Ad Blocker Maker Says Ad Blockers Can Actually Be Malware…

Rafia Shaikh
google chrome ad blocker

If you are wondering why your ad blocker extension that you had installed from the Chrome Web Store had suddenly disappeared, here is some news. Apparently, some ad blockers have been harvesting information about your browsing history, sending that data to remote servers, and doing all things not-wanted.

In its report, AdGuard - which is itself an ad blocker - revealed that some ad blockers are actually fake extensions that can harvest information and run commands to change your browser behavior. "Basically, this is a botnet composed of browsers infected with the fake adblock extensions," AdGuard, one of the most trusted ad blockers, wrote in the latest security report. "The browser will do whatever the command center server owner orders it to do."

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Tens of millions of users affected by these malicious ad blocker extensions

While some of these are fake ad blockers, there are also some legitimate extensions that bring an additional dose of malware for you - absolutely free. Here's the complete list of malicious ad blocker extensions that Google has now removed:

  • AdRemover for Google Chrome (10 million+ users)
  • uBlock Plus (8 million+ users)
  • Adblock Pro (2M+ users)
  • HD for YouTube (400K+ users)
  • Webutation (30K+ users)

Wondering how to choose your next ad blocker and push websites behind paywalls? AdGuard suggests thinking twice and then thinking twice...

"With the current state of things, surfing through the Chrome's WebStore is like walking through a minefield," Andrey Meshkov, the cofounder of AdGuard wrote. "So here's my advice: if you want to install an extension, think twice. And then think twice again."

Ok, I got it, you absolutely need this extension. At least do one thing: check who is the author of this extension. Do not install it if you don't trust the author. Please note, that at some point the extension can be sold to someone else, and who knows what it will become (here's a vivid example).

Remember, it's not just the ad blocker extensions on Chrome that are infested with malware. As Meshkov noted the Store has turned into a minefield, which means no matter what type of extension you choose, focus on the developer behind that extension, head over to their official website and then use their own link to the Store to make sure you aren't downloading some copycat extension.

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