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Google removes Chrome extension Archive Poster after discovering rogue cryptocurrency miner

Archive Poster streamlines the reblogging process for Tumblr, and has a Chrome extension on the Chrome Store.

  • Published: January 2, 2018 9:46 AM IST

2017 has undoubtedly been the year of cryptocurrencies. It was the year we witnessed ‘coin’-mania, where the world obsessed with the price of cryptocurrencies of different kinds. The phenomenon has elements of hysteria witnessed around the time of the Tulip Mania of 1637.

This modern day mania for cryptocurrency is powered by blockchain, and thrives on the idea of shared computing across many computers scattered across the globe in the hope of ‘mining’ virtual coins.

Be careful of plugins and extensions you use

We’ve grown accustomed to using plugins and extensions to simplify the tasks we do, especially on browsers. A good example is keeping an eye out on notifications, and quick access to posting a new blog as soon as we think of an idea, or even more granularity over our use of social media. One such plugin is Archive Poster. According to Bleeping Computer, the Archive Poster browser extension streamlines the reblogging process for Tumblr.

A report by IBTimes however adds that Archive Poster was secretly running cryptocurrency miner Coinhive, causing over 100,000 users of the extension to mine coins.

Company blames it on a compromised developer

Essence Labs, the company behind Archive Poster in a statement to PCMag said, “An old team member who was responsible for updating the extension had his Google account compromised… Somehow the extension was hijacked to another Google account. In the meantime we have alerted the users to use a safe version of the extension on a different link.”

Over the past couple of months, Google has actively been responding to concerns around malicious Chrome extensions from the Web Store. As per a report by ThreatPost, the Twitter handle ‘Swift on Security’ has recounted the instances of fake extensions on the Chrome Store. One instance it reported is of a fake impostor of AdBlock Plus that was downloaded over 38,000 times.

Similar to fake news for publishers, fake extensions and plugins with malicious intent is a concern for app publishers and mobile platforms alike. It’s equally large, if not greater a problem than fake news, and needs some urgent corrective action.

  • Published Date: January 2, 2018 9:46 AM IST