In the last couple of months I have had the same thing happen on separate occasions to two Android phones, a Mac laptop and a Windows desktop computer. In all cases, something infects Chrome making random words on all sites becomes links to advertising, advertising tabs appear at random or when I click the mouse.
To my knowledge, I have not visited any websites I would consider dodgy, nor downloaded any questionable apps or programs, opened email attachments, or anything else on any of the infected devices. I don’t know how it happened once, let alone 4 times.
I keep all machines patched, and they are not linked other than being on the same LAN and using the same Gmail account. Almost all programs I have downloaded for the laptop and desktop are for scientific computing or web development.
What sources might I have overlooked, and what can I do to stop this from happening?
- Problem appears in Chrome only. I've checked Chrome extensions on PCs and all OK (do they even exist on Android)?
- Nobody else who has used the same LAN as me has the problem
- The problem appears intermittently on all devices - sometimes the same pages look OK and I can't find a pattern
- I ran Avast on my Macbook which complained about FileZilla, which I deleted. Problem appears to be gone now on that machine, but was intermittent to begin with so not 100% convinced.
Screenshot from Android:
Using the same connection, phone and browser I now can't reproduce this screenshot, so it's definitely intermittent.