Google Chrome's New Feature Alerts Users About Auto-Removal of Malicious Extensions

Cyber Security Threat Summary:
Google has announced plans to add a new feature in the upcoming version of its Chrome web browser to alert users when an extension they have installed has been removed from the Chrome Web Store. The feature, set for release alongside Chrome 117, allows users to be notified when an add-on has been unpublished by a developer, taken down for violating Chrome Web Store policy, or marked as malware. The tech giant said it intends to highlight such extensions under a "Safety check" category in the "Privacy and security" section of the browser settings page. ‘When a user clicks 'Review,' they will be taken to their extensions and given the choice to either remove the extension or hide the warning if they wish to keep the extension installed,’ Oliver Dunk, a developer relations engineer for Chrome extensions, said. ’As in previous versions of Chrome, extensions marked as malware are automatically disabled’”(The Hacker News, 2023).

Security Officer Comments:
Threat actors are known for distributing malware through the use of malicious browser extensions. These extensions often employ enticing tactics to lure users into initiating downloads, masquerading as legitimate offerings such as VPNs, screenshot capture tools, ad-blockers, and much more. Although these extensions may seem normal to unsuspecting users, sometimes racking in millions of installs, they can enable actors to serve unwanted adware and collect user/host information, as well as credentials, payment details, and other information that might be stored in browsers. The latest development from Chrome is designed to mitigate the prevalence of such extensions, which have preyed on end users to deliver malicious payloads and further conduct fraudulent activities.