Millions Hacked by Malicious Ad-Blocking Chrome Extensions

Chrome Extension Browser Hack

Google chrome extensions are typically installed on your browser to tailor Chrome functionality to your individual browsing preferences. It’s nice to have a simple extension that can scan for coupon codes while making purchases online, disable certain website to help you focus on work, or even block popups and ads from displaying while your browsing.

Unfortunately for over 20 Millions chrome users the add-blocking extension they downloaded may not have been worth the convenience.

It turns out, hackers had made a duplicate of a well-known ad-blocking extension and posted 5 different copies of it on the chrome web store for download. Each of the extensions had different names and were carefully modified for SEO (Search Engine Optimization) benefits to show up higher in the google rankings. Making it more likely for victims to download.

The extensions worked as intended. However what the user did not know is their information was being recorded while filling out information on the web. Information such as passwords, credit card information, and browsing history.

Luckily as soon as Google caught wind of what was going on they removed the extensions from the Web Store.

The 5 extensions that were removed include :

  1. AdRemover for Google Chrome™ (10 million+ users)
  2. uBlock Plus (8 million+ users)
  3. [Fake] Adblock Pro (2 million+ users)
  4. HD for YouTube™ (400,000+ users)
  5. Webutation (30,000+ users)

 

What can we learn from this?

  • Only install extensions that are going to really be a benefit to you or your company.
  • If you do install a chrome extension, make sure that it is created by a reliable company that you can trust.
  • If you are on the edge about the extension, do a little google search about the company and see if they are reputable.