Google Yanks Great Suspender Extension From Chrome Web Store Over Malware Threat

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The Great Suspender extension is sounding more like the "The Great Suspension" after actions taken today by Google. But first of all, what is The Great Suspender? Well, it's a browser extension that tames some of Google Chrome's most odious habits. It can automatically deactivate tabs that have been used infrequently (thus cutting down on memory consumption), then reload them right away as you click back to them. This is a feature (Sleeping Tabs) that Microsoft has already implemented in the current stable branch of its Edge browser.

However, The Great Suspender has been kicked out of the Chrome Web Store over allegations that it "may contain malware." All links to the popular app have been removed, and throw up a 404 error instead. According to TheMageKing, the original developer of the extension sold it to an unknown third-party in late 2020, and unfortunately, the new owners were up to no good. The new owners decided to leverage the popularity of the extension to promote "advertising fraud, tracking, and more."

Version 7.1.8 of The Great Suspender ran arbitrary code from a remote server, after which Microsoft prevented the extension from being installed on its Chromium-based Edge browser. The new developers then released version 7.1.9 without the malicious code enabled.

"That has been the code running since November, and it does not appear to load the compromised script," wrote TheMageKing. "The malicious maintainer remains in control, however, and can introduce an update at any time. Well, they could until Google nuked the extension from their store."

And that last statement is exactly what Google did today by removing The Great Suspender. What we'd like to know, however, is why did it take Google so long to react to the potentially dangerous payload present in The Great Suspender extension when Microsoft acted last year to put a muzzle on it? At this point, Google is not providing any additional information on its decision to boot The Great Suspender.

With that being said, users of the exiled extension are now faced with the prospect of not being able to recover their suspended tabs. However, some resourceful redditors have already found a usable workaround.