Many internet users take advantage of plugins and browser extensions to add additional functionality to their web browsers. While it’s been known for a long time that adding third party browser extensions can compromise the privacy and security of your computer, not everyone has the knowledge or ability to look through a browser extension’s source code, and so we trust that the extensions we install are not malicious. But many internet users find out the hard way (or may not find out at all) that they’ve installed malicious extensions. Now Google is taking some steps to protect users of Chrome from some of those malicious actors.
An increasingly common technique used by hackers is cryptojacking, which is when criminal hackers attempt to harness the processing power of someone’s computer to mine cryptocurrencies for the criminals. And by slipping malicious code into an extension that unsuspecting users install, those criminals can harness the power of thousands of computers to make money for them.
That’s why Google is starting to crack down on extensions that conceal their source code or make it so difficult to understand that no one can tell what they really do. Extensions that fail to comply with the new policies will no longer be able to be offered to Chrome users. Google will also take more steps to ensure that extension developer accounts remain secure, so that hackers cannot upload malicious versions of popular extensions in order to trick Chrome users. That has happened before, leading to many cryptocurrency holders’ wallets being compromised.
This is all the more reason for cryptocurrency users and investors to take the necessary security steps to safeguard their cryptocurrency investments. While Bitcoin IRA investors undoubtedly already make use of their custodians’ cold storage solutions, cold storage is a good idea for any cryptocurrency investor. And if you have to use a hot wallet or online storage, or log into an online cryptocurrency account, you may want to think about using a dedicated browser, one that doesn’t have any extensions installed. With the increasing popularity of cryptocurrencies and the increasing attention paid to them by cybercriminals, you can’t ever be too safe or secure.