Google has purged nearly 200 Chrome browser extensions in an effort to stamp out unwanted ad injectors.
Ad injectors are programs that plug into the Google Chrome browser and ‘inject’ advertisements onto websites.
Unfortunately, many of these ad injectors can negatively affect a user’s experience, and can even create security risks.
Google says 34 per cent of Chrome extensions that inject ads have been classified as ‘outright malware’.
That’s a worrying trend, as according to Google, over 5 per cent of users visiting Google sites have at least one ad injector installed. Half of those people had at least two injectors, and a third had at least four installed.
Google also says that ad injectors were detected across all operating systems and web browsers, including Mac, Windows, Chrome, Firefox, and Internet Explorer.
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Writing on Google’s security blog, Google software Engineer Nav Jagpal explained why ad injectors can cause problems for users.
“People don’t like ad injectors for several reasons: not only are they intrusive, but people are often tricked into installing ad injectors in the first place, via deceptive advertising, or software ‘bundles’,” he explained.
“Ad injection can also be a security risk, as the recent ‘Superfish’ incident showed.”
Google worked with researchers at the University of California Berkeley, and found that 192 ‘deceptive’ Chrome extensions were impacting some 14 million users.
The search engine giant has confirmed that these specific extensions have now been disabled.