Some of you have reached out to us concerning Malwarebytes blocking of certain ad blocking extensions, or an influx in web blocking notifications. First things first, this is not a false positive. Recently in their blog, AdGuard has discovered that numerous malicious ad blocking extensions were found in the Google Chrome store. According to an article by ZDNet, the malicious extensions have since been removed from the store. However, 20 million devices are estimated to have downloaded these apps while they were still online. You might own one of those devices.
The extensions are used to basically turn the browser into a zombie under the control of a remote attacker, essentially adding your device to a botnet. Since we are limited in our ability to remove extensions completely, we are blocking the domains the malicious extensions reach out to, so at the very least, users will not have their systems controlled by a cybercriminal.
If you are consistently getting pop-ups, you may want to investigate if you are running one of the malicious extensions we are talking about here. Here is a full list:
- uBlock Plus
- Adblock Pro
- HD for YouTube™
Check out our guide on Adware, that includes a section on extension removal.
Take a look at the names of some of these "extensions." Notice anything? Adblock Pro, uBlock, YouTube—all big names and buzzwords that make these extensions seem more legitimate. Add in the fact that fake comments and reviews are created all the time for these types of tools and, at the end of the day, the criminal is counting on your ability to not realize this is not the app you are looking for.
Please be mindful of what you install in your browser and, overall, on your computer. Just like those cheap DVDs you might find at the shop, who have titles so incredibly similar to a big blockbuster film, that folks who aren't as familiar with the source material overlook the fact that they are buying a knock-off. Think of this the same way with extensions, plugins, and add-ons for your browsers. There are some really great ones out there, but there are a lot of shady copycats.
Be sure to check user reviews, download numbers, and even outside recommendations (searching for "best ad blocker" might be a good place to start). Doing so will help make sure you've installed the right tool that will do the best job.
Thanks for reading, safe surfing, see you next time!