Google Discontinued Two Chrome Extensions which Served Malicious Ads
Blogs.wsj.com reported on 19th January, 2014, stating that Google had discontinued two of its Chrome browser extensions after discovering that the software included code that projected such ads to people which violated the terms of service of the company.
The two extensions yanked out by Google are "Add to Feedly" and "Tweet This page."
The two extensions had countable followings by many users but these were recently bought by the original developer. These owners took advantage of a Chrome feature which allowed developers to update their extensions without giving any notification to users. Further, these updates also used to add malware ads to their extensions.
Latimes.com published a report on 20th January, 2014, quoting elaboration on the ads by Amit Agarwal, original developer of Add to Feedly. According to him, the ads were not regular banner ads seen on web pages. They were invisible ads which work at the background and do the harm by replacing links on every website visited into affiliate links. According to him, if the extension had been activated in Chrome, then it lead to injection of hadware into all web pages.
Agarwal said that the software 'Add to Feedly' began delivering malware after about a month of selling it.
Users who realized that their browsing was affected by spam, embedded affiliate links and pop-up ads due to the extension, complained about the same on Google web store. This brought the problem to the attention of the developer, who is helpless to see his work being changed into a revenue-generating piece of adware as the ownership would have transferred by then.
Unfortunately, this is not an isolated case. It is suggested that we need to keep a better eye on the extensions and remove them immediately if any suspicious activity is reported. Many malware companies approached Reddit, a developer of voucher code finger Honey which is a Chrome extension with over 700,000 users, and tried to purchase the software. Every offer was rejected though some firms offered upto six figures per month.
The removal of two extensions by Google came, after it updated its Chrome Web Store policies in December. The recently imposed bans suggest that the company is planning to take a harder revenge against those who take advantage of the users of the company.
» SPAMfighter News - 29-01-2014