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: A study of Machete cyber espionage operations in Latin America

At VB2019 in London a group of researchers from the Stratosphere Lab at the Czech Technical University in Prague presented a paper in which they analysed and dissected the cyber espionage activities of an APT group in Latin America through the…

VB2019 paper: The push from fiction for increased surveillance, and its impact on privacy

In a paper presented at VB2019 in London, researchers Miriam Cihodariu (Heimdal Security) and Andrei Bogdan Brad (Code4Romania) looked at how surveillance is represented in fiction and how these representations are shaping people's attitudes to…

VB2019 paper: Oops! It happened again!

At VB2019 in London industry veterans Righard Zwienenberg and Eddy Willems took a detailed look at the relationship between past and current cyber threats. Today, we publish both their paper and the recording of their presentation.

Job vacancy at VB: Security Evangelist

Virus Bulletin is recruiting for a person to be the public face of the company

VB2019 video: Thwarting Emotet email conversation thread hijacking with clustering

At VB2019 in London, ZEROSPAM researchers Pierre-Luc Vaudry and Olivier Coutu discussed how email clustering could be used to detect malicious Emotet emails that hijacked existing email threads. Today we publish the recording of their presentation.

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.