Google Bans Extensions That Deliver Malware and Adware from Chrome Web Store
Chrome browser and Chromebook users take note. It's recently been discovered that several extensions on the Google Chrome Web Store have been bought by malware companies and have started delivering malware and adware to users. According to the Sydney Morning Herald, two of these extensions -- Add to Feedly and Tweet This Page -- have already been banned by Google from the web store.
"These aren't regular banner ads that you see on web pages, these are invisible ads that work the background and replace links on every website that you visit into affiliate links," said Amit Agarwal, Add to Feedly's original developer, in a blog. "In simple English, if the extension is activated in Chrome, it will inject adware into all web pages."
Many of these extensions that have been bought were originally made by independent developers that created them without any ill intentions. According to LifeHacker, after the extensions were bought by malware companies, the tracking features and ads were added through automatic updates which can easily slip past users. Existing extensions already require a broad range of permissions, so the misbehaving features are often buried or hidden in the description or option pages from unassuming users.
How-To-Geek not only gave a detailed explanation of how the extensions have been collecting user data, but have also compiled a list of offending extensions that engage in misbehaviour. Make sure that you visit the list to look for a familiar extension that you're reliant on, and uninstall it. Unfortunately, switching to Mozilla Firefox won't do users much good either as it also has similar problems, though LifeHacker reckons that it's much less of an issue for Firefox users.