Google Bans Cryptocurrency Mining Extensions

By Stephanie Smith  |  Created April 04, 2018  |  PC |  Internet | 

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As of today, the Chrome Web Store will not accept new extensions that perform cryptocurrency mining operations. Existing Chrome extensions that still perform cryptocurrency mining will be delisted in late June. Google has allowed mining extensions under certain terms, such as informing user in advance that his/her computer’s resources were going to be used for these types of hardware-intensive tasks. Unfortunately, around 90% of the extensions with mining scripts failed to comply with these polices. This was mainly referred to the trend of Chrome extensions, which are hiding mining scripts in a background process, and using users’ resources without their knowledge or consent.

This type of “hidden in browser” mining is called cryptojacking, and it became the favourite method of monetizing extension user base by many developers. In order for Google to protect Chrome’s reputation, they have taken this step very seriously. Cryptojacking scripts are having huge impact on users’ computer responsiveness, and when once the most users investigate, they see chrome’s processes hogging CPU resources.

“The key to maintaining a healthy extensions ecosystem is to keep the platform open and flexible”, James Wagner said, Google’s extensions platform product manager. “This empowers our developers to build creative and innovative customizations for Chrome browser users”. He also explained further: “This is why we chose to defer banning extensions with cryptominng scripts until it became clear that the vast majority of mining extensions submitted for review failed to comply with our single purpose policy or were malicious.”

Other website also took certain action against cryptocurrencies, like Facebook and Twitter, by banning ads on their platforms, which Google already did in March. Even though Google’s policy is good, this does not change the risk of cryptominers being injected into browsers by extensions. That is why it’s always important to read the reviews of a Chrome extension that you want to install in order to check for any suspicious behaviour.