Google has several extensions for Chrome, unlike Windows. One such popular extension was mimicked by a phony extension, which was available on Chrome for download until now. The extension in question is AdBlock Plus, and its fake version was downloaded by over 37,000 users.
SwiftOnSecurity – an anonymous cybersecurity personality – was the first to spot the fake Chrome extension. Although 37,000 is not a huge number, given Google’s massive user base, those who already downloaded it could face some glitches. The fraudulent extension got through the verification process that Google has in place. Google discontinued the fake extension after they became aware of it.
The fake Chrome extension has the same name as the original one, with the only difference being a capitalized ‘b.’ The fake extension even used the same logo and keywords to dupe users, and make itself appear in the search results.
This cannot be dismissed as a stand-alone case, when it comes to fake apps in the Chrome web store. According to @SwiftOnSecurity, there are fake copies of popular extensions present on the web store that go unnoticed quite often. Also, for AdBlock Plus, this is not the first time a fake extension has tried to copy it, notes Neowin.
Google allows 37,000 Chrome users to be tricked with a fake extension by fraudulent developer who clones popular name and spams keywords. pic.twitter.com/ZtY5WpSgLt
— SpookyTayOnSecurity (@SwiftOnSecurity) October 9, 2017
Back in 2015, Google went on to block Windows and Mac users from downloading Chrome extensions not backed by the Chrome Web store. Back then, the search giant said that after bringing on the policy for the Windows users, there has been a drop of around 75% in the support requests for uninstalling unwanted extensions, notes The Verge.
This latest incident of a phony Chrome extension comes as Google is overhauling Chrome, adding new features and different visual screens. Reportedly, the search giant is already working on the ad-blocking feature, which will be unveiled for the Chrome users soon.
Talking about the ad-blocking feature during an event for publishers earlier this month, Google’s Senior Vice President of Ads & Commerce, Sridhar Ramaswamy, said, “We have to get a handle on the whole problem.” Further, the executive said that filtering will be done considering what is user-friendly and what is not based on the standards set by the Coalition for Better Ads.
Ramaswamy further added that the company had spent a fair amount of time to learn about the ad blockers. He said the quality ad-blocking third parties should not have a problem with Google’s own ad blocker.
In addition, to further enhance the user experience, Google is also bringing a capability to Chrome to mute irksome autoplay videos. However, this capability will come to Chrome somewhere in January next year.
Further, Google is also reportedly working on blocking tab-under behavior in Chrome, according to a document seen by Bleeping Computer. The term tab-under behavior refers to the action where a user is clicking or scrolling through a page, and the site makes a carbon copy of the page being viewed by the user, and shows an ad or a new website on the page the user was initially reading.