Google Chrome sees Web Store security crackdown

(Image credit: Shutterstock / Magura)

Google is updating the Chrome Web Store's spam policy in an effort to cut down on the number of “low-quality and misleading” Chrome extensions.

In a blog post, the search giant's Rebecca Soares and Benjamin Ackerman from the Chrome Policy and Anti-Abuse Team explained why the company is introducing these new rules, saying:

“The increase in adoption of the extension platform has also attracted spammers and fraudsters introducing low-quality and misleading extensions in an attempt to deceive and trick our users into installing them to make a quick profit. We want to ensure that the path of a user discovering an extension from the Chrome Web Store is clear and informative and not muddled with copycats, misleading functionalities or fake reviews and ratings.”

Google plans to begin enforcing its updated spam policy on August 27 which will likely lead to a large number of extensions that don't meet the new requirements being delisted.

Chrome Web Store crackdown

Google's crackdown on the Chrome Web Store is designed to prevent developers from using shady practices and other tricks to boost the install counts of their extensions while also eliminating low-quality content.

Beginning at the end of August, developers will no longer be able to submit duplicate extensions that have different names but provide users with the same experience or content. They also won't be able to use “keyword spam” techniques to flood metadata fields with multiple terms or have extensions listed across multiple categories to rank higher in search results.

Google will also be limiting how developers leverage metadata by preventing them from using misleading, excessive or inappropriate metadata. Going forward, metadata needs to be accurate and the company plans to be quite strict on this front. At the same time, Google will also forbid developers from inflating product ratings, reviews or install counts by illegitimate means such as fraudulent downloads, reviews and ratings.

Developers have until August 27 to make sure that their extensions adhere to the Chrome Web Store's updated spam policy or they will be taken down.

Via ZDNet

Anthony Spadafora

After working with the TechRadar Pro team for the last several years, Anthony is now the security and networking editor at Tom’s Guide where he covers everything from data breaches and ransomware gangs to the best way to cover your whole home or business with Wi-Fi. When not writing, you can find him tinkering with PCs and game consoles, managing cables and upgrading his smart home.