Chrome Store was found hosting a fake Adblock Plus extension which inundated users with more ads instead of blocking those.
Users of the Chrome browser are in for a shock given reports of a fake Adblock Plus extension having made it to the Chrome Web Store. That is not all as 37,000 users are also reported to have downloaded and installed the extension as well.
The anomaly was detected by the security personality SwiftOnSecurity that first brought it to the notice of Google. Unfortunately for the affected users, the fake Adblock extension was seemingly as good as the real one, complete with user reviews the majority of whom advocated its use to others. The developer name mentioned is also ‘Adblock Plus,’ which is another decoy that led users to believe it to be the real thing.
However, one of the users who had downloaded the fake Adblock Plus said the extension functioned just the opposite of what it was supposed to do. Instead of blocking ads, he got blasted with ads that also started to open several tab on its own as well. It is not clear if the extension got into doing other nasty stuff, like stealing user information and such.
Google is yet to officially respond to the development but has been prompt to bring down the extension after it was brought to its notice. So the best and only way for users to detect if they have got on the fake thing is to see if they are getting random ads even after the Adblock extension is active. Of course, they need to uninstall the fake one and download the original Adblock Plus if that be the case.
SwiftOnSecurity also mentioned the fake extension is the handiwork of a developer who specializes in clones of ‘popular name and spams keywords.’ What is also intriguing is that the fake extension could made it through the standard Google verifications and still get listed at the Chrome Store alongside the original.
This also isn’t the first time that the Chrome Store hosted fake apps, with the most recent incident coming to light early this year itself when a hacker managed to place a third party app on the store after having named it ‘Google Docs’. Google had then stated it would be taking stringent measures to ensure only genuine apps get listed at the Chrome Store. The latest incident proves there is still some work to be done.