Google has confirmed that all commercial extensions have been temporarily suspended from being published or updated in the Chrome Web Store in the wake of a significant increase in the number of fraudulent transactions involving paid Chrome extensions that aim to exploit users.
The Google security team reported that the wave of fraudulent transactions began earlier this month. Google engineers described fraudulent transactions as happening “at scale.”
According to the ZDNet report on Saturday, the ban on publishing or updating affects all paid extensions. This includes Chrome extensions that need paying a fee before installing, extensions that work based on monthly subscriptions, or Chrome extensions that use one-time in-app purchases to get access to various features.
Existing commercial extensions are still available for download via the official Chrome Web Store.
Simeon Vincent, Developer Advocate for Chrome Extensions at Google mentioned that “This is a temporary measure meant to stem this influx as we look for long-term solutions to address the broader pattern of abuse.”
Extension developers who try to publish a new paid Chrome extension, or push a new update on their commercial extensions, are currently receiving an automated message that reads: “Spam and Placement in the Store.”