Fake Chrome Web Browser Extension Unwittingly Installed by 37,000 Users

Discussion in 'Mac Blog Discussion' started by MacRumors, Oct 10, 2017.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot

    MacRumors

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    A fraudulent browser extension was downloaded by 37,000 Chrome users after it sneaked past Google's Web Store vetting processes, it emerged on Tuesday.

    The fake extension was listed on the official Web Store until today and masqueraded as popular legitimate extension AdBlock Plus, which has over 10 million users. Once installed, the fake reportedly swamps infected computers with adverts and opens up tabs without the user's permission.

    The existence of the fake extension was revealed by anonymous cyber security personality @SwiftOnSecurity, but it's still not entirely clear if the fake compromised the data of the 37,000-odd users who inadvertently installed it on their browsers.

    Back in 2015, Google officially blocked Mac users from downloading Chrome extensions not hosted in its official Web Store, over concerns that malicious extensions were becoming rife.

    Given this latest breach of Google's vetting system, Chrome users are advised to carefully check the developer information of extensions before downloading them to ensure they are legitimate and not spoofing popular browser add-ons. We'll update this article if Google provides clarity on what went wrong this time around.

    Article Link: Fake Chrome Web Browser Extension Unwittingly Installed by 37,000 Users
     
  2. 840quadra Moderator

    840quadra

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    #2
    Checking dev info, reviews (if possible) and going direct to the source’s (developer) own website for their link to google can help with some of this.

    Accidentally installed a bogus extension on Firefox years ago, and learned that lesson. Thankfully only on my gaming rig.
     
  3. mariuslangz macrumors newbie

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    #3
    Would be interesting to get the ExtensionID so that we can scan our computers and have it removed if it's been installed on any of them
     
  4. JosephAW macrumors 65816

    JosephAW

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    #4
    Good thing the majority of Mac users don't touch chrome with a 10 foot pole.
     
  5. Traverse macrumors 604

    Traverse

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    #5
    I don’t know. I think many casual Mac users and extreme power users probably use Chrome
     
  6. Scottsoapbox macrumors 6502

    Scottsoapbox

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    #6
    It's the ad agencies getting revenge for all the blocked ads...
     
  7. johannnn, Oct 10, 2017
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2017

    johannnn macrumors 65816

    johannnn

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    #7
    Relevant rant. I really wish Apple drops the $99 developer price. There are so many small nifty apps and Safari extensions that are not hosted by Apple because the developer don't want to pay $99 per year. Which means I have to trust 1) their code, and 2) their servers. Would be much better if Apple vetted everything (stuff can sneak through, as seen in this article, but at least there is a vetting process).
     
  8. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

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    #8
    Ugh, I'm so careful of extensions I have in Chrome. On my work computer, I have none, and I think at home, I limit it to 1 or 2. I'm glad I dodged this bullet.
     
  9. iapplelove macrumors 68040

    iapplelove

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    #9
    I’ve never used chrome ever. I may be in the minority but Safari works good enough for my browsing needs.

    Edit: actually that’s a lie lol, as I remember needing google hangouts on my Mac so I had to download chrome a long time ago, but never use it.
     
  10. Ds6778 macrumors 6502

    Ds6778

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  11. jonnysods macrumors 603

    jonnysods

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    #11
    I'm not 100% sure about that. I for sure avoid pretty much all but web dev extensions that are trusted by peers. I think I have one installed.
     
  12. rols macrumors 6502

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    #12
    Did you mean "are hosted by Apple" or "aren't hosted by Apple"? Because the way you wrote it doesn't make a lot of sense.
     
  13. Leguna24 macrumors member

    Leguna24

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    #13
    I use a decent amount of extensions on my PC (video downloaders and other stuff) but on my Macs I’ve always stuck with Safari.
     
  14. 69Mustang macrumors 603

    69Mustang

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    #14
    This. Chrome on Mac's is the 2nd most popular choice. Safari 52%, Chrome 36%, FireFox 12% Interestingly, it's also the 2nd most popular choice on iOS. The percentages are vastly different though 96% to 4%. To be fair, choice and iOS aren't really words that belong in the same sentence when discussing default apps
     
  15. dmylrea macrumors 68020

    dmylrea

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    #15
    Not by much, though. According to this article from 2016, 51.8% of MacOS users use Safari vs. 36.2% use Chrome. So not a majority, but 36.2% is quite a few. 2017 stats would probably show more using Chrome.

    EDIT: Haha, 69Mustang! You beat me to it by a couple minutes!!! :)
     
  16. johannnn macrumors 65816

    johannnn

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    #16
    Fixed that spelling error!
     
  17. NIKKG macrumors regular

    NIKKG

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    #17
    I am not the biggest fan of Chrome, but I only like it because I can sync all my bookmarks and settings on my different PC's when I sign in and its easy to install extensions. I don't know why its so hard for someone else (Microsoft) to copy that. On my Note 8, I actually use the Samsung browser instead of Chrome because Samsung has a better user interface and can sync bookmarks as well as install ad blockers (something you can't do on chrome mobile).

    I wish Microsoft's Edge browser gets better, I'm starting to hate Google, they are becoming too evil. I hope a YouTube competitor comes along too as Google is starting to censor people with different viewpoints. Time for Antitrust charges and have this company split up.
     
  18. djeeyore25 macrumors 6502

    djeeyore25

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    #18
    Good thing I have Fraudulent Browser Extension Blocker Plus installed, though that might be fraudulent as well.
     
  19. WBRacing macrumors 6502a

    WBRacing

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    #19
  20. bwintx macrumors regular

    bwintx

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    #20
    Um, they do if they work in Windows-loving workplaces and want the convenience of syncing up their bookmarks between work and home. Not like there's still Safari for Windows.
     
  21. DNichter macrumors 68040

    DNichter

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    #21
    Google security is terrible. I'd never touch Android for this reason alone.
     
  22. 69Mustang macrumors 603

    69Mustang

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    #22
    Well this seems to be a reasonably hot taek.:rolleyes:
     
  23. Aetles macrumors regular

    Aetles

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    #24
    Well, if you never ever used it then maybe it sucks or maybe you're missing out on a better experience, you just don't know.

    I am a pragmatic person when it comes to browsers. I use all three (Chrome, Safari and Firefox) all day. It's very convenient to use all of them as a web developer and as an ordinary user for multiple reasons.

    No single browser is best all the time, they have different strengths, but I do prefer Chrome over the others by a margin and it's my main browser and has been for a while. Safari comes second and Firefox last.

    The dev tools are better in Chrome and the ugly-but-very-useful icons in tabs in Chrome is way, way more useful than no icons in Safari. There are more useful extensions to Chrome (but avoid the fake ones ;)).
     
  24. Traverse macrumors 604

    Traverse

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    #25
    I too use Safari 99% if the time, but back in college and in my family, a solid 80% of people used Chrome.

    I think most people just stick with what they know. Chrome is largely considered the standard,
     

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