Google removes Chrome extension Popular Google Chrome Extension Caught Mining secretly cryptocurrency
If you are a Google Chrome browser user, and you have been using a web browser extension called Archive Poster all this while, chances are your PC would have been hijacked without you even being aware of it, and used for mining cryptocurrencies Google has taken down the Archive Poster extension from Google Chrome because of user backlash around this extension deploying an in-browser cryptocurrency miner without the knowledge of its users. The extension had over 100,000 users before it was taken down by Google. A ‘safe’ variant is, although, still available.
As we mentioned, the Chrome extension Archive Poster had been caught deploying an in-browser cryptocurrency miner unknowingly to its users in the past few updates.Reportedly, this extension did not ask for permission to utilise CPU power to mine Monero coins. Last month, Loapi Trojan had been spotted by Kaspersky mining the same cryptocurrency on Android phones. Archive Poster has been previously described as a plugin that acts as a mod for Tumblr, allowing users to repost, draft, like posts from another blog’s archive.While this particular extension has now been removed from the Chrome web extensions and apps store, it was using a distributed-network cryptocurrency mining program called Coinhive and mining a currency called monero. If you have been using this extension, it would be a good idea to remove it—head to your Chrome browser app -> type chrome://extensions in address bar -> look for Archive Poster and click the trash icon next to it to delete.
Google’s response comes after users alleged the issue of cryptojacking in the review section of the Chrome Web Store. Growing popularity of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies has led to unethical practices like cryptojacking. Mining requires considerable power and ends up slowing down computers affected by it. Do note that a ‘Safe’ variant of the Archive Poster extension has since surfaced on the Web Store.
For this, miners need to invest in very powerful computing devices to execute the mining task. A simple browse through Amazon.com suggests that these aren’t exactly affordable either. For instance, the popular Bitmain Antminer S9 is priced at $6,399 (around Rs4,07,000) and the-100 Pro 21GH/s X11 ASIC Miner costs $1,999.
Considering the money that miners will have to invest initially before any returns start to come in post the successful completion of the mining processes, it perhaps becomes more exciting to write a malware code, piggyback on popular apps, and sneakily use the processing power of thousands or millions of computing devices
globally—and safely assume that their owners wouldn’t suspect a thing. The only real give-away is if your PC’s CPU constantly registers 100% or close to 100% usage even when you aren’t using any apps at the time.This is not the first time a cryptocurrency mining malware has been detected. In late December, security firm Trend Micro reported that mining bot called Digmine began spreading through Facebook Messenger in the Chrome web browser—via a malicious script that downloaded an extension to the browser, and took charge of the computing device