• Got pop ups and ads?

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    Someone mentioned the other day “I’m having more and more ads … so many it’s often hard to read anything on a website …” Whenever anyone complains abo
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    Susan Bradley Patch Lady

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    • #2501289

      To expand a bit on what Susan said, you don’t actually need any add-ons in your browser to successfully browse the worldwide web. That may seem obvious to some, but it is worth stating explicitly.

      The ONLY two add-ons I personally ever add to my browsers add security – they are called uBlock Origin and uMatrix. They’re not ad-blockers, per se, but in performing their duties they can serve as such.

      uBlock Origin blocks sites listed by a number of blacklists curated by other folks online to serve badware (and ads, depending how you configure it) and uMatrix blocks sites other than the domain you’re explicitly visiting from running scripts in your browser.

      Since uBlock uses lists kept up to date by others, it is almost “set it and forget it”, meaning it doesn’t break most sites to run it yet still delivers some protection – so it’s a good and trouble-free add-on for most folks.

      uMatrix (which is sadly not being actively maintained) is the more powerful of the two add-ons, and will actually break many sites until you look at the list of things it has blocked from what sources. You can choose to allow some or all of them to run when you visit that web site in the future. Being honest, this add-on is mostly good for expert users who understand how web browsing works. While it remembers your selections for particular web sites, any time you choose to interact with a new web site you’ll find much that doesn’t work. That being said, if you remain very selective about what you allow, not just allowing anyone’s scripts to run on your computer means you are at MUCH less risk of being infected by some previously unknown site just by visiting it.

      Practically speaking, with these two add-ons most sites can be made to work without incurring much risk of malware, and I find I can generally see content without ads.


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    • #2501301

      Especially if you are going to be online shopping this weekend, make sure your browser is up to date, ONLY has the extensions YOU intend to have installed, and ONLY uses the search engine you intend to have.

      And only going to the websites you intend — not the imposter clones.

      Carpe Diem {with backup and coffee}
      offline▸ Win10Pro 2004.19041.572 x64 i3-3220 RAM8GB HDD Firefox83.0b3 WindowsDefender
      offline▸ Acer TravelMate P215-52 RAM8GB Win11Pro 22H2.22621.1265 x64 i5-10210U SSD Firefox106.0 MicrosoftDefender
      online▸ Win11Pro 22H2.22621.1778 x64 i5-9400 RAM16GB HDD Firefox114.0b8 MicrosoftDefender
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      • #2501329

        To recognize imposter websites, you need to know the rules for domain names. See



        Get up to speed on router security at RouterSecurity.org and Defensive Computing at DefensiveComputingChecklist.com

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        • #2501423

          Thank you Michael Horowitz for the excellent educational website to help us identify “Fake websites (which) are an extremely common scam.” Everyone should not only read this website, but be sure to go to the very bottom and learn about the “Final Exam”. I took the ‘Phishing Quiz’ and surprised myself by scoring 10 out of 14. Very tough test, I could not have done so well without Michael432 education. The Challenge Is On, now everyone should take the ‘Phishing Quiz’ just to learn more. Note that if you use No Script, and maybe uMatrix, you will need to Allow some scripts, I noted 4, and only had to allow 3, one at a time. It is worth it. Thank You Michael432.
          P.S. review attached screenshot “Phishing-Quiz.jpg” for valuable info.

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    • #2501315

      I have occasionally visited various sites with my adblocker inadvertently disabled, and I have found many that have so many ads that it makes it difficult to use the site. I guarantee you that I do not have notifications on, nor do I have any advertising software on my computer (not much of that for Linux!)


      Dell XPS 13/9310, i5-1135G7/16GB, KDE Neon
      XPG Xenia 15, i7-9750H/16GB & GTX1660ti, KDE Neon

    • #2501334

      Another approach is a DNS service that blocks ads and/or trackers. Some are listed here


      there are others too.

      The downside to any blocking system, be it ads/trackers/malware is that it surely will break a website at some point. There is an easy out to this, whether using an extension or secure DNS in a browser,  keep a spare web browser on hand without ad blocking.


