Once among the most trusted web browser plugins that protect users from annoying ads on the internet, both Nano AdBlocker and Nano Defender have fallen out of grace following the two plugin’s transfer of ownership, and to its merit.
Original developer, Hugo Xu, admitted several days ago to have sold the rights to his creations for not having the time for their maintenance. As per Xu himself, the browser extensions have at least 300,000 installations prior to the sale.
Meanwhile, developer of uBlock Origin—the plugin to which both Nano AdBlocker and Nano Defender were derived from—Raymond Hill claims that the new owners of the derivative web browser extensions have added malicious codes embedded in the two as part of their recent updates.
Specifically, the duo—often installed as a pair—is said to gather user data, labelled as “report,” and transfers the collected information to a remote server.
Unwitting victims, such as University of California AI and machine learning researcher, Cyril Gorlla, shows account of the plugins’ malicious functionality, citing how, through a web browser in his computer, a certain Instagram account have managed to gather likes for its 200 images.
Others recount how their infected browsers manage to access user accounts that were not originally open in their web browsers.
Senior staff technologist at Electronic Frontier Foundation and developer of Privacy Badger extension, Alexei, also agrees on the idea over the peril that comes with using the two plugins. But he could not specify the details due to its remote configuration.
Everybody who is currently actively using both Nano AdBlocker and Nano Defender should remove the plugins immediately and switch to something safer, like uBlock Origin. As of writing, the two extensions are no longer available in Chrome and Firefox stores.