Google takes down Chrome extension that was secretly mining for cryptocurrency

Google Chrome has taken down a popular extension from the Chrome web store, after it was found that this plugin was illegally deploying a cryptocurrency miner for the past couple of weeks.

By: Tech Desk | Updated: January 1, 2018 3:07:53 pm
Google Chrome, Google Chrome extension, Google Chrome cryptocurrency mining, Cryptocurrency mining, Bitcoin, Google Chrome extension taken down Google Chrome has taken down a popular extension from the Chrome web store, after it was found that this plugin was illegally deploying a cryptocurrency miner

Google Chrome has taken down a popular extension from the Chrome web store, after it was found that this plugin was illegally deploying a cryptocurrency miner for the past couple of weeks. The web extension called Archive Poster had over 105,000 users, before it was eventually taken down by Google once the issue came to light.

Report of the illegal cryptocurrency mining was first reported by BleepingComputer. According to the report, the extension did not ask for use permission and would hijack the CPU to mine for Monero during the entire duration when Chrome was open. Searching for the Chrome extension in the Web Store no longer shows the original version, though a so-called ‘Safe’ version of Archive Poster does come up in search results.

According to reports, this extension is a mod for Tumblr, which allowed users to reblog, post, queue drafts, etc from the blog archive. Interestingly users had been posting negative reviews about the Chrome extension from early December. The report on Bleeping Computer points out the issue was first highlighted by Troy Mursch, who is a US-based security researcher. He pointed out there is “Coinhive cryptojacking code is hidden in a JavaScript file,” which is loaded from a particular URL.

For those who are unaware, in order to create new cryptocurrency, nodes (computers) in the network need to mine for more of these and this requires considerable computing energy, which involves CPU power and electricity. Computers on the Bitcoin network for example, will need to solve complex mathematical problems, update the block chain records in order to get new bitcoins.

The growing popularity of Bitcoins and other forms of cryptocurrency also means that such illegal methods of mining will likely rise.  As users pointed out in case of the Archive Poster, it was slowing down computers and eating up CPU time. However, it looks like Google has filed woken up and taken action against the extension.

 

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