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Spammers buy Chrome extensions and turn them into adware

Changes in Google Chrome extension ownership can expose thousands of users to aggressive advertising and possibly other threats, two extension developers have recently discovered.

At least two Chrome extensions recently sold by their original developers were updated to inject ads and affiliate links into legitimate websites opened in users’ browsers.

The issue first came to light last week when the developer of the “Add to Feedly” extension, a technology blogger named Amit Agarwal, reported that after selling his extension late last year to a third-party, it got transformed into adware. The extension had over 30,000 users when it was sold.

A second developer, Roman Skabichevsky, confirmed Monday that his Chrome extension called “Tweet This Page” suffered a similar fate after he sold it at the end of November.

Skabichevsky accepted an offer to sell the simple extension for $500 because he didn’t have time to improve it anymore.

”A woman named Amanda who contacted me said they wanted the extension ‘for further development’,” Skabichevsky said via email. It was weird because the extension’s code is open sourced so anyone can work on it, “but I sold it anyway, thinking it would be better for the world. I was so wrong!”

 

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Re: Spammers buy Chrome extensions and turn them into adware

I don't use Chrome. :smileyhappy:

 

TH

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Posts: 5,198
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Re: Spammers buy Chrome extensions and turn them into adware

I have tried a few browsers and always come back to Firefox. I did not try Chrome though because I got fed up with so many things trying to force me to install it with those check boxes, the more I am forced to do something the less likely I will do it.

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Re: Spammers buy Chrome extensions and turn them into adware

I just love Maxthon Cloud (not what you might think it is based on the name).  Light & fast, and not specifically targeted yet as far as I can see...and whilst it does not get automatic WSA protection you can add it to the required modules, i.e., Application Protection, to improve the cover.

 

I would heartily recommend trying it. :smileywink:

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Posts: 5,198
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Registered: ‎06-12-2013

Re: Spammers buy Chrome extensions and turn them into adware

I have not heard of that one for several years now and had forgotten all about it in fact. You have got me curious now and I will go and take a look even though I will not be ditching FF.

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Re: Spammers buy Chrome extensions and turn them into adware

A few sources have posted an update to this story as of this morning. According to a number of posts, such as this article from The Inquirer, Google has pulled the two extensions from its Chrome Web Store.

 

"The two apps Add To Feedly and Tweet This Page previously were reputable apps, but had been bought by unscrupulous parties who took advantage of the apps' good reputations."


Amit Agerwal, the developer of the Add To Feedly app went on to admit that it was probably not a good idea to sell the add-on and apologized to existing users.

 

The article also mentioned that the co-author of Honey (another popular Chrome add-on) said on Reddit that he was also approached by hackers who wanted to do the same with his app. However, he was quick to clarify that Honey didn't "fall prey to such a scam and continues to be a reputable app."

 

It looks like these types of reputable-turned-malicious apps are becoming popular. This is yet another reason why it's so important to arm your computer with great internet security in today's age of new and ever-increasing malware attacks.

 

You can read the full Inquirer article by clicking the link in the beginning of the post.

 

Google Pulls 2 Chrome Extensions.jpg

(Source: PCWorld)

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Re: Spammers buy Chrome extensions and turn them into adware

Nice one Jasper...I use IE, FF & Maxthon...for different types of browsing...but FF seems to have gained weight recently and so is no longer my favorite browser.

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Re: Spammers buy Chrome extensions and turn them into adware


TripleHelix wrote:

I don't use Chrome. :smileyhappy:

 

TH


I DO use Chrome, but I only have 2 extensions in it.  

 

Webroot Password Manager

Webroot Filtering Extension

 

I think I should be safe from this for the foreseeable future.  :smileyhappy:


David, (shorTcircuiT)

      

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Re: Spammers buy Chrome extensions and turn them into adware

They need to give some kinda notice to the user when it changes hands....

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Re: Spammers buy Chrome extensions and turn them into adware

No Opera folks here?

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