American multinational technology company Google has announced plans to have all cryptocurrency mining extensions on Chrome removed by June 2018.
Mining extensions targetted by crypto jackers
The written statement released on 2 April cites the reasoning for this action as non-compliance from developers with Google’s service standards. The statement notes a recent rise in ”malicious extensions” that appear functional but run unauthorized cryptocurrency mining scripts unbeknown to the user.
These embedded scripts often consume a significant amount of CPU resources, leading to a vast increase in power consumption and a negative impact on the computer’s system performance. Google illustrates in a diagram that can be found on the post, how CPU usage can increase almost 75% when the hidden software is running. The new measures taken by Google are to protect users from this form of crypto jacking.
Google described the ban as a way of ”ensuring that Chrome users can enjoy the benefits of extensions without exposing themselves to hidden risks”. The Chrome Web Store was described by Google as the target of malicious software developers looking to exploit users through the mining extensions.
90% of extensions failed to comply
Google had previously allowed mining software that complied with their standards to run on Chrome extensions. However, the company had to recently remove 90% of cryptocurrency mining extensions as they did not meet the criteria necessary: mining being the sole purpose of the extension, and that the user be adequately informed about the mining behavior.
This move from Google comes after the tech conglomerate announced a ban of ICO and cryptocurrency advertisements on both its display-ads and on Youtube.
Google has not restricted the use blockchain-related applications for other purposes as long as they comply with policy standards. The Chrome Web Store still lists a number of cryptocurrency wallet extensions.
Preventing unwanted crypto mining
As crypto jackers have developed mining scripts embedded into web extensions and websites, software engineers have created various ways to prevent this.