4OD has blocked adblocker

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Re: 4OD has blocked adblocker

Postby MeeesterP » Thu Jan 26, 2012 4:39 am

It seems the new part responsible for ad blocking detection is entirely within Flash, so not easy to affect from outside.

Maybe it's as simple as replacing the Flash with the old version. Maybe not.

The only sure fix I can see immediately is to alter the asset's XML file when it is requested to exclude the <advert> tags, but that would require either some way to re-write the XML before the Flash gets hold of it (ABP can't do this; Greasemonkey maybe? don't know enough about that) or an external filtering proxy to do the job.

Either way, this is well outside current AdBlock Plus territory :?
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Re: 4OD has blocked adblocker

Postby MeeesterP » Tue Jan 31, 2012 3:26 pm

For those that are interested and not scared of some very raw code, I've put a simple proxy up on github that filters out the ads by removing their metadata entirely.

You'll need to install Python 2.6/2.7 to make it work and I've only tested it on Linux.

Run it. Set your browser proxy to localhost 8008. Marvel at how it makes your browsing feel slow and clunky but saves you many minutes of terrible adverts!
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Re: 4OD has blocked adblocker

Postby Pendarric » Tue Jan 31, 2012 3:56 pm

just install Ad Muncher...
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Re: 4OD has blocked adblocker

Postby MeeesterP » Tue Jan 31, 2012 4:05 pm

Pendarric wrote:just install Ad Muncher...

Pay for, you mean.

I doubt they're doing this sort of blocking anyway. Typical ad blocking (proxy or in browser) will result in the same sort of error as with Ad Blocker. There's no mention of special 4oD support on their website or forums so no reason to expect it to work.
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Re: 4OD has blocked adblocker

Postby Pendarric » Tue Jan 31, 2012 4:11 pm

this is exactly what they do. remove what no one else can.

if it's not blocked by the trial version I'm sure they could remove it if someone reported it to them.
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Re: 4OD has blocked adblocker

Postby nitrox » Tue Jan 31, 2012 11:27 pm

MeeesterP wrote:For those that are interested and not scared of some very raw code, I've put a simple proxy up on github that filters out the ads by removing their metadata entirely.

You'll need to install Python 2.6/2.7 to make it work and I've only tested it on Linux.

Run it. Set your browser proxy to localhost 8008. Marvel at how it makes your browsing feel slow and clunky but saves you many minutes of terrible adverts!


Works like a charm. Tested it out on Windows 7 with Python 2.7.2. The only issue i had was when you try to visit a SSL site, you would get an connection reset error. I guess the script doesn't support handling SSL connections at the moment. Workaround is to have a separate firefox profile with no remote parameter so you can run two firefox instances, one for normal browsing and one for 4od at the same time.
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Re: 4OD has blocked adblocker

Postby MeeesterP » Tue Jan 31, 2012 11:54 pm

nitrox wrote:Works like a charm. Tested it out on Windows 7 with Python 2.7.2. The only issue i had was when you try to visit a SSL site, you would get an connection reset error. I guess the script doesn't support handling SSL connections at the moment. Workaround is to have a separate firefox profile with no remote parameter so you can run two firefox instances, one for normal browsing and one for 4od at the same time.


Thanks for the report.

It should be possible to use something like FoxyProxy or Autoproxy to use this proxy only for the one necessary request. If you set it to handle all requests to ais.channel4.com that would do the job perfectly. If not there are plenty of quick proxy switched add-ons too...
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Re: 4OD has blocked adblocker

Postby Guest » Wed Feb 01, 2012 5:07 am

MeeesterP wrote:It seems the new part responsible for ad blocking detection is entirely within Flash, so not easy to affect from outside.

Maybe it's as simple as replacing the Flash with the old version. Maybe not.

The only sure fix I can see immediately is to alter the asset's XML file when it is requested to exclude the <advert> tags, but that would require either some way to re-write the XML before the Flash gets hold of it (ABP can't do this; Greasemonkey maybe? don't know enough about that) or an external filtering proxy to do the job.

Either way, this is well outside current AdBlock Plus territory :?


