back to article Ad-blocking browser extension actually adds ads, say Imperva researchers

Security vendor Imperva’s research labs have found a browser extension that claims to block ads, but actually injects them into Chrome or Opera. A post from Imperva staffers Johann Sillam and Ron Masas names an extension called AllBlock as the culprit. The extension does block ads, they write. But it also runs a background …

  1. Joe W Silver badge


    Opera's fateful decision to offer compatibility with Chrome extensions abandon its own browser enginge in favour of Chromeium, alienating many long-term users and supporters in that process, means it gets smeared by association.

    Bitter? Me?

    Well, they broke Opera for me earlier than that, much loved features were gone in an earlier version already. So changing their engine to Chrome was more of a "meh" moment for me.

    What browser engines still exist for the desktop? Well, top of my head, Chrome (blink?), whatver Firefox is based on, and Safari (only Mac - no, wait, that's Chrome as well, isn't it?). There's Palemoon and Waterfox and other forks using the old Firefox, and whatever Konqueror uses (yeah...). Oh, and Lynx. Hmmm. So basically we have two (major, mainstream) broser families left: Firefox and everything else. Pity.

    1. Blackjack Silver badge

      Re: TFTFY

      The Lynx web browser still lives, last updated last year and been around since 1992.

      1. Mike 137 Silver badge

        Re: TFTFY

        "The Lynx web browser still lives..."

        Unfortunately a lot of web sites refuse to render at all in Lynx - or indeed in pretty much any browser other than the most recently released. The assumption that everyone constantly 'upgrades' must lose a lot of businesses a lot of business. But of course they never find out, because folks don't complain (I've tried and it's futile), they just go somewhere else to buy their stuff.

        1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

          Re: TFTFY

          The number of people actually using Lynx to browse the web must be miniscule. The numbers attempting to use it to do business over the internet must be a miniscule subset of that miniscule number. The number of business who care about that will be approximately zero.

          As for outdated browsers - if you're using it to browse the internet, you are going to get updates. I can't remember the last time I had to actually upgrade a browser manually, and most people are using devices that have a lifespan of a couple of years, maybe five at most. You and I may be sat at a desktop PC, or well specced laptop, but most people are either on their phones, with an 18-24 month upgrade cycle, or using tablets or laptops whose batteries will be dead within three.

          Tell me honestly, how many people do you know using a machine that is older than 5 years? Admittedly, parts of my desktop machine are older than that, but I'm hardly going to be a typical user. Not a lot of people build their own PCs, and even then, I have a box full of bits and bobs that are obsolete. The only bits that I am likely to retain for many years are things like power supplies and case fans.

          Don't make the mistake of thinking that you are typical of the customers that most sites want to attract. They couldn't care less if you are running an ancient version of X-Mosaic on a Linux distro from 1998, or IE 6, or a minority browser that was created as a fork of the old Firefox code base. I can guarantee you that you aren't their target customer.

          1. Gene Cash Silver badge

            Re: TFTFY

            Don't make the mistake of thinking that you are typical of the customers that most sites want to attract

            Um, I have money, and I want to spend it?

            But you're right, that doesn't appear to make me a target demographic for anyone except Amazon, judging from the shitshows that most American companies call a "website" or a "storefront"

            1. Anonymous Coward

              Re: TFTFY

              Um, I have money, and I want to spend it?

              That puts you in the same class as, uh, everybody.

              Unfortunately, the amount of profit they can make from you won't even pay for the time it takes to read and respond to your request, much less act on it.

            2. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

              Re: TFTFY

              Um, I have money, and I want to spend it?

              So do the other 99.9999999% of the population who have no trouble visiting their website. The difference being that the business doesn't have to sink additional costs to reach them.

              There are, of course, supposedly accessibility requirements that businesses make their web sites accessible to those who can't use the same technology as everyone else, and have to make use of such things as screen readers. This isn't, of course, the same as making them accessible to those who won't use the same technology as others, and moan about the sites not working with Lynx.

