End announced to all cryptocurrency mining extensions in Chrome Web Store.
Google has announced an end to all cryptomining extensions in its Chrome Web Store after a slew of other extensions were discovered to have cryptomining capabilities. The issue, which stems from the company’s extensions function policy, allowed developers to sneak mining scripts into other extensions and get thousands upon thousands of other computers to do it for you.
According to a report on the announcement by TechCrunch, this is actually quite a widespread problem. The overwhelming majority of mining extensions weren’t playing by the rules, as stated :”As it turns out, 90 percent of extensions that mine crypto don’t comply with those rules. The lure of cheap Monero is simply too great for some developers, so they try to smuggle their mining scripts into what look like legitimate extensions. Some of those get detected and removed outright and some actually make it into the store and have to be removed. Google is obviously not happy with that, as it’s not a great user experience. Those extensions tend to use a good amount of processing power, after all.”
A statement from Google on the removal of all cryptomining extensions explains how even the most seemingly harmless but highly useful extension can wreak havoc on users’ processing: “Over the past few months, there has been a rise in malicious extensions that appear to provide useful functionality on the surface, while embedding hidden cryptocurrency mining scripts that run in the background without the user’s consent. These mining scripts often consume significant CPU resources, and can severely impact system performance and power consumption.”
What that means for unaware Chrome users, is slower processing speeds due to the basic hijacking of their web browsers. Unfortunately, what it means for honest investors looking for a genuine (albeit nearly pointlessly slow) way to mine crypto currency is the task won’t be via a Chrome extension anymore.
This form of ‘cryptojacking’, as it’s come to be called, is just one of the ways that malicious developers can make others do the work for them. One South American location for a major international retailer was caught cryptojacking all of its customers’ computers over the free Wi-Fi connection in the store, although it appears to have been the internet service provider behind it rather than the retailer.