Extension platform product manager, James Wagner, claimed that there has been a rise in malicious extensions over the past few months — severely impacting users’ performance.
“Until now, Chrome Web Store policy has permitted cryptocurrency mining in extensions as long as it is the extension’s single purpose, and the user is adequately informed about the mining behavior. 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,” he explained.
“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.”
There has been a significant spike in crypto-jacking in recent months, as cyber-criminals eschew ransomware in favor of nominally easier ways to make money.
Attacks soared by 8,500% in 2017 thanks to the increase in crypto-currency values. The UK ranked fifth-highest worldwide in terms of crypto-miner detections, with a 44,000% increase in 2017, according to Symantec.
Even students are apparently cashing in on the craze, using university power supplies to support their activities. That same report from Vectra claimed that students are also likely to be targeted by cyber-criminals looking to covertly infect their machines with mining tools.
In February, a researcher found mining malware on over 4000 websites including pages belonging to the ICO and UK and US government agencies.
IBM claimed to have seen a six-fold increase crypto-mining malware attacks between January and August 2017.