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Google Chrome KryptoKit Faux Pas

by Sagnik Roy on May 21, 2014

This morning was greeted with an uproar worldwide surrounding KryptoKit (bitcoin wallet & encrypted messaging extension) being removed from Google Chrome Extension Store. There was quite a speculation as to what the main issue was as none of the developers could provide a concrete answer. KryptoKit, which has support of some of the most prominent members of the bitcoin community has been running successfully for the past six months and had been well-received by users – until today.

Users began facing issues around 6am GMT today, when a popup box informed them that the extension had automatically removed itself from Google Chrome. The dialogue box had two buttons which read “OK” and “Details”. The latter redirected users to Google Web Store, from where KryptoKit had been removed too.

“A malware developer hoping to steal bitcoin keys copied the KryptoKit extension codebase in order to build their own malicious extension” – said Tyler, a Chrome product manager. “The pipelines that we use to detect malware flagged the real kryptokit extension as being nearly identical since the vast majority of the effective code and assets were the same, causing the extension to be blacklisted” was the interesting explanation according to him, which caused the faux pas.

He has stated that this whole confusion was a great learning experience for the team and they are continuing to try and perfect the protections in web store. “We wanted to emphasize that we are definitely not seeking to limit Bitcoin extensions in general or the KryptoKit extension in particular – but rather trying our best to keep users safe from malicious exploits” – concludes Tyler.

KryptoKit was revived within the next hour and there have been no additional reports of any other bitcoin wallets including their Android device counterparts being removed.

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