It’s easy to see why Google (and some 37,000 people) were tricked — the developer who packaged the adware into an extension used the name of an already popular and legitimate extension, AdBlock Plus.
Additionally, the bogus page in the Chrome store came with reviews. In short, the fraudulent extension looked pretty realistic. Twitter user SwiftOnSecurity, who regularly tweets about web security, posted an image of the devious extension:
Google eventually caught wind of the breach and removed the deceitful adware, but it remains unclear just how harmful the malware is for those who already downloaded the extension. At least one unfortunate user says they’re being hit with ads. In a screenshot of a review, posted by SwiftOnSecurity, the user states that the “instant this was added to Chrome started getting invasive ads with high volume levels opening new tabs.”
Though Google took down the adware, SwiftOnSecurity was unimpressed by Google’s failure to stop this malware from sneaking through and ending up conspicuously displayed in the Chrome store in the first place:
The 37,000 infected users probably hope this public shaming further motivates Google to buffer the Chrome store’s verification process. After all, malicious developers will only get more inventive if the problem isn’t fixed.
Featured Image Credit: Mark Lennihan/AP/REX/Shutterstock