatsapp user, I don't understand why Viber does not implement a similar solution to that of Whatsapp (webapp), that does not require to read and change all my data in all websites that I access.

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