A fake AdBlock Plus extension was listed in Chrome’s official Web Store up until yesterday, with more than 37,000 people having downloaded it. Anonymous cybersecurity personality @SwiftOnSecurity tweeted about the fake extension and pointed out that imposters, like this fake AdBlock Plus, continue getting through the Google’s vetting process and into the store’s listings. That presents an especially tricky situation for users who might not carefully check each extension’s developer.
Google allows 37,000 Chrome users to be tricked with a fake extension by fraudulent developer who clones popular name and spams keywords. pic.twitter.com/ZtY5WpSgLt
— SwiftOnSecurity (@SwiftOnSecurity) October 9, 2017
In this case, a developer going by “Adblock Plus” intentionally created an extension that looks just like the legitimate AdBlock Plus, which is the most popular ad blocker extension and is developed by adblockplus.org. More than 10 million people use the legitimate AdBlock Plus service, but the fake AdBlock Plus still managed to convince 37,000 people to download it.
According to one of the reviewers (and a potential victim) of the fake AdBlock Plus, he started getting invasive ads that open lots of tabs after he installed it.
Unfortunately, it’s unclear if the extension was malicious or what data it might have compromised. It also isn’t clear how the company addressed the issue, so it may be best to re-install AdBlock Plus if you notice getting random ads after downloading it.
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