What about bypassing their player and feeding the raw stream URL to something like the VLC browser plugin via an embed tag? Seems simple enough to do in Greasemonkey.
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Re: 4OD has blocked adblocker

Postby MeeesterP » Wed Feb 01, 2012 1:02 pm

Good idea, but they use RTMPE, which I believe is encrypted and currently unsupported by VLC. The keys are visible, but to my knowledge there's no support for the protocol yet.
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Re: 4OD has blocked adblocker

Postby PeckhamAndy » Thu Feb 02, 2012 11:43 am

MeeesterP wrote:For those that are interested and not scared of some very raw code, I've put a simple proxy up on github that filters out the ads by removing their metadata entirely.

You'll need to install Python 2.6/2.7 to make it work and I've only tested it on Linux.

Run it. Set your browser proxy to localhost 8008. Marvel at how it makes your browsing feel slow and clunky but saves you many minutes of terrible adverts!


I can confirm that this works well on MacOS X too - thanks a lot for this.

Dummy's guide for Mac users - it's dead easy to use as we already have Python installed:

- Just download the python script from github. Doesn't matter where you download it to. Open a terminal window (command-space and start typing terminal!) and type "python" followed by a space

- Drag the python script you just downloaded into the terminal window (the location of file will be inserted at the command prompt) and press return

- Leave that window running and return to your browser.

- In firefox, go to the Firefox menu -> Preferences. The the advanced tab -> Network -> Settings...

- Turn on "Manual proxy configuration" and set the HTTP Proxy to "localhost" and the port to 8008.

- Watch 4OD.

- When you're done watching 4OD, you can change the proxy off and close the terminal window.
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Re: 4OD has blocked adblocker

Postby Mishmush » Fri Feb 03, 2012 12:11 am

thanks a lot MeeesterP, it works great for me on Win7 / FF9.0.1
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Re: 4OD has blocked adblocker

Postby crazyfox » Sat Feb 04, 2012 7:08 pm

Their "ad-block" criteria is based upon the following:
  • Could we reach the ads at /realmedia/ads/?
  • If what was the response?
  • If it was empty then what was the response content length?
  • If it was also empty then an adblocker is in use.

The easy workaround is to simply proxy only the ad server requests and route them so they get a 404 (or other) response. MeeesterP's script is good, Fiddler2 is also a good program to use but requires a bit more setup (no python required though!)
  • Install Fiddler2, Run Fiddler2
  • Target Firefox as the process (drag the crosshair thing)
  • On the right hand side to go AutoResponder tab
  • Add rule:
    If URI matches RealMedia/ads/
    then respond with
    http://www.google.com/idonotexist
  • Watch 4od

I was going to make a Firefox addon for this but it was too much effort...
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Re: 4OD has blocked adblocker

Postby MeeesterP » Sat Feb 04, 2012 7:25 pm

Yup that should work too, and it makes me wonder if this is something that AdBlock could progress to covering. It seems less of a set than re-writing XML as I'm doing.

I'm hoping my solution is fairly future-proof as it basically makes the Flash think there are simply no ads to display, so it doesn't even try.
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Re: 4OD has blocked adblocker

Postby asd » Sat Feb 04, 2012 8:30 pm

crazyfox wrote:
I was going to make a Firefox addon for this but it was too much effort...


a) Does this just enable watching, or enable watching without adverts?
b) Can you make an addon?
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Re: 4OD has blocked adblocker

Postby lewisje » Sun Feb 05, 2012 7:54 am

^^Currently ABP uses nsIContentPolicy on Firefox, which just outright stops the request from being sent; I could imagine it doing something similar to its behavior on Chrome (with the WebRequest API): Back when WebRequest was being tested, users noticed some garish error pages whenever content was blocked outright, so ways were found to substitute in such things as 1x1-pixel transparent .pngs, blank HTML pages, and the like so Chrome would have at least something to render...and I imagine (with more work) that a minimal MP4/FLV/WebM/MPEG video could be swapped in, but it would require much more sophisticated logic to ensure it doesn't break the plugin content.
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