Google has recently removed two malicious adblockers from the web store after they were found collecting user data. Uninstall them now if you have them running on your device.
Malicious Adblockers on Chrome Web Store
Reportedly, two malicious adblockers targeted Google Chrome users for collecting data; the Nano Adblocker and Nano Defender.
These adblockers weren’t malicious originally. However, things changed when the original author of the adblockers sold them due to the lack of time required for their maintenance.
While the original author sold them in good faith, the new owners, a team of Turkish developers had different plans. There were also not many details available about the acquirers, even to the original author.
Consequently, right after the acquisition of the two adblockers, users started noticing changes in behavior.
Eventually, the author of the uBlock Origin ad blocker, Raymond Hill, found malicious codes in the adblockers on Chrome Webstore. In his detailed comment, he highlighted the changes in the code, whilst advising to uninstall the tools.
Another analysis of the tools by Resynth also disclosed similar things. As stated in it,
The extension transmits your data to an unknown server, sending information about web requests (which may contain confidential information). This is a backdoor and presents a major privacy risk to users of the Nano suite.
Whereas, the type of data the adblockers collected included explicit online information of the users, such as the IP address, timestamps, URLs, OS data, location, HTTP methods, etc.
Other Browser Versions Safe
Following the reports of malicious activities, Google removed the two ad blockers from the Chrome store.
However, all users running these adblockers on their devices must ensure removing them at the earliest. Already, the tools would have done enough harm as they boasted a huge number of downloads already.
Though, the Firefox users of these adblockers need not worry for now. It’s because the new owners of the Firefox versions of Nano Adblocker and Nano Defender, LiCybora, are different.