Why you need to remove these malicious extensions now


Google confirmed that it has removed 34 malicious extensions from Chrome. This is not the first time Chrome has been found to have malicious extensions, and some of them may still be downloaded on some people’s devices. Here’s what we know so far. 

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How were the extensions discovered? 

Cybersecurity expert Wladimir Palant discovered a malicious extension while analyzing the one known as PDF Toolbox, which has more than two million users. He uncovered a hidden code within the extension that had gone unnoticed for at least a year. 

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Woman sad on her laptop (Cyberguy.com)

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That prompted the multinational cybersecurity software company Avast to delve deeper into the issue. They found 32 malicious extensions and brought the news to Google, who then found two more, bringing the total to 34. 

In total, the extensions were downloaded more than 75 million times and were capable of injecting ads into pages, cryptocurrency mining or collecting user data such as browsing profiles, online banking credential, or credit card information. 

The 34 malicious extensions found in Chrome Web Store 

Adblock Dragon 

Alfablocker ad blocker 

Amazin Dark Mode 

Autoskip for YouTube 

Awesome Auto Refresh 

Base Image Downloader 

Brisk VPN 

Clickish fun cursors 

Clipboard Helper 

Cursor A custom cursor 

Craft Cursors 

Crystal Ad block 

Easy Undo Closed Tabs 

Easyview Reader view 

Epsilon Ad blocker 

Font Customizer 

HyperVolume 

Image download center 

Leap Video Downloader 

Light picture-in-picture 

Maximum Color Changer for YouTube 

Maxi Refresher 

OneCleaner 

PDF Toolbox 

Quick Translation 

Qspeed Video Speed Controller 

Readl Reader mode 

Repeat button 

Screence screen recorder 

Soundboost 

Tap Image Downloader 

Venus Adblock 

Volume Frenzy 

Zoom Plus 

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Woman frustrated while looking at her laptop (Cyberguy.com)

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How do I remove a malicious extension? 

Use the Remove option 

Open Chrome 

Click the three vertical dots  

Remove extensions that cause your computer harm

Steps to removing malicious extensions now (Cyberguy.com)

Click Extensions 

Remove extensions that cause your computer harm

Steps to removing malicious extensions now (Cyberguy.com)

Select Manage Extensions 

Remove extensions that cause your computer harm

Steps to removing malicious extensions now (Cyberguy.com)

Find the extension you want to remove and click Remove 

Steps to removing malicious extensions now (Cyberguy.com)

Click Remove again to confirm 

Steps to removing malicious extensions now (Cyberguy.com)

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How do I protect myself from malicious extensions? 

Along with the 34 malicious extensions, it is likely that there are far more that are active that have not yet been uncovered. You can take these steps to ensure that you’re not downloading any malicious extensions to your device and risking your information being stolen. Here are some of my tips. 

Look at reviews thoroughly 

Read reviews carefully before downloading anything to your device. If you notice many negative reviews, that’s never a good sign. And if you see positive reviews that are super-vague and don’t give specific details, those could be fake reviews that scammers have made up to try to lure people in. Use your judgment, and trust what your gut is telling you. 

Stick to official app stores or trusted sources 

Download extensions from reputable sources, such as official browser extension marketplaces, to reduce the risk of downloading malicious software. 

Check for spelling and grammar errors 

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Oftentimes, malicious extensions will have spelling and grammar errors. A legit extension would be thorough with its spelling and grammar to look more professional, and it wouldn’t repeat the same words over again. If you’re noticing a ton of mistakes in the name or description of the extension, take that as a red flag. 

Keep your software up to date 

Regularly update your operating system and web browser software to ensure that you have the latest security patches and protection against emerging threats. 

Be cautious of permissions 

Pay attention to the permissions and extension requests during installation. It may be a red flag if an extension asks for excessive or unnecessary permissions. 

Have good antivirus software  

The best step that you can take to protect yourself against malicious extensions is to have good antivirus software on all of your devices. Having antivirus software running on your devices will make sure you will be stopped from clicking on any malicious links or from downloading any files that will release malware into your device and potentially have your private information stolen. They will also help you to steer clear of any websites or phishing scam sites that could put your online safety at risk. 

See my expert review of the best antivirus protection for your Windows, Mac, Android and iOS devices by visiting CyberGuy.com/LockUpYourTech 

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Kurt’s key takeaways 

The discovery and removal of 34 malicious extensions from the Chrome Web Store highlight the ongoing issue of such threats in the browser. You should be cautious of permissions, look at reviews thoroughly, update your operating system and web browser software regularly and consider using antivirus software to protect yourself from these potentially harmful extensions. In the meantime, hopefully Google can quickly remove any remaining malicious extensions. 

Do you think Google could do a better job removing malicious extensions more quickly? Let us know by writing us at CyberGuy.com/Contact 

For more of my security alerts, subscribe to my free CyberGuy Report Newsletter by heading to CyberGuy.com/Newsletter. 

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