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Alkajak

Chrome users are complaining about an extension named Imgur Uploader, which they say has started injecting ads on various Web pages after a recent update.

The extension is one of the two most popular Chrome add-ons for automatically uploading images to the Imgur image hosting service. According to its Web Store page statistics, the extension has over 17,500 users.

Extension started injecting ads after an update last week
In the past three days, several users have complained about how the extension loads three scripts. The first two gather data about the user while the third sends it to various ad companies, and then injects ads into the current page the user is navigating.

http://connectionstrenth.com/addons/lnkr5.min.js
http://connectionstrenth.com/addons/lnkr40_drct.min.js
s3.amazonaws.com/jscache/72d07657ba1ad678d2.js
The extension's Chrome Web Store page has already started filling with negative reviews, and some users have already reported it to Google's security staff. Navigating the reviews section, it will take you a few pages to get to a positive review.

The extension's author name is ok.ru, which is the URL for Odnoklassniki (Classmates), a Russian-based social network, one of Alexa's Top 100 websites. It is unclear if a developer has used this name without permission or if the extension is offered officially by Odnoklassniki.

All clues lead to a botched update
The extension injects ads by mentioning "Search Enhanced Results by Not set [x]". At the end of the third JavaScript file mentioned above, there is a block of JavaScript code that prints out the following message in HTML, inside a modal:

“ [Parameter loading extension's name -> Imgur Uploader]'s development is supported by optional advertisements that are added to some of the websites you visit. During the development of this extension, I've put in thousands of hours adding features, fixing bugs and making things betternot mentioning the support of all the users who ask for help. Ads support most of the internet we all use and love; without them, the internet we have today would simply not exist. Similarly, without revenue, this extension (and the upcoming new ones) would not be possible. You can disable these ads now or later in the settings page. You can also minimize the ads appearance by clicking on partial support button. Both of these options are available by clicking 'x' button in the corner of each ad. In both cases,your choice will remain in effect unless you reinstall or reset the extension. ”

The functionality mentioned in this message does not exist in the extension's settings section. If we take into account the "Not set" parameter mentioned before, it appears this was a botched extension update.

The author may have wanted to warn users about the ads they were seeing and offer them a way to turn them off, but now the extension has unfortunately fallen into the adware category.

Furthermore, Google may not look kindly on an extension that messes with its search results, even if the "disable" option was working, so the extension might have been removed either way, regardless of the developer's message.

Full Article: "Imgur Uploader" Chrome Extension Turns to the Dark Side, Starts Injecting Ads - EXCLUSIVE
 
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