Google is cracking down on ad-injecting extensions for its Chrome browser, after finding that almost 200 exposed users to deceptive practices or malware.
Researchers from the University of California at Berkeley uncovered 192 deceptive Chrome extensions that affected 14 million users. Google officials have since killed those extensions and incorporated new techniques to catch any new or updated extensions that carry out similar abuses.
The study found widespread use of ad injectors for multiple browsers on both Windows and OS X computers, while more than five per cent of people visiting Google sites have at least one ad injector installed.
Ad injectors are programs that insert new ads, or replace existing ones, into the pages you visit while browsing the web. Google said that it had received more than 100,000 complaints from Chrome users about ad injection since the beginning of 2015, more than network errors, performance problems, or any other issue.
“We don’t ban injectors altogether—if they want to, people can still choose to install injectors that clearly disclose what they do—but injectors that sneak ads into a user’s browser would certainly violate our policies,” said Nav Jagpal, software engineer, safe browsing at Google.