Ad injectors are usually implemented as browser add-ins that place their own ads on web pages that you visit. These adds could replace existing ads or insert new, additional ads. The can also inject malware into your computer.
Google worked with a team of researchers at the University of California at Berkeley and found 200 Chrome extensions that had ad injection (and malware injection) capabilities.
Before you launch a nuclear strike at Google for allowing this to happen, here are some of the results of the research. Google received over a hundred thousand complaints in the last three months alone about ad injectors.
- Ad injectors affect all platforms – Windows, Mac and Linux.
- They affect all browsers – Chrome, Firefox and IE – and probably any other browser that has a big enough market share to matter and allows developers to write extensions.
- More than 5 percent of the users visiting Google web sites had ad-injectors in their browsers. Of that group, half had at least two and a third had at least 4.
- A third of the Chrome extensions that injected ads were classified as malware.
Now we need to embarrass Microsoft and Mozilla to do the same thing.
Google has blocked over 200 extensions and is refining the technique they use to detect this crap.
Unfortunately, the only way to stop this is for users to become much more aware of what they are clicking on, downloading and installing.
In the meantime, users should examine what extensions their browsers are running and disable any that they don’t need. If disabling one causes a problem for you, you can alware re-enable it.
How to do this is different for each browser and each operating system.