Subtle change could see a reduction in installation of malicious Chrome extensions

Posted by   Martijn Grooten on   Jun 13, 2018

As modern browsers have become harder to attack, malware authors have found a simple way around this: by working with the browser rather than against it. More particularly, by tricking users into installing extensions they host on official browser stores, like the Google Chrome Store.

Malicious Chrome extensions have been used for various nefarious activities, from banking fraud to delivering backdoors and stealing cryptocurrencies. Google, of course, works hard to detect and block such extensions, but as is so often the case in security, it is never 100 per cent successful.

The company has now, however, made a subtle change that should make it easier for users to detect when they are installing an extension. Until now, it has been possible for websites to offer inline installation of an extension, where a pop-up appears asking the user whether they want to install the extension. Users often read such pop-ups as if they are saying "click 'OK' to continue browsing this website", and thus unwittingly agree to the installation of extensions offered by compromised or malicious sites.

inline_install_dialog.png

Google has now banned inline installation for new extensions and later this year will disable inline installation altogether. Instead, a site that wants to offer an extension will have to send users to the Chrome Store. Of course, this won't stop gullible users form being tricked into installing malicious code, but malware authors will have to work a bit harder on social engineering.

The fight against malware is rarely about being able to stop things altogether, but about making small steps that can sometimes lead to a large reduction in the number of infections. Justin Schuh, from Google Chrome's security team, promises more changes to combat malicious browser extensions.

 

 

twitter.png
fb.png
linkedin.png
hackernews.png
reddit.png

 

Latest posts:

VB2019 paper: Geost botnet. The story of the discovery of a new Android banking trojan from an OpSec error

OpSec mistakes are what lead to many malware discoveries, and in the case of the Geost Android botnet the mistake was a really interesting one. Today we publish the VB2019 paper by Sebastian García, Maria Jose Erquiaga and Anna Shirokova on the Geost…

Analysis of malware responsible for sextortion spam that mines for Monero on the side

VB2019 Platinum partner Reason Cybersecurity presents a threat analysis report on the Save Yourself malware.

Guest blog: Threat intelligence – a unifying force of the future

In a guest blog post VB2019 Platinum partner Reason Cybersecurity looks to the future of threat intelligence.

Guest blog: Why we should be paying more attention to Linux threats

In a guest blog post VB2019 Silver partner Intezer outlines the importance of paying attention to Linux threats.

New Emotet spam campaign continues to bypass email security products

On Monday, the infamous Emotet malware resumed its spam campaign to spread the latest version of the malware. As before, the malware successfully bypasses many email security products.

We have placed cookies on your device in order to improve the functionality of this site, as outlined in our cookies policy. However, you may delete and block all cookies from this site and your use of the site will be unaffected. By continuing to browse this site, you are agreeing to Virus Bulletin's use of data as outlined in our privacy policy.