Malicious Browser Extensions Impact Millions of Users
500 malicious extensions with millions of users were recently removed from Chrome…
An article review.
If you’ve been using the internet for a long time, you may remember when it seemed like every organization and service offered a toolbar for users. While some of those toolbars were helpful, many people got tricked into installing malicious toolbars, which would often redirect users to sites other than the ones they intended to go to.
While the days of opening someone’s browser and seeing dozens of toolbars have come and gone, the same kind of malicious content can now be found in a new place: browser extensions. As a new article submitted by our own Chris Dietrich points out, 500 malicious extensions were recently removed from the Chrome store…and together those extensions had millions of users.
As with the browser toolbars of old these extensions often appeared to be legitimate, but would silently connect in the background to send users’ private data back to command and control servers. The extensions would also redirect browsers to streams of advertisements, some of which contained additional malware that would be downloaded to users’ computers.
Luckily there are ways that users can detect and avoid malicious extensions. Users are advised to check out the user reviews before installing, as the article noted the extensions in question had nearly none. Google is also working on new restrictions on how extensions can handle user data, and is offering bounties to developers who discover malicious code.
Original article by Lindsey O’Donnell writing for ThreatPost.
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