Google recently removed 106 more extensions from its Chrome Web Store after they were found illegally collecting sensitive user data as part of a “massive global surveillance campaign” targeting oil and gas, finance, and healthcare sectors.
Awake Security, which disclosed the findings late last week, said the malicious browser add-ons were tied back to a single internet domain registrar, GalComm.
However, it’s not immediately clear who is behind the spyware effort.
“This campaign and the Chrome extensions involved performed operations such as taking screenshots of the victim device, loading malware, reading the clipboard, and actively harvesting tokens and user input,” Awake Security said.
The extensions in question posed as utilities offering capabilities to convert files from one format to the other, among other tools for secure browsing, while relying on thousands of fake reviews to trick unsuspecting users into installing them.
Furthermore, the actors behind the operation leveraged evasion techniques to avoid flagging the domains as malicious by anti-malware solutions, thereby allowing the surveillance campaign to go undetected.
In total, the extensions were downloaded nearly 33 million times over the course of three months before Awake Security reached out to Google in May.
images from Hacker News