When Nano Defender was launched in 2019, it quickly became a go-to extension to bypass anti-adblocking mechanisms on Internet sites. It used code from uBlock Origin, one of the most prominent content blocking extensions, and users started to install the new extension in Chrome and other Chromium-based browsers.
One of the main differentiating factors between Nano Defender and uBlock Origin was that the former supported a reporting option to let the developer know about issues encountered while using the extension. A port for Firefox was created by another developer to cover all major browsers on the Windows platform.
Nano Defender has more than 200,000 users that installed the extension from the Chrome Web Store alone.
The developer of the extension revealed on the official GitHub that he decided to sell the extension twelve days ago to two Turkish developers.
Community members and Raymond Hill, developer of uBlock Origin, shared their thoughts on the deal and the fact that little information was provided. Gorhill suspected that the new owners main intention was to monetize the extension in one form or another, or do worse with it.
The new owners uploaded a new version to the Chrome store, and careful analysis of the code of the extension revealed that it contained a new connect.js file that did not come from the project's GitHub page.
Hill provided an analysis of the code and discovered that the new code allowed the developers to submit user activity and data to remote servers.
The extension is now designed to lookup specific information from your outgoing network requests according to an externally configurable heuristics and send it to https://def.dev-nano.com/.
Hill suggested that users uninstall Nano Defender / Nano Adblocker immediately to block data from being submitted to the new owners.
The Firefox fork of the extension was not part of the deal, and the maintainer of it expressed interest to rename it and continue maintaining it. All other versions of the extension, basically any for Chromium-based browsers, should be removed immediately. Users who want to be on the safe side should remove the Firefox extension as well.Advertisement
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.