The more you know

A 17-post collection

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. »

Instagram overhears my offline chats! Is it possible?

"Instagram is listening to you and uses the contents of your offline discussions for targeting ads", thinks entrepreneur and developer Damián Le Nouaille. One day he saw an ad in his Instagram news feed featuring a product that he had never googled, liked or discussed on social networks. He talked about it with his friends in a cafe, though.

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Companies make money on personal data: where is my share?

Facebook should pay us a basic income, states John Thornhill from Financial Times. Look at Alaska: for more than 30 years an investment fund financed by oil companies pays all the state’s residents from $878 to $2,072 annually (the sum depends on the success of fund’s investment efforts, not on anything a resident does or achieves).

Data is the new oil. So shouldn’t we get something in return for fuelling ad campaigns, marketing research, political technologies with our digitalized lives? »

The inscrutable ways of user data: Adguard research announcement

Understanding the importance of our personal data, we are forced to maintain a certain balance between security and openness. We have to share our data if we want to buy online, use apps and services. But, trusting our data to a certain business, we expect that it would use it within laws, ethics, and would take our interests into consideration.

We decided to investigate several popular mobile applications and see which third parties have access to the personal data of their users. »

The history of ad blocking, part 3: Lawmaking, paid content and new tracking technologies

The final part of the History contains a brief overview of the regulation measures affecting blockers in different regions of the world. We will also see how companies dependent on advertising find other ways to earn money or track customers. If you’ve missed the previous parts or want to read them again, here there are, the first and the second.

The fourth installment of the series will be the most interesting, as we will speculate on the future of blockers. »

"Sing, Goddess, the wrath": a history of ad blocking, part one

For as long as advertisements have existed, people have been trying to avoid them. No surprise there. An advertisement is an unwelcome communication that distracts attention and intrudes at its own discretion and for its own purpose.

Marketing experts writhed in agony when video cassette recorders first started gaining popularity. "It’s over now," they thought. "TV advertising is dead. People will no longer just switch channels (where they can be caught) or go to the kitchen (where they can still hear the ads). Now they can avoid an ad altogether by just cutting it off!" »