SafeBrowse Chrome Extension Found To Be Secretly Mining Cryptocurrency On Users’ PCs

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A popular free Chrome extension ‘SafeBrowse,‘ whose main purpose is to skip forced intermediary advertising pages, is found to be running a crypto mining module in the background.

If you have installed the latest updated version of this browser extension (version 3.2.25), you may have noticed heavy CPU usage and PC slowdowns when Chrome web browser is running. And those with proper firewall protection may have noticed that connections are made to the domain coin-hive.com. It is because the browser extension includes a crypto miner that runs in the browser automatically. It uses the computer’s processing power (CPU) to mine cryptocurrency

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The mining activity keeps running in the background when the browser is open on the system and the extension is enabled. While there might not be any malicious intent with crypto mining in the browser, users are unwittingly suffering while someone else makes money.

While there is nothing wrong with crypto mining in the browser, other than that it is highly ineffective as it relies solely on the processor, it becomes a huge issue if the mining is not user initiated but enforced automatically either on a visit, or when an extension is installed, gHacks noted.

Just a few days ago, one of the popular torrent websites, The Pirate Bay was found to have done almost exactly the same thing, running a JavaScript code on some pages that actually take advantage of visitors’ CPU to mine digital coins. However, the site’s operators claimed that it was an experiment with the intention of seeing whether ad revenue could be replaced.

In the latest development, SafeBrowse, which earlier had about 150,000 users, has been removed from Chrome Web Store.

So, if you’re having SafeBrowse installed in your web browser, remove it immediately by right-clicking its icon next to the address bar and then selecting ‘Remove from Chrome.’ Or you can go to the Extensions page under More Tools in the Chrome menu.

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