Browsers join ad blockers in the fight for safe and comfortable web — but are not ready to replace them

Good news from browsers keeps coming. Mozilla has recently added opt-in tracking protection in the new version of Firefox Quantum. Previously the protection worked only in the Private Browsing mode, now it can be turned on in settings and be active all the time. Besides privacy protection, the option provides faster web experience, it takes less time for web pages to load without trackers.

A couple of days ago Opera announced mining protection in their mobile browsers. Opera Mini and Opera for Android now block cryptojacking scripts on sites

And in a couple of weeks, a long-awaited update of Google Chrome arrives. Since February 15 the browser will start blocking ads. Some of them. Ads will not be displayed on websites that do not comply with the standards of the Better Ads Coalition. The standards state some ad formats as unacceptable, and if ads of these formats are detected on a site, the site gets displayed in Chrome without any ads.

We’d prefer that Google and media called this feature not "ad blocking", but, for example, "ad amending". It’s too optimistic to think that a huge company whose profits come almost fully from ads will offer free-ad and no-tracking experience in its browser.

Adblock Plus's experts presume that Chrome will block only about 17% of ads or 9 types of 55. But this does not mean that you’ll see 17% fewer ads on web pages. The algorithm is different: Chrome detects a bad ad on a website, removes all ads from its pages, a website maintainer removes the bad ad and sends Google a report on that. The "good" ads are turned back on.

Probably Chrome’s new ad policy will actually make ads less obstructive, but it definitely won’t make ad blockers obsolete. Out of "the good, the bad and the ugly" ads only the latter are threatened — assuming that there are good ads at all.

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Popular Android apps are stealing users' email addresses

Android is an awesome operating system that provides us developers with incredible capabilities. There are quite a few great apps and features Android users benefit from that are simply impossible to implement on other platforms.

Unfortunately, nothing comes free, and this wide array of capabilities is the main reason why Android is so vulnerable from privacy and security standpoints.

In our latest research, we decided to focus on the privacy issues. We took a look at the top 1000 Android apps to find out if they collect any sensitive personal data.

Fake ad consortium generated 1 billion malvertising impressions last year

Zirconium, a group of 28 fake ad agencies, has been exposed by security researchers from Confiant. They built business relationships with 16 ad platforms and generated a billion impressions (ad views), showing among other things fake software update requests and all sorts of tech support scam.

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