Depending on who you are connected to on Facebook, you may have been exposed to one of the recent spam attacks on the site. The attack disguises itself in form of a status update and includes a link to a media player site and names of other contacts. When you click on the link you are taken to a website that sports a media player, some banners and maybe some other page elements.
The media player is not working at all, and when you click on the play button in Google Chrome, you immediately get an extension installation dialog on the same page. You probably know that installations are automatically blocked if they originate from third party sites. The extension in question is however listed on Chrome's Web Store and thus not blocked automatically.
If you are tech-savvy you probably clicked on the close button at the top or the cancel button as alarm bells surely started to ring loud and clear by then. The missing description of the extension as well as the missing reviews are two additional indicators that there may be something wrong with the extension.
If you ask yourself why you are on the site and why you'd want to install an extension that you know nothing about, then you probably come to the conclusion that it is better not to proceed at this point.
If you do proceed though and install the extension, you may receive many angry messages from friends on Facebook. The extension will spread the same message that you have received to all of your friends automatically, if you are logged in on Facebook after installation.
If you look in Chrome's web store, you will notice that three extensions exist with the Unlimited Watching name. They have been added in the last three days and use different publisher names and websites. It is however very likely that they are linked to the same individual or company.
The Chrome extension cannot be installed by normal means. You do need to close the web browser and open the profile folder of the browser instead:
Open the extensions folder and sort the folder by date so that you find the last extension that has been added to the browser. Either delete the folder outright or move it out of the extensions folder first to verify that it is the correct extension.
What you may also want to do is let your friends know what happened and why it happened, so that they do not make the same mistake that you did. (via Caschy)
What we can learn from the attack? Never trust links only because they have been posted by friends, make sure you know what an extension does before installing it, and do make sure the rights the extension requests match the extension's purpose.
Advertising revenue is falling fast across the Internet, and independently-run sites like Ghacks are hit hardest by it. The advertising model in its current form is coming to an end, and we have to find other ways to continue operating this site.
We are committed to keeping our content free and independent, which means no paywalls, no sponsored posts, no annoying ad formats (video ads) or subscription fees.
If you like our content, and would like to help, please consider making a contribution:
Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.