This Monday, Google announced it will start banning any cryptocurrency mining extension at its Chrome Web Store. These measures are to be taken due to 90 percent of these software products failing to comply with the set of rules and requirement applied by the internet giant in their respect. Those few which meet the standards will be pulled from the store by June 2018, with Google’s general ban on all cryptocurrency and ICO-related content coming into force.
In doing so, the company takes a clear stance on illegal crypto mining and cryptojacking that has been recently spreading across the web. James Wagner, Google’s extensions platform product manager has explained this move:
“The key to maintaining a healthy extensions ecosystem is to keep the platform open and flexible. This empowers our developers to build creative and innovative customizations for Chrome browser users. This is why we chose to defer banning extensions with cryptomining scripts until it became clear that the vast majority of mining extensions submitted for review failed to comply with our single purpose policy or were malicious.”
Whereas in theory, these browser extensions may be used for legitimate crowdfunding and charitable purposes, in practice this technology has been mostly serving either openly malicious or at least suspicious goals. Such applications may be used as tools for infesting the users’ computers with malware that would consume processing power on targeted devices and possibly damage them through running hidden background crypto mining scripts.
Surely, the ban itself will not eliminate these problems altogether, since the ways and means of concealed device infestation are being incessantly improved by cryptojackers who try to attach malware to the most innocently looking applications and tools. Nevertheless, this step seems to be bringing a message of Google starting to scrutinize extensions more closely for possible mining content.
According to Wagner, these restrictions will be not applicable to extensions with other types of blockchain functionality.