Industry news

News that concern ad blocking and similar areas

Cryptocurrency mining affects over 500 million people. And they have no idea it is happening.

This autumn the news spread that some websites had been making money by mining cryptocurrencies in their users’ browsers. We have been among the first to add protection from this hidden activity. AdGuard users now receive warnings if a website has been trying to mine, and the users are given the option to let it continue or to block the mining script from running.

We decided to research the issue more so that we could understand its scale and impact. On the Alexa list of the top one hundred thousand websites, we looked for the codes for CoinHive and JSEcoin, the most popular solutions for browser mining in use now. »

Go spy, GO! Popular app with 200M+ users crosses the red line

UPDATED on 25.09.2017, details are in the bottom of the article

Have you ever thought that your keyboard could be a professional spy? And we are not talking about jamesbondish handsome spies from Hollywood movies, but about the overt and constant home phoning of the personal information with its future distribution to third parties. Our recent research discovered a popular Android keyboard to spy on its users, with tons of personal information being sent to remote servers and using a prohibited technique to download dangerous executable code. »

Ad blocking is under attack

Well, this is huge, so I'd like to draw your attention to what's happening right now. This is a very alarming case, and it concerns every ad blocker user.

Brief introduction into ad blocking

To understand better what's happened, you should first learn a bit more about ad blocking. Every ad blocker work is based on using so-called filters lists, which are maintained (mostly) by volunteers. That said, whichever ad blocker you use, credits for actual ad blocking belong to the filter lists maintainers. The most popular filters list is called EasyList and this is what this story is about.

Got it, so what happened?

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Apple announced smart anti-tracking and video autoplay block

At its annual conference for developers, Apple has revealed several ad-restriction related upcoming updates for Safari desktop browser.

The most interesting one is the Intelligent Tracking Prevention. The purpose of this technology is to protect users from "third party" data collection. There often are elements on websites, integrated from other websites (images, videos, scripts, analytic services). If site B has elements from site A, the owners of the latter receive information about visitors of site B, even if they never visit site A. This is called cross-site tracking. As a result, a user does not know who has their data and cannot control it. In addition, aggregating and analyzing information from different websites gives vast opportunities of behaviour prediction and control.

Apple's approach is based on giving information about users only to the sites they interact with and are interested in. So, if site A receives information about a user only as a "third party", through other sites, and the user hasn’t visited site A itself within 30 days, then the cookie files from site A get erased from user’s device and prevented from uploading again. »

Google unveiled its strategy of a grand ad reform

A new tool has become available in Google Webmaster — Ad Experience Report. In it, the site owner is to find screenshots and videos of ads on the site, which Google finds unacceptable and annoying by the standards of Better Ads. And since 2018 no ads will be shown in Chrome browser on the sites that do not comply with the Better Ads Standards (even ads owned or served by Google).

Besides, Google launched a beta of the tool Funding Choices. It helps a webmaster to address users who block ads and ask them to either disable ad blocking or pay for ad-free access. Users can pay through Google Contributor, which acts here as a kind of adblocker, paid for users, voluntary for sites, compensating them profit losses from ad blocking and bringing profit to Google itself. It works like this: a user tops up his account, each time he visits a website that uses the Contributor, a per-page fee is deducted from his account to pay the creators of the website, a part of the money is kept by Google. The user sees no ads on the pages. »