A Suspicious Plugin?

There’s a plugin called friGate that refers to itself a “proxy helper” and offers “smooth access to websites.” Therefore, I decided to test out the plugin to see what it would do.

friGate Light Chrome store page
The friGate Light page on the Chrome store.

In theory, like some other proxies or VPNs, it allows access to websites and services that may be blocked in your location. When testing it on a few websites that had previously been inaccessible in this location, it seemed to do the trick.

Afterward, something odd seemed to happen, however. When viewing search history on Google, there were almost immediately terms there that didn’t look familiar. Some time has passed since the first test, but it certainly was cause for apprehension.

The search terms were things like:

weather in kharkiv

bojack horseman episodes

peeling leather

I don’t know for certain whether or not these search terms were connected to the plugin, but it was the only recent change I had made to my system and/or accounts at the time, so that’s the only source I can think of.

One unusual aspect of the plugin that I noticed in its settings was that it has a default list of sites to access through the proxy, including some adult sites, casino sites, and carding forums. Depending on your location and ISP, you may or may not need to use special settings to access these sites:

As I’ve mentioned many times before on this blog, Tor can essentially achieve the same purpose (accessing blocked content), without having to put your trust in a dubious plugin. There are some VPNs that have this ability as well.

friGate also has an option to be able to access certain TLDs through the proxy. In its settings, you can enable it for .onion sites, as well as .coin, .emc, .lib, and .bazar sites (the ones that are part of Blockchain DNS). Even so, you can access these just by using Tor or the Blockchain DNS plugin.

All in all, friGate didn’t seem that helpful if you already had other options, like Tor, etc. I’m not positive that it was responsible for the random searches showing up in my history, but it was a little concerning. Has anyone else tried this plugin and experienced anything odd? Please leave a comment!

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