Google Bans All Chrome Extensions That Mine Cryptocurrency

Cryptocurrency mining extensions will no longer be accepted into the Chrome Store. Existing extensions will be removed in late June.

Cryptocurrency mining browser extensions have been banned from the Google Chrome Store. Google announced its decision on Monday and said that existing extensions will begin to be removed from the store on July 1. 

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The ban seems to be related to an increase in non-compliant add-ons. Chrome announced the ban in a blog post on April 2.

“Over the past few months, there has been a rise in malicious extensions that appear to provide useful functionality on the surface, while embedding hidden cryptocurrency mining scripts that run in the background without the user’s consent. These mining scripts often consume significant CPU resources, and can severely impact system performance and power consumption.” 

Google Bans All Chrome Extensions That Mine Cryptocurrency
Source: Chromium Blog

Chrome has strict policies regarding what extensions are allowed in the store. In the statement from the company, Google said, "approximately 90% of all extensions with mining scripts that developers have attempted to upload to Chrome Web Store have failed to comply.” 

There is evidence that some extensions have been used to kidnap the processing power from unsuspecting users to mine cryptocurrency which slows down their device.

Archive Poster, a popular extension, used to manage Tumblr posts was recently discovered to be mining for Monero from users without their permission, a practice known as “cryptojacking”. 

Pirate Bay popularized monetizing through cryptojacking 

This practice gained widespread notoriety when torrent site Pirate Bay used code to harness visitors' CPU power to mine for cryptocurrency as a way to monetize the site. The site which is notorious for its sexually graphic ads was looking for ways to alternatively fund the site. 

They have since abandoned the experiment. Aside from slowing down the phone’s usage, Cryptocurrency miners can overload smartphones' CPUs, causing them to overheat and cause long-term damage. 

Large organizations vulnerable

In addition to domestic users, large organizations and institutions have been victims of crypto-hacking. It was reported last year that a nuclear power facility in Russia was targeted by one of its own employees. 

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The station's super-computer which is supposed to stay offline at all times was discovered to have covert cryptocurrency mining software installed. The hack was uncovered when the staff member attempted to connect the computer to the internet. 

Cryptojacking epidemic will have huge impacts

Tesla, government agencies in both the US and Australia and even Google have also been the victims of a crypto hacking attacks. RedLock, a boutique tech security consultancy has called the phenomenon the “Crypto-jacking Epidemic”, and says it will have far-reaching consequences for enterprise computing. 

Crohn's decision to ban the extension follows the tech giants move to ban Initial Coin Offerings (ICO) advertisements starting from June. Twitter and Snapchat have also banned the ads.

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