Adblock Plus and (a little) more

Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and the rest of the onslaught · 2019-11-29 11:20 by Matthew Garcia

The holiday season is slowly rolling in. The leaves on the trees are turning orange and yellow, Halloween is behind us, and family events and specific celebrations are around the corner. For some, it’s a special time, and for good reason. Celebration, family, the approaching completion of another year. In more recent times, however, this period is also inseparable from advertising and consumerism. The onslaught can reach extremes, like Black Friday and Cyber Monday, or even for anyone shopping for a loved one (or themselves) in the weeks before Christmas. Online advertisers have made this season their hunting ground, with increases in special offers, newsletters, blinking deals: anything to win over the consuming public.

It is also a favorite time for cyber criminals with a higher occurrence of ads equipped with hidden malware. In their Q1 2019 Demand Quality Report, the software company Confiant noted that cyber criminals often specifically use holidays to disseminate targeted malvertising. One reason for this is that during the workweek the majority of website visits come from the workplace, and these computers and machines are generally better protected than those at home. Cyber criminals have latched onto the holiday advertising trend as much as retailers.

But aside from the possible dangers, going online during this time of year can simply turn into a hassle, with the increased onslaught of advertising flooding every facet of the online world. For some, that simply means they are not very culturally or personally interested in the holidays, and don’t need to be reminded of their approach every second they are online. For others, the internet can turn into the worst type of ‘traitor’, revealing to the people we live with, or share a computer with, just what gifts we were searching for. This is a consequence of web-site storefronts tracking their online consumers, and paying agencies to send retargeted ads to users while surfing other sites. And, of course, there are many more reasons.

In the US, already 27 percent of users surf the web with an ad blocker installed. For those who don’t already have one, this time of year is a great occasion for downloading an ad blocker, like Adblock Plus, to get better security and spare nerves during the holiday season.

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