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

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Google Chrome Material Icon 450x450A 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

Top Rated Comments

Traverse Avatar
41 months 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
Score: 20 Votes (Like | Disagree)
JosephAW Avatar
41 months ago
Good thing the majority of Mac users don't touch chrome with a 10 foot pole.
Score: 17 Votes (Like | Disagree)
dmylrea Avatar
41 months 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!!! :)
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
johannnn Avatar
41 months 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).
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
maflynn Avatar
41 months 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.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
canadianreader Avatar
41 months ago
Good that I use Safari
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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