Google removed the very well-known The Great Suspender extension from the Chrome Web Store and classified it as malware.
The Great Suspender is a Chrome extension that freezes unused tabs and releases their resources to reduce the memory usage of the browser. When the user is ready to use the tab again, the user only needs to click on it to reload the tab.
This extension is very popular among the user community and has more than 2 million users, and because it can reduce Chrome’s memory usage, it has always been a recommended extension.
A few days ago, Google has deleted it from the Chrome Web Store, and users who have installed the extension will receive a reminder message stating that “this extension contains malware,” but Google did not provide further explanation of the reason for the deletion.
Users who are using The Great Suspender extension and have frozen their tabs will not be able to restore the page through the extension. You can check the official guide for the restoration method.
In June 2020, the developer of The Great Suspender sold the extension to an unknown third party because he did not have time to continue to properly maintain the project. At that time, some users on the Internet questioned this transaction, why someone would buy a free open-source extension, and the extension did not bring any revenue to the original developer before.
There have been incidents in the past where the acquirer made a profit through malicious changes after the free extension was sold, such as injecting advertisements or stealing information, users are also worried that the same will happen to The Great Suspender.
Unfortunately, what the user worried about still happened. When the new maintainer updated the extension to version 7.1.8, which included a script for tracking user behavior, this behavior angered users, and then the developer released version 7.1.9 that claimed to be free of malicious scripts.
However, the extension continues to be in the hands of unknown third-party developers and is no longer released through GitHub. It is difficult to guarantee that in the future they will not introduce malicious code as before, or even increase the concealment means in order to avoid user discovery.
For users who really want to use The Great Suspender extension, the GitHub project page still provides the old version 7.1.6, which is the final release owned by the original developer and does not contain malicious scripts. To install extensions, they need to be installed in Chrome Developer Mode, but this mode reduces the security provided by Google’s extension review process.