      Get up to speed on router security at RouterSecurity.org and Defensive Computing at DefensiveComputingChecklist.com

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    • #2501345

      Don’t know what ads are. Always used ad blockers (currently uBlock Origin and uBlock Origin Extra).
      Will have to move fully using Firefox esr or Brave after the release of Manifest V3.

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      • #2501347

        Don’t know what ads are

        🙂 Ditto, freedom of the internet sans commercial spamming

        Will have to move fully using Firefox esr or Brave after the release of Manifest V3.

        already there, Brave is the runner-up.

        Keeping IT Lean, Clean and Mean!
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      • #2501379

        Yeah ditto here @Alex5723, I had the unfortunate pleasure of using some one else’s machine the other day without an Adblocker and the browser was torture, and I don’t even visit “shady” less than salubrious sites.

        I have a feeling when Google? releases that Manifest V3 (least I think I read it was Google pushing it out?) Browsing will be torture.

        Firefox with Ublock here, as you said, seems to be resisting it, Edge being Chrome based will probably end up being messy with ads, not sure about Safari where I use Adguard.

        Hope we don’t go back to the “dark days” of browsing being swamped by Tons of superfluous facile ads about undesirable products and services.

    • #2501374

      My advertisement minimization is to use the hosts file. This is a configuration instead of an add-on install.

      Someone posted a good post on various hosts file in the forum somewhere but I can’t find; it would have made for a good Knowledge Base article.

      The host file won’t block everything but I find effective except when I really do want to see the ad, in which case I am stuck and can’t get around it. You put it at C:\Windows\System32\drivers\etc . I like the Steven Black hosts file at https://github.com/StevenBlack/hosts/blob/master/hosts

      An added benefit is, to block identified malicious web sites too.

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    • #2501361

      In my experience, it’s ad blockers which do all the work.  I never see an ad. I don’t know what it is.  However, I use the uMatrix extension (now discontinued), and I have an embedded blocker in my Vivaldi browser.

      When, for some reason, I unblock those, I’m thrown into advertising hell. Some sites are cleaner than others, but try and browse the Daily Mail site without any blocker, for instance : it’s downright impossible.

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    • #2501380

      I use uBlock Origin and don’t see any ads either for the most part.  I also have Autoplay for video and audio blocked in the settings of Firefox.  The video/audio autoplay block works for everything except AOL which seems to have some sort of immunity to the blocker.  My only solution is to hit pause on the video.

      Experience is that marvelous thing that enables you recognize a mistake as soon as you make it again.

      • #2501711

        I should have added that this happens on AOL’s main website that my wife likes to peruse.  The email part of AOL doesn’t have videos, and no ads show up at all.

        Experience is that marvelous thing that enables you recognize a mistake as soon as you make it again.

    • #2501382

      When I first saw targeted ads in a browser, I was rattled. So I added a single automatic blocking extension, EFF’s Privacy Badger, which got rid of almost all ads in web pages. The beauty of this extension is almost no configuration is required. After browsing a few web pages, Privacy Badger starts working. Currently, 1161 tracking domains are blocked in my Firefox browser. For me, only two oddball sites are disabled from going through the Privacy Badger screen. Ref: https://www.eff.org/pages/privacy-badger

      This extension should continue to work under Firefox over the long run, but not with Chrome’s V3 Manifest. Why? A deep dive following the links starts here: https://www.askwoody.com/forums/topic/chromes-new-ad-blocker-limiting-extension-platform-will-launch-in-2023/


      Windows 10 22H2 desktops & laptops on Dell, HP, ASUS; No servers, no domain.

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    • #2501394

      I’m on Firefox 107 and with its built-in tracking protection set to Custom (blocking all 3rd party cookies, all Trackers, all Fingerprinters and all Cryptominers, as well as having the Tracking Protection block list set to Level 2), I rarely see any objectionable ads. The ads that I do usually see are the simple, “static” ones that don’t have any animation to them. Many times, I see empty spots on a page where ads would otherwise be.

      If a page that I need to get to doesn’t display the way I’m expecting, a change to the block list from level 2 to level 1 usually does the trick. For the very few sites where that doesn’t work, I use a portable copy of FF (latest version) that has some of the tracking protections ratcheted down just a bit through tweaks to the about:config settings.

