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Extra malicious extensions in Chrome Internet Retailer

Extra malicious extensions in Chrome Internet Retailer

2023-05-31 19:26:45

Two weeks in the past I wrote in regards to the PDF Toolbox extension containing obfuscated malicious code. Regardless of reporting the difficulty to Google through two completely different channels, the extension stays on-line. It even gained a substantial variety of customers after I revealed my article.

A reader tipped me off nonetheless that the Zoom Plus extension additionally makes a request to serasearchtop[.]com. I checked it out and located two different variations of the identical malicious code. And I discovered extra extensions in Chrome Internet Retailer that are utilizing it.

So now we’re at 18 malicious extensions with a mixed consumer depend of 55 million. The most well-liked of those extensions are Autoskip for Youtube, Crystal Advert block and Brisk VPN: 9, six and 5 million customers respectively.

The extensions

Thus far I might establish the next 18 malicious extensions. All however two of them are listed as “Featured” in Chrome Internet Retailer. Person counts mirror the state for 2023-05-30.

Title Weekly energetic customers Extension ID
Autoskip for Youtube 9,008,298 lgjdgmdbfhobkdbcjnpnlmhnplnidkkp
Crystal Advert block 6,869,278 lklmhefoneonjalpjcnhaidnodopinib
Brisk VPN 5,595,420 ciifcakemmcbbdpmljdohdmbodagmela
Clipboard Helper 3,499,233 meljmedplehjlnnaempfdoecookjenph
Maxi Refresher 3,483,639 lipmdblppejomolopniipdjlpfjcojob
Fast Translation 2,797,773 lmcboojgmmaafdmgacncdpjnpnnhpmei
Easyview Reader view 2,786,137 icnekagcncdgpdnpoecofjinkplbnocm
PDF toolbox 2,782,790 bahogceckgcanpcoabcdgmoidngedmfo
Zoom Plus 2,370,645 ajneghihjbebmnljfhlpdmjjpifeaokc
Base Picture Downloader 2,366,136 nadenkhojomjfdcppbhhncbfakfjiabp
Clickish enjoyable cursors 2,353,436 pbdpfhmbdldfoioggnphkiocpidecmbp
Most Shade Changer for Youtube 2,226,293 kjeffohcijbnlkgoaibmdcfconakaajm
Readl Reader mode 1,852,707 dppnhoaonckcimpejpjodcdoenfjleme
Picture obtain middle 1,493,741 deebfeldnfhemlnidojiiidadkgnglpi
Font Customizer 1,471,726 gfbgiekofllpkpaoadjhbbfnljbcimoh
Straightforward Undo Closed Tabs 1,460,691 pbebadpeajadcmaoofljnnfgofehnpeo
OneCleaner 1,457,548 pinnfpbpjancnbidnnhpemakncopaega
Repeat button 1,456,013 iicpikopjmmincpjkckdngpkmlcchold

Observe that this checklist is unlikely to be full. It’s based mostly on a pattern of roughly a thousand extensions that I’ve regionally, not all of the Chrome Internet Retailer contents.

The malicious code

There’s a detailed discussion of the malicious code in my earlier article. I couldn’t discover every other extension utilizing the identical code as PDF Toolbox, however the two variants I found now are very related. There are minor variations:

  • First variant masquerades as Mozilla’s WebExtension browser API Polyfill. The “config” obtain tackle is https://serasearchtop.com/cfg/<Extension_ID>/polyfill.json, and the mangled timestamp stopping downloads inside the first 24 hours is localStorage.polyfill.
  • The second variant masquerades as Day.js library. It downloads information from https://serasearchtop.com/cfg/<Extension_ID>/locale.json and shops the mangled timestamp in localStorage.locale.

Each variants maintain the code of the unique module, the malicious code has been added on prime. The WebExtension Polyfill variant seems to be older: the extensions utilizing it normally had their newest launch finish of 2021 or early in 2022. The extensions utilizing the Day.js variant are newer, and the code has been obfuscated extra totally right here.

The extension logic stays precisely the identical nonetheless. Its goal is making two very particular operate calls, from the look of it: chrome.tabs.onUpdated.addListener and chrome.tabs.executeScript. So these extensions are supposed to inject some arbitrary JavaScript code into each web site you go to.

What does it truly do?

As with PDF Toolbox, I can not observe the malicious code in motion. The configuration information produced by serasearchtop[.]com is at all times empty for me. Perhaps it’s not at present energetic, perhaps it solely prompts a while after set up, or perhaps I’ve to be in a particular geographic area. Unattainable to inform.

So I went trying out what different individuals say. Many evaluations for these extensions look like faux. There are additionally simply as many evaluations complaining about purposeful points: individuals discover that these extensions aren’t actually being developed. Lastly, a bunch of Brisk VPN evaluations point out the extension being malicious, sadly with out explaining how they observed.

However I discovered my reply within the evaluations for the Picture Obtain Middle extension:

See Also

Review by Sastharam Ravendran in July 2021: SPAM. Please avoid. Few days after install, my search results in google were randomly being re-directed elsewhere. I was lost and clueless. I disabled all extensions and enabled them one by one to catch this culprit. Hate it when extension developers, use us as baits for such things. google should check and take action ! A reply by Mike Pemberton in January 2022: had the same happen to me with this extension from the Micrsoft edge store. Another reply by Ande Walsh in September 2021: This guy is right. This is a dirty extension that installs malware. AVOID.

So it might appear that at the least again in 2021 (sure, virtually two years in the past) the monetization method of this extension was redirecting search pages. I’m fairly sure that these customers reported the extension again then, but right here we nonetheless are. Sure, I’ve by no means heard in regards to the “Report abuse” hyperlink in Chrome Internet Retailer producing any consequence. Perhaps it’s a faux kind solely meant to extend buyer satisfaction?

There’s a related two years outdated assessment on the OneCleaner extension:

Review by Vincent Descamps: Re-adding it to alert people: had to remove it, contains a malware redirecting to bing search engine when searching something on google using charmsearch.com bullcrap

Small correction: the web site in query was truly known as CharmSearching[.]com. In case you seek for it, you’ll discover loads discussions on the way to take away malware out of your laptop. The area is not energetic, however this possible merely signifies that they switched to a much less identified title. Like… nicely, perhaps serasearchtop[.]com. No proof, however serasearchtop[.]com/search/?q=check redirects to Google.

Thoughts you: simply because these extensions monetized by redirecting search pages two years in the past, it doesn’t imply that they nonetheless restrict themselves to it now. There are far more harmful issues one can do with the facility to inject arbitrary JavaScript code into every web site.

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