Google has banned all Chrome extensions manufactured to mine cryptocurrency from its Chrome web store with immediate effect. The company said that there has been a rise in the malicious extensions being registered on the Chrome store.
These banned browser extensions may appear to provide useful functionality to the onlookers, but instead, have embedded hidden cryptocurrency mining scripts that run in the background without the user’s consent. As required in the cryptocurrency mining, these scripts utilize significant CPU resources and severely impact performance with increased power consumption.
Google already has a ban on cryptocurrency-related ads on its platform. Other social media giants like Facebook and Twitter have also banned ads related to cryptocurrency tokens.
Google’s action reflects the growing Cryptojacking incidents
For the past year or so, Cryptojacking, the action of secretly using a PC’s CPU to mine cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin or Etherium without the user’s knowledge, has been on the rise with more cybercriminals joining the crime.
James Wagner, Extensions Platform Product Manager of Google, wrote on the Chromium blog,
Until now, Chrome Web Store policy has permitted cryptocurrency mining in extensions as long as it is the extension’s single purpose, and the user is adequately informed about the mining behavior. Unfortunately, approximately 90% of all extensions with mining scripts that developers have attempted to upload to Chrome Web Store have failed to comply with these policies, and have been either rejected or removed from the store.
Starting today, Chrome Web Store will no longer accept extensions that mine cryptocurrency.
Wagner said that the existing Chrome extensions that mine cryptocurrency will be delisted from the Chrome Web Store by late June. Extensions with blockchain-related purposes other than mining will continue to be permitted in the Web Store.
Google further informed that 90% of all extensions with mining scripts that developers have attempted to upload to Chrome Web Store recently have failed to comply with Google policies, and have been either rejected or removed from the store.