This tool was created by Matthew Bryan, a security researcher, he named it “Cursed Chrome” and released it on GitHub as an open-source project.
The software works on two fronts and has two parts –
- a client-side component (this is the chrome extension)
- a server-side counterpart ( this is where all CursedChrome server report)
Once this extension is installed, it can be used to log into the CursedChrome control panel, and through it, the hacker can use any infected browser. Thus, the hacker can navigate and browse the net using that identity and can even access logged in sessions and credentials.
This extension is the icing on the cake for hackers and has been received with skepticism. Many at the cybersecurity community have raised their eyebrows at the public release of such software saying it’s nothing short of handing a gun to a killer to do the killing.
Created for Pen-testing
The creator, Matthew Bryant says that his intentions were quite innocent. “I open-sourced the code because I want other professional red teamers and pen-testers to be able to accurately simulate the ‘malicious browser-extension’ scenario,” says Bryant in a statement.
He opens sourced the code so that it would help security companies to test their walls and keep the miscreants out. “Open-sourcing tooling is important for red teams (security companies) for the same reasons as any other job: it saves time for the teams at different companies from having to rewrite everything whenever they do a red team or pentest. It’s actually doubly important for us because pen-testers and red teamers work on extremely tight timelines,” Bryant said.
Bryant says that it’s very easy to built an extension like CursedChrome for a hacker and his only intention was to bring awareness that extensions like these that we very easily install in our system can be equal to paving way for hackers.
“It’s […] important to raise awareness of just what level of access you’re granting when you install a random extension for your browser,” Bryant said in a mail to ZDnet.
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He hopes that security companies can show the dangers of Chrome extensions through CursedChrome and build a stronger security system.
Bryant also gives a solution that blocks all extensions that could harm the user’s security. He released a second project, named Chrome Galvanizer on GitHub (this too, open-source).