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Tue
06
Aug
John Lister's picture

Site Opens 100 Tabs to Fool Web Trackers

Mozilla has designed a site that will open 100 tabs at once, quite likely crashing a web browser. It's meant as a creative way to show how web tracking works. The stunt is based around cookies: small text files put onto a computer via the browser to ... customize an online session to a website. Third-party tracking cookies are then generated, which keep a record of the sites a user visits. This information is then used by ad servers to deliver targeted ads based on website history. "Track THIS" works by opening 100 tabs selected to represent a particular type of web user. The idea is that there ... (view more)

Wed
05
Jun
John Lister's picture

Windows 10 Apps Plagued by Fake Tech Support Ads

Developers have been shocked to discover their apps for the Windows Store are carrying scam advertising. They are blaming Microsoft for not properly vetting the ads it inserts into the apps. The apps in question are for Windows 10 and are part of ... the "modern Windows experience" which lets users get software from an the official Microsoft Store similar to Google Play (for Android) and Apple's App Store (for iOS devices). The only difference is that Windows also allows users to download and install programs directly from software developers. App makers who use the Windows Store have ... (view more)

Wed
17
Apr
John Lister's picture

Ad Blockers Could Be Hijacked

A feature used in several ad blocker tools could be used to "booby trap" websites according to a security researchers. It appears to be a low but credible risk. The problem is all to do with the way many ad blockers work. In simple terms, they ... maintain a blacklist of URLs that host ads and other unwanted material. Whenever a website tries to load an ad from an URL on the list, it's blocked from doing so. Since last summer some ad blockers, including Adblock Plus, added support for a feature called "$rewrite." With this feature, the ad blocker won't just block the unwanted URL from ... (view more)

Wed
02
Jan
John Lister's picture

Mozilla Accused of Running Ads On Firefox

Mozilla says a promotional message that appeared on Firefox's "new tab" page was not a paid ad. It says it was instead an experiment. A "new tab" page appears when the user either presses CTRL +T on the keyboard, or clicks the tab with a plus sign ... to start a new browser tab. The message appeared at the bottom of the screen on the new tab page and offered a $20 Amazon gift card to users who clicked on a link and then reserved a hotel room on Booking.com. It's reminiscent of a few years back when the new tab page was made up of several tiles, mostly linking to some of the ... (view more)

Tue
01
Jan
John Lister's picture

Apps Share Data With Facebook, Even if No FB Account

20 popular Android apps are sharing user data with Facebook without permission, according to a new report. Privacy International says the data sharing happens even if the user doesn't have a Facebook account. The organization tested 34 apps, each of ... which have been installed at least 10 million times on Android devices. It looked at data that was transmitted through the Facebook Software Development Kit (SDK). The kit is a set of tools that are designed to help app developers coordinate their apps with the Facebook system. This is more commonly associated with retrieving data from ... (view more)

Wed
07
Nov
John Lister's picture

Chrome To Block Ads On Scam Websites

Google's Chrome browser will soon block all ads on sites that have "abusive experiences" for users. It's designed as a way to put financial pressure on scammers. It's a new step following on from an existing attempt to protect users against ... misleading websites. 'Misleading' has a couple of meanings in this context. One is sites that carry pop-up or other ads that falsely claim to be system warnings, such as those which state the user's computer has malware. In this case, the user either downloads (and pays for) fake security software to "fix" the "problem", or is directed ... (view more)

Mon
05
Nov
John Lister's picture

Facebook Ads Falsely Labeled 'Approved By' US Senators

A report suggests that Facebook approved advertisements falsely claiming to be paid for by each of the 100 sitting US Senators. The VICE News investigation uncovered a major loophole in what was meant to be a transparency measure. Following ... revelations of Russian interference with bogus posts and ads designed to disrupt the US political system, Facebook brought in several measures to restrict who is allowed to post such ads. One such measure was a new rule stating that any political ad must carry the name of the person who has paid for it, similar to the rules on broadcasting. The rule also ... (view more)

Thu
01
Nov
John Lister's picture

Report: Apps for Kids Contain Dubious, Unsuitable Ads

Apps aimed at very young children are a "wild west" of dubious advertising according to the author of a new study. Jenny Radesky of the University of Michigan's CS Mott Children's Hospital said the advertising was often manipulative. The researchers ... looked at 135 Android apps played by children, including the 96 most downloaded from the Google Play store in the "5 And Under" category. Their headline finding was that 95 percent contained at least one form of advertising. That's arguably a little misleading as this includes 42 percent of the apps featuring a commercial character such as one ... (view more)

Fri
11
May
Dennis Faas's picture

How to: Use a Firewall to Block Full Screen Ads on Android

Infopackets Reader Steve G. writes: " Dear Dennis, Thank you so much for your article on How to Disable Full Screen Popup Ads in Android ! Lately I have been inundated with full screen ads appearing on my smartphone and I have no idea where they are ... coming from. I tried your suggestion in the article, which says to wait for the full screen ad to appear, then press the app button on my phone to see where the ad is coming from. The problem is that these full screen ads don't have a title, so unfortunately I can't tell where the ad is coming from. You also suggested using a firewall but I am not ... (view more)

Thu
10
May
John Lister's picture

YouTube Deletes Videos Promoting Cheating

YouTube has removed hundred of videos which included promotions for essay-writing services. The company says it breaches its rules but the video presenters say they weren't given enough warning. The case doesn't involve ads placed via YouTube itself ... that are shown to viewers before popular videos, or display ads shown on the site. Instead the 'ads' were part of the videos themselves. 700 Million Views For Promotions A BBC investigation found that more than 250 people who produce popular YouTube videos had broken off in the middle of a clip to promote EduBirdie, a Ukraine-based service which ... (view more)

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