Thoughts, information and reflections about technology

Finding a bad extension in chrome

Chrome had been hijacked on my machine. If I would search google for something, clicking on the google serps resulting in being taken to an order page for the product. For example, I was looking for info on Symantec Endpoint Protection and would get a page to order SEP, not the actual forums from the google serps.

I ran a combo of AVG, Spybot and Malwarebytes. However, the problem would recur.

I inspected the element of the links and found that the google serps were being redirected via xfreeservice.com.

The chrome extension manager is a bit bulky. I downloaded the SimpleExtManger extension. (free)

That showed a list of all the chrome extensions and apps.  I disabled everything except the SimpleExtManager extension.  When I refreshed the search page, the hijacked links disappeared and it was a normal page.

You could turn on the extensions one by one to determine which extension is causing the problem. An alternative is a binary type search. IOW, turn on the first half of the extensions. IF there is a problem, then you know the problem is in that group. If not, it is in the second group.

for example, if you have 12 extensions.

 

  • Turn them all off except simpleextmanager and test your page. You should see that the hijacking is not happening if it was extension related.
  • Now, turn on the first 6 extensions and test.
    • If there is a problem, turn off the last three and test.
If you are methodical, you can find the problem extension quickly this way.
Once you’ve identified the extension that is supporting the hijacking, uninstall it. Then reboot and run a full malware scan.
In my case, the extension doing the hijacking was one that I had loaded because of youtube buffering issues.

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