Google have today (3rd April 2018), announced further plans to ramp up the pressure the cryptocurrency mining industry in their pursuit to make engaging in any cryptocurrency related activities harder for their uses.
Described as an assault against illicit cryptocurrency activities, designed to protect users of Google’s services, the tech giants did recently announce plans to ban all cryptocurrency related advertising from their platforms. Today, Google have taken this one step further by announcing that they will be banning all cryptocurrency mining extensions from their web browser, Google Chrome.
Google Chrome is Google’s own web browser, it’s used worldwide and is often seen as a direct competitor to Mozilla Firefox and Microsoft Edge. It’s native to Google’s own devices such as the Chromebook and many Android phones.
The browser, enables users to install extensions that can offer various different services and enhancements to those who use Google Chrome, the extensions can be used to block adverts, save passwords and even extract HEX colour codes from websites, the possibilities are almost endless.
It goes without saying then that developers would use this freedom within Chrome to create extensions that allow cryptocurrency mining to take place on your machine and indeed this was the case until now. Google’s move to block cryptocurrency mining extensions within Chrome comes alongside recent fears that include malicious cryptocurrency mining as a genuine threat to computer users.
Initially, any cryptocurrency mining extensions designed for use in chrome did have to outline and disclose the true purpose of the extension and must be designed to just mine cryptocurrency. Google have announced however that 90% of the cryptocurrency mining extensions on the Google store have not followed these rules, instead, the extensions have masked themselves as something useful to a wider Google Chrome audience, in order to increase their number of installations.
This is just another tale in the saga between Google and the cryptocurrency industry. They have made it very clear that they want to protect their customers from scams and malicious activity yet on the flipside, they do seem to keep wanting to invest in the industry. It’s almost like a game of cat and mouse, except Google are playing both the part of the cat and the mouse.
Googles changes have gone into action with immediate effect, meaning those that did rely on cryptocurrency mining extensions exhaustively will need find a new way to mine, fast. Whether or not this will reduce the amount of illicit mining attacks within the blockchain, I guess we will have to wait and see.