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Google Chrome Halts Cryptocurrency Mining Extensions

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Google Chrome has published a post announcing that it will ban cryptocurrency mining extensions in the Chrome Web Store starting from April 2nd 2018. James Wagner, Extensions Platform Product Manager, wrote that Chrome has always welcomed different innovations for developers while keeping the environment safe.

However, Chrome extensions have recently been used for cryptojacking. Some of these extensions included mining scripts, which, when downloaded by users, run in the background and use the device’s power. This is done without the consent of the user and ends up slowing down the computer.

Unfortunately, approximately 90% of all extensions with mining scripts that developers have attempted to upload to Chrome Web Store have failed to comply with these policies, and have been either rejected or removed from the store.

Starting today, Chrome Web Store will no longer accept extensions that mine cryptocurrency. Existing extensions that mine cryptocurrency will be delisted from the Chrome Web Store in late June. Extensions with blockchain-related purposes other than mining will continue to be permitted in the Web Store.

Coinhive, the JavaScript Miner for cryptocurrency Monero, used an extension “Archive Poster” built for Tumblr users to mine Monero. The company even used YouTube ads to steal CPU power from users to mine the cryptocurrency. Even other websites host malware ads unknowingly, as explained by SpiderLabs’s threat intelligence research manager, Karl Sigler, “We’ve also seen malware that focuses on either stealing cryptocurrency wallets or mining in the background. Combine the two together and you have a match made in hell.”

Last month, Google announced that it was banning cryptocurrency advertisements starting from June 2018. The move was focused on creating a healthy ecosystem for users by eliminating negative experiences. The post also described that Google had noted that customers were being scammed by ICOs and cryptocurrency projects, which is why they decided to act upon it.

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