Crapware Finds a New Way to Trick Users to Install Browser Extensions

Last year, Google announced plans to lock down Chrome so that extensions can’t be side-loaded by crapware installers. Sadly they’ve found a way to trick users into installing lousy extensions, although in this case these spyware and adware extensions do exist in the Chrome Web Store.

As usual, this starts by making the huge mistake of going to Download.com and downloading some freeware. Anybody that makes the mistake of clicking Accept all the way through the installer will end up with a much slower computer full of crapware and sadness.

Rant: somebody at CNET is responsible for this and they should be punished, fired, and then re-hired and fired again. It’s ridiculous that obvious scams like this are allowed to exist all over the internet.

After you make the mistake of clicking that Accept button and closing out the installer, a little while later you’ll be shown this window, which is automatically loading the Google Chrome extensions page and then clicking the install button for you.

An unsuspecting user might make the mistake of clicking the Add button here.

To remove these extensions, thankfully it’s as simple as heading to chrome://extensions in your address bar (or using the main menu and going to More Tools and then Extensions), and then clicking the Remove from Chrome trash can icon.

This is a good time to mention…

Run the Google Software Removal Tool!

Google just launched a new tool that will help you clean up your Chrome browser from anything that is interfering with normal operation. It will even disable your extensions (you’ll need to possibly re-enable extensions that you do want).

All you need to do is navigate to www.google.com/chrome/srt/ and click the Download now button, run it, and click Remove suspicious programs if any are found.

When it restarts it’ll ask you to reset your browser, which can be really helpful in preventing crashes and other problems.

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 10/12/14
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