Fake Chrome Web Browser Extension Unwittingly Installed by 37,000 Users

A fraudulent browser extension was downloaded by 37,000 Chrome users after it sneaked past Google's Web Store vetting processes, it emerged on Tuesday.

The fake extension was listed on the official Web Store until today and masqueraded as popular legitimate extension AdBlock Plus, which has over 10 million users. Once installed, the fake reportedly swamps infected computers with adverts and opens up tabs without the user's permission.

The existence of the fake extension was revealed by anonymous cyber security personality @SwiftOnSecurity, but it's still not entirely clear if the fake compromised the data of the 37,000-odd users who inadvertently installed it on their browsers.

Back in 2015, Google officially blocked Mac users from downloading Chrome extensions not hosted in its official Web Store, over concerns that malicious extensions were becoming rife.

Given this latest breach of Google's vetting system, Chrome users are advised to carefully check the developer information of extensions before downloading them to ensure they are legitimate and not spoofing popular browser add-ons. We'll update this article if Google provides clarity on what went wrong this time around.

Tag: Chrome


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20 weeks ago

Good thing the majority of Mac users don't touch chrome with a 10 foot pole.

I don’t know. I think many casual Mac users and extreme power users probably use Chrome
Rating: 20 Votes
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20 weeks ago
Good thing the majority of Mac users don't touch chrome with a 10 foot pole.
Rating: 17 Votes
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20 weeks ago

Good thing the majority of Mac users don't touch chrome with a 10 foot pole.


Not by much, though. According to this article ('http://www.zdnet.com/article/which-browser-is-most-popular-on-each-major-operating-system/') from 2016, 51.8% of MacOS users use Safari vs. 36.2% use Chrome. So not a majority, but 36.2% is quite a few. 2017 stats would probably show more using Chrome.

EDIT: Haha, 69Mustang! You beat me to it by a couple minutes!!! :)
Rating: 6 Votes
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20 weeks ago
Good that I use Safari
Rating: 5 Votes
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20 weeks ago
Ugh, I'm so careful of extensions I have in Chrome. On my work computer, I have none, and I think at home, I limit it to 1 or 2. I'm glad I dodged this bullet.
Rating: 5 Votes
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20 weeks ago
Relevant rant. I really wish Apple drops the $99 developer price. There are so many small nifty apps and Safari extensions that are not hosted by Apple because the developer don't want to pay $99 per year. Which means I have to trust 1) their code, and 2) their servers. Would be much better if Apple vetted everything (stuff can sneak through, as seen in this article, but at least there is a vetting process).
Rating: 5 Votes
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20 weeks ago

I’ve never used chrome ever. I may be in the minority but Safari works good enough for my browsing needs.


Well, if you never ever used it then maybe it sucks or maybe you're missing out on a better experience, you just don't know.

I am a pragmatic person when it comes to browsers. I use all three (Chrome, Safari and Firefox) all day. It's very convenient to use all of them as a web developer and as an ordinary user for multiple reasons.

No single browser is best all the time, they have different strengths, but I do prefer Chrome over the others by a margin and it's my main browser and has been for a while. Safari comes second and Firefox last.

The dev tools are better in Chrome and the ugly-but-very-useful icons in tabs ('https://daringfireball.net/2017/08/safari_should_display_favicons_in_its_tabs') in Chrome is way, way more useful than no icons in Safari. There are more useful extensions to Chrome (but avoid the fake ones ;)).
Rating: 4 Votes
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20 weeks ago
Google security is terrible. I'd never touch Android for this reason alone.
Rating: 4 Votes
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20 weeks ago

I don’t know. I think many casual Mac users and extreme power users probably use Chrome


I’ve never used chrome ever. I may be in the minority but Safari works good enough for my browsing needs.

Edit: actually that’s a lie lol, as I remember needing google hangouts on my Mac so I had to download chrome a long time ago, but never use it.
Rating: 4 Votes
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20 weeks ago

There are so many small nifty apps and Safari extensions that are hosted by Apple because the developer don't want to pay $99 per year.


Did you mean "are hosted by Apple" or "aren't hosted by Apple"? Because the way you wrote it doesn't make a lot of sense.
Rating: 3 Votes
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