            3. Mike 137 Silver badge

              Re: TFTFY

              "Target demographic" or not, one is constantly finding commercial sites going inaccessible for no apparent good reason. For example, I used to buy a lot from RS Components, but on revisiting their web site the other day after a gap of a couple of months I found that the product search no longer functions in the browser I currently use. Similarly, for at least the last couple of years, images fail to render on many sites unless you allow scripts from often multiple sources. Often, vendor logos render, but the product images don't.

              I get awfully sick of web sites that fail to render properly (or indeed at all) demanding I upgrade my browser. Commonly such sites consist of flat pages that could be delivered perfectly well using HTML and CSS, but on examining the source are found to be humungous chunks of obfuscated javascript.

        2. Blackjack Silver badge

          Re: TFTFY

          Yeah but at least Duckduckgo works on it.

  2. Giles C Silver badge

    No Safari is based on WebKit not chrome.

    1. Joe W Silver badge

      I sit corrected - thanks! have one of those -->

      (or maybe a coffee... I'll get me one as well).

      I sort of ignore all things Apple, maybe that's why I messed that up. Sure, looks shiny but I struggle with IOs (don't find it intuitive - at all), and the UI of MacOS (whatever the correct name is) is... not really to my taste (which is why I find Win11 horriffic, it's even worse). The only good thing about MacOS is that it is BSD based, but then there are strange things like when the UI messes up the cases in file names (strange, BSD is after all case sensitive, Mac seems to try and hide it from the user). Plays all sorts of havoc with git.

      Learned something new today, can stop working now (yeah, I wish).

    2. katrinab Silver badge

      Chromium is a fork of WebKit, WebKit is a fork of khtml.

      1. GuildenNL

        So when it comes to browsing the Internet, everything is all forked up?

        1. katrinab Silver badge

          Yes. Konqueror really did follow the Navigator and Explorer to conquer the world.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Meanwhile, at Google towers...

    ...they're wondering why they didn't think of this themselves.

    1. veti Silver badge

      Re: Meanwhile, at Google towers...

      Err... They don't need to? Their clients already pay them a truckload to do much the same thing but on the server, which is more reliable anyway.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Meanwhile, at Google towers...

        You're thinking too small - all those adverts that aren't brokered by Google. Poach Facebook revenue by replacing their adverts, even.

        PS. Since anonymous comments don't permit the joke icon, I'll point out that both of these comments have a certainly amount of flippancy intended.

    2. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: Meanwhile, at Google towers...

      Who says they didn't and Allblock is just their stalking horse and plausible cut-out?

      It's pure speculation, but I'm cynical that way.

  4. RPrior

    What are your Browser concerns.

    My highest priority is to minimise intrusions into my chosen website whilst viewing.

    The "shields up" sytem offered by Brave Browser (and proprietary search engine) accomplishes this task to my perfection

    I am much more concerned about the ease of reviewing websites than I am about anything else.

    <b>Brave - Shields Up - status on</b>

    13-150 items blocked - more items blocked each time page is re-opened

    - Tracker and Ads Blocker

    - Connections upgraded to http<b>s</b>

    - Scripts blocked

    - Cross-site cookies blocked

    - Fingerprinting blocked

    Deleted Chrome some weeks ago. Latest versions are resource hungry and intrusive.

    <b><i>A long time ago, I was a tech guru for Price Waterhouse and introduced private Text based Search engine capabilities years before Google existed.</i></b>

  5. Mike 137 Silver badge

    The only way now?

    Making goods and providing services are no longer very profitable. The only way to take make serious money now is apparently to be an ad broker. One day, there'll be nothing left to advertise except ad broking services.

    1. AndrueC Silver badge

      Re: The only way now?

      I introduce you to a book written in 1952.

      I read that when I was a teenager in the 1980s and have done everything I can since to avoid advertising. It should be compulsory reading in schools.

      1. ecofeco Silver badge

        Re: The only way now?

        Excellent book. Read it twice. Have not read it in decades.

        Absolutely recommended reading.

      2. Sam Therapy
        Thumb Up

        Re: The only way now?

        And a cracking good book it is, too.

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