EW DELHI: A research firm called AdGuard has revealed that almost 20 million Chrome users have been tricked to download and install some fake ad blocking Chrome extensions.
The researchers added that the chrome extensions are clones of the original ad blockers, which the hackers have embedded with malicious codes. The hackers used similar kind of names to the popular extensions such as Adguard Hardline, Adblock Plus Premium and others.
Apart from copying the names they also managed to get them ranked higher in searches in order to fool the users.
The research firm adds that users cannot do much about these fake extensions apart from filing trademark complaints to Google. But the process will again take a few days and in between it is possible that others also download any of these extensions.
AdGuard has discovered five such chrome extensions and one of the popular one has been downloaded 30,000 times. Another one has managed to get hold of 10 million users. So, in all almost 20 million users have downloaded one of the any five malicious Chrome extensions.
As a preventive measure, AdGuard has informed Google about the duplicate extensions and as of now they have been removed from the Chrome Web Store. However, the research firm feels that they could be floating online, so its important for the users to check the chrome extensions thoroughly before downloading.
AdGaurd also said in its blog that after being downloaded and installed the malware collects the data and send the browsing history with the personal information to a server. After this the server sends commands to the browser which executes the script sent by the servers.
AndAndrew Meshkov from AdGaurd said, “Basically, this is a botnet composed of browsers infected with the fake adblock extensions. The browser will do whatever the command center server owner orders it to do.”
For the time being, the company has warned the users to be careful before downloading any ad blocking Chrome extension. Moreover, before downloading it is also advisable to check the author or the company.