Cybersecurity Advent – Day 18

Today’s Cybersecurity tip is: use ad-blockers

First and foremost, I use a lot of free services on the internet. And I know many of those services rely on advertising revenue to remain in business. However, as somebody who assesses risk for a living, I look at the pros and cons of just about everything.

Many websites use third-party advertising engines to feed relevant advertisements to their site (relevant to the user based on many factors). These third-party advertising engines/sites may or may not vette the advertisements and many will sell your information to advertisers. Some of the third-party advertising sites host malware-injected advertising as well. In my opinion, there are enough risky advertisements out there to warrant using an ad-blocker in my daily use.

That said, I also do whitelist sites I trust and/or rely on in order to allow them to continue their business. There are many different options for blocking advertisements during your internet browsing … let’s take a look at a few of them:

Browser plugin
There are a lot of options for browser plugins, almost too many. The two I’ve used regularly with good success are uBlock Origin and Adblock Plus. Adblock Plus does allow some pre-vetted (and “non-intrusive” according to them) advertising through … which is why I switched to uBlock Origin (UO); that and UO is open source. Either way, they are both available on just about every browser out there and very configurable.

There are even a few browsers with adblocking built right into their code. Brave Browser and Opera are two big ones. Firefox Focus and Opera are both mobile browsers with built-in adblocking for browsing safely on-the-go.

You should also consider a privacy plugin like Ghostery. This helps protect your personal information and does some ad blocking as well. I’m almost certain there will be a tip on this soon.

Adblocking not only has privacy and security benefits to browsing, but can also help your user experience on many sites (faster loading, for instance). Fortunately, there are a lot of tools available that make it easy to accomplish. We looked at just a few, so I hope you’re installing one now if you didn’t have one already.

See you tomorrow!