Chrome users that have recently installed AdBlock Plus browser extension might want to take a closer look at what they’ve added to their browser – there’s a good chance they may have been scammed.
Security researchers have identified a fake Adblock Plus extension which has made its way past Google’s verification process and into the in the Chrome Web Store - right next to the real one, which has more than 10 million users.
The fake offering was reportedly online for quite some time, as it wasn’t until SwiftOnSecurity tweeted about it that the fake add-on was removed.
However by this time, the add-on had already been installed 37,000 times.
SwiftOnSecurity says the fake extension was created by a "fraudulent developer who clones popular name and spams keywords."
It is still unclear just how dangerous this fake extension is. According to multiple reviews posted on the Chrome Web Store, after installation, users started seeing a large amount of invasive ads that opened a lot of tabs. So far, this was identified as the only consequence of downloading the fraudulent add-on, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be the only one.
Google is staying silent on the matter.
Ad blocking has become very popular in recent years, prompting many internet giants to change their approach to digital ads. Facebook has changed its algorithms to bypass ad blockers. Google has upgraded its ad policies to improve user experience, hoping users would disable ad blockers in return. Even some mobile networks are testing a network-wide ad blocking feature.
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