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7 chronic browser bugs plaguing the web

Peter Wayner | Oct. 18, 2016
From video glitches to memory leaks, today’s browser bugs are harder to pin down, even as they slow the web to a crawl

Malware

While it’s tempting to lay all of the blame for browser bugs on browser developers, it’s often unfair. Many of the problems are caused by malware designed to pose as useful extensions or plugins. In many cases, the malware does something truly useful while secretly stealing clicks or commerce in the background.

The problem is that the extension interface is pretty powerful. An extension can insert arbitrary tags and code into all websites. In the right hands, this is very cool, but it’s easy to see how the new code from the extension can bump into the code from the website. What? You didn’t want to redefine the behavior of the $ function?

This isn’t so much a bug as a deep, philosophical problem with a very cool feature. But with great power comes great responsibility -- perhaps greater than any extension programmer can muster. The best way to look at this issue is to realize it’s the one area where we, the users, have control. We can turn off extensions and limit them to only a few websites where there are no issues. The API is a bit too powerful for everyday use -- so powerful that it’s tempting to call extensions APIs the biggest bugs of all. But that would deny everything it does for us.

 

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