Google is no longer accepting any extensions that mine cryptocurrency, and plans to delist existing ones that do in June.
Google is banning extensions that mine cryptocurrency from the Chrome Web Store.
Until now, Google has allowed cryptocurrency mining extensions as long as mining was the extension’s only purpose, and users were adequately informed about this behavior, Google’s Extensions Platform Product Manager James Wagner noted in a Monday blog post.
“Unfortunately, approximately 90 percent of all extensions with mining scripts that developers have attempted to upload to Chrome Web Store have failed to comply with these policies, and have been either rejected or removed from the store,” Wagner added.
In December, for instance, a Chrome browser extension called Archive Poster with more than 105,000 users was found to be mining the virtual currency Monero without warning computer owners. Archive Poster developer Essence Labs confirmed the mining was taking place, but blamed it on a hack.
Google’s Wagner acknowledged that over the past several months “there has been a rise in malicious extensions that appear to provide useful functionality … while embedding hidden cryptocurrency mining scripts that run in the background without the user’s consent.” Such mining scripts can hog a computer’s resources and “severely impact system performance and power consumption,” Wagner wrote.
Google plans to delist all existing extensions that mine cryptocurrency in “late June.” Extensions with “blockchain-related purposes other than mining” are still allowed.
The city of Plattsburgh, NY last month imposed an 18-month moratorium on any new commercial cryptocurrency mining. The measure is intended to “prevent miners from using all the city’s cheap electricity,” according to Motherboard.