Saturday, April 21, 2018

Google's Chrome Web Store refuses to allow extensions that mine crytocoins

On Wednesday April 4, Google's Chrome Web Store will refuse to accept extensions that mine cryptocurrencies. The company complains that over the past few months there has been a rise in "malicious extensions".



Extensions have hidden mining scripts
The extensions of concern appear to be useful but actually have embedded hidden cryptocurrency mining scripts that run in the background without the consent of the user. This consumes computer resources. The company says that existing extensions are to be delisted from the Chrome Web Store late in June. Extensions with blockchain-related purposes other than mining will continue to be allowed.
Google had previously allowed cryptocurrency mining extensions as long as this was the sole purpose of the extensions and users were informed about the process. Google claimed that 90 percent of all the extensions with mining scripts that were submitted failed to comply with Google policies. As a result they have been rejected or removed from the store.
Mining scripts reduce computing power
The mining can negatively effect the performance of a computer in that it uses up power solving the calculations needed to mine the tokens, a process described in the appended video.

Samsung now makes special chips for bitcoin mining. The chips used by miners have caused shortages in areas such as astronomical research.
Mining scripts even planted in public websites
Companies and hackers have planted backdoor coin mining scripts in public websites in effect stealing computational power for their own mining. Showtime websites were for a time involved.
James Wagener, Google's extensions platform product manage wrote in a blog post:“The extensions platform provides powerful capabilities that have enabled our developer community to build a vibrant catalog of extensions that help users get the most out of Chrome. Unfortunately, these same capabilities have attracted malicious software developers who attempt to abuse the platform at the expense of users.”
There have been numerous scams involving cryptocurrencies and this is just one of several. In many countries cryptocurrencies are being regulated. In some such as China fund-raising practices such as Initial Coin Offerings(ICOs) are banned. Cryptocurrency related ads are now banned on Google and Facebook and will be on Twitter as well.
The mining of cryptocurrencies uses tremendous amounts of power and many environmentalists oppose the practice. Mining companies search the world for cheap power sources to set up mining operations. Not all cryptocurrencies use mining to create the currencies.

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