Google banned Cryptocurrency mining extensions from Chrome Web Store

by Julie Splinters - -

Cryptomining will stop on Chrome – malicious or not

Google bans cryptocurrency miners from Chrome

On April 2nd, Google announced[1] that it is banning all the cryptocurrency mining extensions from Google Web store, including those that are particularly designed to do so. Additionally, Google promised to remove all existing extensions by the end of June.

Google allowed digital currency miners as long as their sole purpose was dedicated to cryptocurrency mining and every single user affected by it would be properly informed. While many users agree to offer some of their CPU power in order to browse websites ad-free, cybercriminals managed to abuse this feature and hide crypto-miners inside “useful” extensions.

One such cryptojacking example is the Archive Poster,[2] a popular Google Chrome extension used by millions of users. Allegedly, its purpose was to manage Tumblr posts. However, the malicious app was discovered to secretly mine Monero digital currency from all its victims.

The well-known torrent site The Pirate Bay[3] was accused of popularizing crypto mining extensions last year in order to be able to monetize on unsuspecting users. Ever since the abuse peaked as crooks tried to increase their profits while exploiting victims’ CPU power.

Google took a step further

Google Chrome has been the most successful browser in recent history[4], as it peaked in popularity at over 60% preference from users. As we are proceeding into 2018, it does not seem like Chrome is stepping down. Thus, it is not surprising that Google takes actions to protect millions of users whose CPU resources are illegally drained by crooks.

Google banned malicious cryptojacking extensions in the past. However, with the new policy in effect from Monday, none of the crypto miners will be allowed into Google Chrome store, including the previously-permitted ones. To justify the ban, James Wagner, Extensions Platform Product Manager, stated:

<…>Unfortunately, approximately 90% of all extensions with mining scripts that developers have attempted to upload to Chrome Web Store have failed to comply with these policies, and have been either rejected or removed from the store.

Google noted that extensions are a powerful tool allowing users to make the most out of their browser. However, the company finds it unacceptable that malicious software developers abuse the system and expose users to hidden risks.

Cryptojacking might still not be prevented completely

Cryptojacking affects not only regular users but high profile organizations, too. A Russian nuclear facility has been reported to be affected by cryptojacking extension that compromised several supercomputers on the plant. Additionally, Tesla, Google’s DoubleClick Ad service, and various governmental websites were affected by the same problem.

Crypto mining ban came soon after Google first announced removing all advertisements linked to cryptocurrency. Furthermore, internet giant was not the first one to do so: social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook made that announcement beforehand.

While the attempt to remove all cryptominers from Chrome is praiseworthy, it might still not be enough to eliminate the threat altogether. Malware developers are known to evolve their script and hide the mining capabilities of the extension successfully.

Thus, we advise users to check for their CPU usage from time to time and take actions[5] as soon as the suspicious activity is detected. After all, cryptojacking might lead permanent hardware damage.

Prevent websites, ISP, and other parties from tracking you

Private Internet Access is a VPN that can prevent your Internet Service Provider, the government, and third-parties from tracking your online and allow you to stay completely anonymous. The software provides dedicated servers for torrenting and streaming, ensuring optimal performance and not slowing you down. You can also bypass geo-restrictions and view such services as Netflix, BBC, Disney+, and other popular streaming services without limitations, regardless of where you are.

A VPN is also crucial when it comes to user privacy. Online trackers such as cookies can not only be used by social media platforms and other websites but also your Internet Service Provider and the government. Even if you apply the most secure settings via your web browser, you can still be tracked via apps that you are connected to the internet. Besides, privacy-focused browsers like Tor is are not an optimal choice due to diminished connection speed.

Therefore, to stay completely anonymous and prevent the ISP and the government from spying on you, you should employ Private Internet Access VPN. It will allow you to connect to the internet while being completely anonymous, prevent trackers, ads, as well as malicious content. Most importantly, you will prevent the illegal surveillance activities that NSA and other governmental institutions are performing behind your back.


Recover your lost files quickly

Unforeseen circumstances can happen at any time while using the computer: it can turn off due to a power cut, a Blue Screen of Death (BSoD) can occur, or random Windows updates can decide to reboot the machine when you went away for a few minutes. As a result, your schoolwork, important documents, and other data might be lost.

Additionally, you might also be attacked by malware that can corrupt your Windows or encrypt files with a robust encryption algorithm, and ask for a ransom in Bitcoin for the decryption tool. Cybercriminals might not deliver what they promised, however, so it is better to attempt alternative file recovery methods that could help you to retrieve at least some portion of the lost data.

Data recovery software is one of the options that could help you recover your files. Once you delete a file, it does not vanish into thin air – it remains on your system as long as no new data is written on top of it. Data Recovery Pro is recovery software that searchers for working copies of deleted files within your hard drive. By using the tool, you can prevent loss of valuable documents, school work, personal pictures, and other crucial files.

About the author
Julie Splinters - Computer optimization specialist

When it comes to computer optimization, Julie Splinters is the expert. Whether it is a slow smartphone, Windows, Mac or Linux operating system, she will find a solution within minutes.

Contact Julie Splinters
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