      No third party blockers used, nor needed for now. When I did look at privacy extensions for FF from within its interface, Privacy Badger was at the top of the list and uBlock was just another two or three down the list.

    • #2501450

      I don’t see ads.  Anywhere.  I do see the occasional popup about the use of cookies on a site now and again.  But no ads.  I use Firefox (automatically updated) with the following:

      AdGuard AdBlocker
      DuckDuckGo Privacy Essentials
      Facebook Container
      HTTPS Everywhere
      Malwarebytes Browser Guard
      Privacy Badger
      uBlock Origin

      In addition, I don’t hop from site to site.  I always go to my homepage (DuckDuckGo) first before every hop.  None of the extensions I use interfere with each other, none of them break any sites.

      Always create a fresh drive image before making system changes/Windows updates; you may need to start over!
      We were all once "Average Users". We all have our own reasons for doing the things that we do to our systems, we don't need anyone's approval, and we don't all have to do the same things.

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    • #2501747

      I only need three extensions, ublockOrigin (with lots of custom filters), noscript (wouldn’t be on the internet without it) and privacy badger (Trackers + Global Privacy Control) with firewall rulesets.
      I’m certainly not into decorating a browser like a christmas tree..

      Keeping IT Lean, Clean and Mean!
      • #2501862

        I use both uBlock Origin and NoScript, and that works well for me.

        As others have noted, if using a browser without ad blocking active is pretty painful.

        Using this combination allows me not only to miss ads, it also blocks trackers that may be active (even if they’re not delivering ads), and I don’t even see notices about cookie use (and I assume that almost any site is using cookies).

        However, NoScript isn’t necessarily for everyone — there are some scripts that should never run (and it takes time to recognize commonly-used tracking hosts to block), some scripts that are essential to get to content (including use in logins), and some scripting hosts that may occasionally be needed, but not all the time.  I’ve found that google-analytics is something that can be safely blocked all the time.  However, for something like Google’s ajax.googleapis.com (even at AskWoody) or googletagmanager, at some sites, it’s not a problem to leave them blocked, and at other sites, it’s necessary to temporarily enable.  Enabling Google.com is necessary for sites that use Google’s CAPTCHAs, even if not otherwise necessary for non-Google sites. And I’ve seen plenty of sites that use fonts from gstatic.com, and where it’s essential to permit that one to see the content that I want, but only after I’ve temporarily enabled numerous other scripting hosts.

        Yes, I could permanently whitelist gstatic, but I don’t want to do that.

        From that perspective, in the same way that using a browser without an ad blocker is painful, I’ve also found that it’s nearly impossible for somebody else to use my primary browser profile.  If somebody else needs to work from my computer, I give them a different browser, where I have configured ad blocking, but not all the things in my normal “maximum tweak” settings.

        The other thing that’s really helpful in minimizing that personalized ads (especially for a browser that doesn’t have ad blocking active) is to set the browser to not allow third-party ads, and to discard cookies at the end of a browser session.  Although there are Chromium variants that allow auto-discard of cookies as a config setting, one thing I don’t like about Chrome proper is that the only way doing that is manually, by going into the config settings (or regular runs of something like BleachBit or CCleaner).

        For people who like persistent cookies that keep logins active, regular cookie cleaning is often a no-go.  However, at least with Mozilla browsers, it’s possible to whitelist individual sites’ cookies, without having keep them all.

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    • #2503372

      Has anyone seen anything that stops “Pop-downs”?  You know those things that pop down or out to try and keep you on their site when you go up to click out.  Not that they’re so bad, but I always wonder how they manage to get past ad blockers.

      Experience is that marvelous thing that enables you recognize a mistake as soon as you make it again.

      • #2503374

        Those usually go by the name of “pop-unders”. Hard to stop, even with an ad blocker installed, but some blockers are better than others at stopping those annoyances that pop-unders are.

        I’m using Firefox and I’m on version 107.0.1. I haven’t seen a pop-under in a long time, ever since FF went to some tight privacy protection and enhanced tracking protection. I don’t have any privacy-enhancing extensions installed, as I haven’t seen the need for them with just using the settings and features built into the current iteration(s) of Firefox.

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