Block it !

Most places you go to on the web now, will almost certainly be serving you adverts, or tracking you, or worse, and this is only an basic article about adblocking, Ublock origin in particular, as it’s the one that gets recommended by security analysts and researchers, and i install it in every browser first thing, i watch a fair bit of Youtube like most of us, and i still see many people complaining about adverts, so let’s go.

Youtube pre-rolls and ads have been around for years, but people really like money by doing nothing, and so adverts have bled their way into Youtube, one of the most high profile sites on the web. 
If You’re ready to watch a video, it’s incredibly annoying to have to sit through some unwanted crappy advert about something you hate, using your bandwidth, electricity, hardware and most insidious, your time.

Adblockers are plugins or extensions for your web browser which aim to stop this, they’ve also been around donkeys ages too, but, like every other bit of software, it doesn’t always do what it ‘says on the tin’ and, sometimes it does rather more… some Adblockers actually bring in adverts to your browser (mentioning no names) as they feed you tailored ads, different to what you may otherwise get fed, and for this, the adblock company gets a pay-off. Ad blockers, not blocking ads for money, sweet, no ?

This last year or two, the one everyone has been raving about is Ublock Origin  by Gorhill.
Actually, it’s not just an adblocker, as Gorhill himself says, it’s a wide spectrum blocker. so It’s a little like a java script blocker and firewall too, and a bit more too. but DO NOT confuse “Ublock Origin” with the similar sounding “UBLOCK” use Ublock Origin(al)

Default settings are, of course, pretty conservative, and try not to break anything too much, there’s always a trade-off between security and convenience, and you’re the only one who knows where the balance is for the way you use the web. The ‘tyranny of the default’ is a problem, and most bits of software – of any description, often benefit from a check through the preferences, in some cases, doing so can often turn a pain in the arse program into a pleasant to use and safer thing.

For me, i put all settings pretty much up to maximum, and if a website breaks, then so-be it, it can be whitelisted, turned off or adjusted until the site functions as expected if really needed.
Ublock Origin is available for every browser, FirefoxChrome, Chromium, Brave, Iriduim, Safari and even Edge although You really should try NOT to use Microsoft Edge Browser even if Microsoft have started building it underneath the bonnet from the Google Chromium browser, but if you must, enable WDAG at very least  before you start fixing it..
If You really want to tighten up privacy with Ublock Origin, go into the settings and enable the extra lists and Prevent WebRTC and for extra privacy i  block CSP reports too, although some people criticized Ublock Origin for being over zealous.




Above: i add extra privacy by clicking the “WebRTC” and “Block CSP”

One of the least discussed, but wonderfully useful things i like about some advert, or content blockers, is ‘element hiding’
where you can either temporarily or forever hide unwanted parts of a web page, sometimes it it *extremely* handy and can get you past some casual pay walls or some only-logged-in parts of some sites or remove bulky or screen wasting photos or guff.


 Here is a rather extreme example of element hiding on the same MSN homepage, these 2 pictures are before and after, i spent a couple of minutes hiding bits of the website – by using the mouse and highlighting it, and  i got rather carried away and deleted pretty much everything !

Properly set up, Ublock origin should stop almost all adverts, even Youtube pre-rolls and in video pop ups whilst enhancing your privacy a little bit more, and it might speed up your browsing too and keep websites leaner and faster, but if you get into element hiding, you can extremely easily break a website (for you and that browser only) in a big way, or you might just hide the video, or login button, so you’d have to go into the ptions in ‘my filters’ and delete the filter lines the program has added.

-Hax-

2 thoughts on “Block it !

  1. That’s interesting. I’ve been using ‘Adblock’ for a long time now and didn’t really look any further, as it appears to do ‘what it says on the tin’. However, I’ll give your recommendation a go. Thanks.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: