Currently, all of FreeAddon & SportifyTab extensions have been bombarded by hackers with fake 1-star reviews & ratings. If you have seen 1-star ratings and reviews like: “it’s a virus software“; “the quality is really terrible and the pics are all the same, plus, its a virus code“; “they are stealing your data and details“; “MALICIOUS CODE – THEY TRACK ME ONLINE!“; etc…Do not believe them, they are all fake!
Our extensions have no viruses whatsoever and the hacker does not infect viruses into any Freeaddon’s extensions but they just use fake ratings & reviews to let new users coming to us and misjudging our hardwork. If you love our extensions, please support us by rating & giving your honest review that’s there’s nothing wrong with Freeaddon’s extensions to inform others.
* And to make things clear: THIS IS A REAL ISSUE and we don’t make this up to get reviews or for any other reasons! *. Here’s why & what you can help:
1/ Similar fake reviews have been repeated in many extensions:
These reviews are extremely unusual because they are so similar in words by words. A real review is commonly unique. However, these reviews strikingly resemble to each other with only small tweaks. Therefore, we think the hacker team use the same content and spin the text a little bit; they use fake Google+ accounts to post in mass for all of our 400+ newtab extensions.
Even our users have spotted these suspicious ratings and reviews:
2/ A newly uploaded extension from us has no users but it has been attacked with lots of bad ratings:
Another example is a brand new extension of Freeaddon having no user, but somehow it got 89 1-star ratings & many 1-star reviews. Again, this is extremely unusual since how can an extension get so many 1-star reviews and ratings while it has no user?
It must have been an attack from a system of a fake Google+ accounts to this extension. You can check this link of this extension for more details: Kino no Tabi HD Wallpaper New Tab Themes
3/ They even attack other extensions like 2048 with a review that had totally unrelated content to the 2048 game:
2048 is clearly a game; there is no cute picture or image related to this 2048 game. However, these non-relevant reviews (which is the same to the reviews used to attack our extensions) still appear:
And here’s the link of attacked extension: 2048
From November 25th 2017, our extensions started to have 50 ratings per day instead of 5 ratings per day like normal. Most ratings were 1-stars to decrease our overall rating point, thus to decrease the rank in Google Chrome Store. Let’s take an example of our Lamborghini Super Cars HD Wallpapers New Tab:
As you can see, the rating point for the extension has dropped dramatically in just few days. Such abnormal decrease is definitely not due to the extension itself. It has no virus, adware, malware, whatsoever. We believe you already notice this by now if you have used this extension before. We also often receive positive reviews & 5-star ratings from our users. Here are some proofs:
- The extension had an average rating point of 4.7 from total of 1413 ratings before it was attacked on November 25th, 2017.
- It has total of 118 real reviews with most positive comments and 5-stars ratings.
- It does not inject any adware, malware, virus, or changes the search engine from Google to Yahoo or any other search engine. (And it is still safe to use to this day)
If you are long-time fan of Freeaddon’s, you know that there’s nothing wrong or viruses in all Freeaddon’s extensions.
– We believe the attack has been done by the biggest Adware Distributors on Chrome Web Store. At first, they uploaded 400+ “clean” extensions that look similar to FreeAddon extensions, then they SPAM to get ranked Chrome Web Store search. By using deceptive means, they try to take FreeAddon down and replace with their extensions. After acquiring a good amount of users, they will upload adware-hijacked version and unpublish the extensions, or they will sell the extensions on black-hat SEO market. They always inject adware/malware after unpublishing the extensions, so the “Report Abuse” button of these extensions will lead to a “Error 404 (Not Found)” page. No user can report these malwares and Google will never notice it! Our team has a test PC that installed many NewTab extensions from suspected attackers, monitored them day by day and saw this happened many times. Similar attacks were launched against FreeAddon in the past, you can read my previous article for more details: Adware-Virus distributors are faking FreeAddon & SportifyTab extensions
– Look at the following example, you will see how the Attacker able to manipulate Chrome Web Store results and get to Rank 1.
FreeAddon is the result from a lot of hard work and thanks for your support, we have managed to come this far. We don’t want to see every inch of our efforts go to waste & become misjudged as “virus/adware/malware” extensions. Many of our extensions’ rating points are only 2-3 stars now whereas they are all have rating point of 4.5-5 before and we are very sad at it.
If the Attacker succeeds, they may take advantage of their Bot-Spam system to attack any other Chrome Web Store developer & create unlimited malicious extensions. Please help us to fight against these Spammers and prevent this from happening!
If you enjoy our work, here’s actions you can support us:
- Click “Rate” button in your new tab to give ratings in Chrome Webstore.
- Give review to spread the words about these fake reviews and ratings to let other users aware of the situation and stay cautious towards these suspicious reviews.
- Add hashtags in the review if you want: #FreeAddonHasNoVirus #DontBelieveFakeReviews
- If possible, you can click “No” in the question “Was this review helpful?” for 1-star reviews & reply to inform others.
Thank you for taking time reading this. We personally thank users like Lynne Stoddard, Colin Healey, Don- Na & many more who have given a lot of reviews & replies in the past few days to let other users understand the situation!
NEW TYPES OF REPEATED FAKE REVIEWS THAT YOU SHOULD NOT BELIEVE IN – UPDATED ON FEB 12TH, 2018:
UPDATED ON APRIL 6TH, 2018: We’ve received messages from other developers informing that their extensions have been attacked by the same hacker team spammed on Freeaddon & SportifyTab extensions. Therefore, if you find any evidence of this hacker’s attack on any extensions (not just Freeaddon), please send us the details via this form, so that together we can help Google aware of this dire situation: