Google Bans Bad Extensions from Chrome

Tuesday, April 7, 2015 @ 06:04 PM gHale

In an effort to make the browsing experience with Chrome a better one, Google recently removed 192 extensions from its Web Store.

The action came after a group of researchers at the University of California, Berkeley carried out a study on ad injectors and devised a method to catch the bad extensions engaging in potentially malicious activity.

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Ad injection utilities are giving trouble to users of all browsers, regardless of the operating system they use, according to the study, which will release May 1. More than this, the practice is detrimental to advertisers and publishers, too.

Aside from the risk of man-in-the-middle attacks, users can also end up tricked into installing dangerous software.

Advertisers suffer due to the fact they cannot keep track of where their banners display and publishers do not receive any monetary reward for showing them, since ads end up forced on their websites.

Google, after receiving the results of the research and weighing in the complaints on ad injectors from more than 100,000 Chrome users since the beginning of the year, decided to do something in order to raise awareness of the extensions that could lead to harmful consequences, by releasing the report from the researchers.

Chrome has some simple policies for developers to be able to add their product to the store and keep users protected against nefarious actions.

Google software engineer Nav Jagpal said in a blog post, the data is bound to make some ripples and would probably prompt other software developers to change their opinion about ad injection techniques.

One of the findings said more than 5 percent of the people visiting Google websites have at least one ad injector present in their web browser (Chrome, Firefox or IE). That is a lot, considering that receives daily visits from over 39 million unique IP addresses.

Moreover, half of this 5 percent user samples have at least two injectors installed and about one-third of them have at least four pieces of such software on their machine.

Another detail included in the report is that 34 percent of the extensions from Chrome with the ability to inject ads ended up classified as malware.

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