Google's Chrome Web Store outlaws crypto mining extensions | finder.com

Google’s Chrome Web Store outlaws crypto mining extensions

Peter Terlato 3 April 2018 NEWS

Approximately 90% of all extensions with mining scripts on Chrome failed to comply with Google’s rules.

In an effort to protect users from having their computer’s power illicitly depleted in order to perform cryptocurrency mining tasks, Google has begun prohibiting Chrome extensions that mine for virtual currencies.

Chrome Web Store’s original policy allowed for cryptocurrency mining in extensions as long as this was the sole purpose of the extension, and any users were appropriately aware about the mining actions that would occur.

However, around 90% of all extensions with mining scripts that developers attempted to upload to the online store failed to meet the guidelines, forcing Google to reject and remove them and implement the official ban.


The chart above shows a recent example of CPU overutilization from hidden coin mining in an extension. Source: Chromium

Over the past few months, there has been a rise in malicious extensions that appear to provide useful functionality on the surface, while embedding hidden cryptocurrency mining scripts that run in the background without the user’s consent. These mining scripts often consume significant CPU resources, and can severely impact system performance and power consumption.

Google Chrome extensions platform product manager James Wagner. Source: Chromium

Any existing extensions that mine cryptocurrency will be removed 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.

Extensions enable the developer community to create tools that help users get the most out of Chrome.

Crypto mining serves as key component in unearthing new value and keeping the blockchain secure. However, the rapid advancement of illegal cryptocurrency coin mining was considered a leading trend in the internet security landscape last year, according to the latest cyber surveillance insights report released late last month.

In mid-February, American electric energy car manufacturer Tesla fell victim to cloud-based cryptojacking.

Some cryptocurrencies, such as bitcoin, must be mined in order to be traded. Mining uses mathematical algorithms and computing power to discover new coins. But which country offers the cheapest bitcoin mining?

Samsung Electronics recently entered into a contract to manufacture specific-use cryptocurrency mining hardware in order to supply an unnamed Chinese company, growing competition in a monopolized market.

Additionally, Virginia Beach pledged $500,000 to help install a bitcoin mine, expected to generate local jobs.

You can learn all about different exchanges, understand exactly how to buy and sell cryptocurrencies, calculate your taxes, discover digital wallets to hold assets and explore a list of all the alternative coins on the market.

Disclaimer: This information should not be interpreted as an endorsement of cryptocurrency or any specific provider, service or offering. It is not a recommendation to trade. Cryptocurrencies are speculative, complex and involve significant risks – they are highly volatile and sensitive to secondary activity. Performance is unpredictable and past performance is no guarantee of future performance. Consider your own circumstances, and obtain your own advice, before relying on this information. You should also verify the nature of any product or service (including its legal status and relevant regulatory requirements) and consult the relevant Regulators' websites before making any decision. Finder, or the author, may have holdings in the cryptocurrencies discussed.

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