Up to now, we’ve seen Chrome extensions with hidden malware and Chrome extensions that spy on you, but now we’re at a whole new level: Chrome extensions that, unbeknownst to you, squeeze the resources out of your computer to mine crypto coins.
So what exactly is “mining crypto coins?” We looked at crypto coins in detail a while back, and we’ve seen certain scams similar to this one that use your computer’s power to mine crypto coins for cyber criminals. Mining crypto coins is the processing of transactions in block chains. This complicated procedure creates virtual money that can then be traded for real world currency.
The problem is that it is an incredibly complex procedure that requires a lot of your PC’s resources. If your PC is busy making money for SafeBrowse, it will no doubt run a hell of a lot slower whenever you’re using it for whatever you use it for.
Bleeping Computer has shown how much power SafeBrowse actually uses:
The Task Manager of the Bleeping Computer test computer was blocked literally seconds after installing the extension.
Of course, SafeBrowse users realized that something was wrong and immediately besieged the Chrome Web Store with negative ratings. At the time of writing this article, the extension is no longer on the Web Store, but before it went missing over 140,000 users had downloaded it.
The team behind SafeBrowse has claimed that they haven’t released an update for months. They say that the rogue update must be the work of a hacker. On their official page it says that latest version is 3.2.1.
There are 2 possibilities, then. Either SafeBrowse is lying, which is bad. Or SafeBrowse is telling the truth, which is even worse, because it means that there could be back doors and security flaws all over the Chrome Web Store. Either way, we need to be very careful about what we download these days.