This Chrome extension kills its worst CPU-guzzling tendencies

Cryptomining and in-browser malware will be blocked by an added layer of defence

An American computer scientist has published an open-source extension for Google's Chrome browser that automatically detects and blocks the application's notoriously heavy CPU usage.

Whether this is a result of bugs, websites overloaded with data, or badly-written code, the Chrome browser has gained a reputation for consuming a vast amount of processing power, often without explanation.

The Chrome Reaper, howeve, is a browser extension that terminates browser processes when they use too much memory and CPUutilisation meets or exceed a certain threshold for a specified length of time. These may include web pages that are extremely bloated or slow, as well as cryptocurrency mining scripts.

David Flater, a computer scientist with the US government's National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST), has published details on the Chrome Reaper via Github, where users can download the extension or offer feedback.

Users can set this threshold to lie between 10% and 90% with 10% increments, and the time set to values between three and 30 seconds. The reason for adding such user-customised variation is because many cryptominers are designed to limit CPU utlisation well below 90% in order to avoid detection.

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When the Chrome Reaper terminates a web page or an extension suddenly dies, users will receive a push notification informing them what's happened. The extension will show itself as active with a small icon in the address bar, otherwise, displaying total CPU usage.

The extension also features whitelisting functionality so that known browser functions or websites that do exceed the threshold won't be disrupted. Entire sites can be whitelisted, moreover, as this functionality exempts the hostname as opposed to specific URLs.

Chrome is renowned for its functionality and slick user interface (UI) but has developed a reputation for leaning far too heavily on processing power. This browser extension, Flater hopes, can allay frustration many often feel while using Google's flagship browser.

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