Tech giant Google has confirmed that all commercial extensions have been temporarily suspended from being published or updated in the Chrome Web Store in the wake of a significant increase in the number of fraudulent transactions involving paid Chrome extensions that aim to exploit users. According to the Google security team, the wave of fraudulent transactions began earlier this month. Google engineers described the fraudulent transactions as happening “at scale.”
The ban on publishing or updating impacts all paid extensions. This includes Chrome extensions that require paying a fee before installing, extensions that work based on monthly subscriptions, or Chrome extensions that use one-time in-app purchases to get access to various features, ZDNet reported on Saturday.
However, existing commercial extensions are still available for download via the official Chrome Web Store. Notably, extension developers can’t push new updates.
“This is a temporary measure meant to stem this influx as we look for long-term solutions to address the broader pattern of abuse,” Simeon Vincent, Developer Advocate for Chrome Extensions at Google was quoted as saying in the report.
Extension developers who try to publish a new paid Chrome extension, or push a new update on their commercial extensions, are currently receiving an automated message that reads: “Spam and Placement in the Store.”