Ad networks let you easily and quickly make a botnet


#1

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2018/01/17/ad-networks-let-you-easily-and.html


#2

The display ad networks are a slimy, bottom-feeder industry: careless and thoughtless at best, malicious at worst, all putting greed first and ethics last. If you want to know why ads on the Web are so consistently crappy it’s because all these companies are run by salesmen and not technologists or creatives or even (this is how bad it is) MBAs.

The moment any new entrant that tries to be discerning about what ads are allowed on its network starts gaining traction it’s bought out by one of the big incumbents, stripped of its controls, and starts shovelling the same intrusive and shady garbage ads to sites that use it.


#3

Here’s a few FOSS browser plugins that really undermine bad behavior from ad networks:

If you install them and they mess up your experience of a site that’s a clear indicator that the site was up to no good in the first place. :wink:


#4

Now, see, that’s the kind of shit that should be locked up behind some permission levels in the browser. (Defaulted to “Hell NO!”) Making node.js apps that do that sort of thing is great, but not in the browser with random code from the Internet.

I think the browser developers are off track and see every attempt to secure the damned browser as setbacks on their obsession to turn the browser into an (unsecure) OS.


#5

Indeed, another reason to block ads.

  • No more audiovisual assaults when opening a page
  • Less bandwith consumption = faster loading
  • More responsive browsing (allows my 2010 netbook to display most sites without choking to death)
  • More privacy & less malware

Unfortunately it also kills the revenue for the majority of sites…
But hey, maybe we can “nerd harder” and find a solution for that?


#6

I’m rocking Adguard and Brave, and when I look at news sites I have to swipe past all these big blank squares :wink:


#7

One thing I like about my self-hosted Algo VPN is that it has an option to include ad blocking - ads are stripped before the packets even hit your device :smiley:

The only issue is so many sites want you to drop the VPN. (For example, Netflix).

Also when I use it on my phone, T-Mobile’s “Binge On” feature can’t tell if I’m using, say, Pandora, so I use up my data cap much more rapidly :frowning:


#8

And people wonder why other people run ublock origin.


#9

It’s incredibly easy. Serve the ads as simple images over the website’s hosting, managing the ads oneself, like literally every form of media prior to the internet did without any trouble at all.

Pay-per-click and its associated ills killed whatever chance the internet had as a commercial medium years ago. “You only pay for users that actually seek out and actively manipulate your ads” is stupid. It’s as if a billboard company only charged for people who turn off at the next exit and tell the company being advertised they saw their billboard and just had to buy a new [X] today because of it.


#10

The best suggestion that I have for defending against these threats at the moment is to diligently monitor your computer’s CPU usage as you browse, responding to CPU spikes and irregularities as you deem fit.

Really?

Really?

I’m running eight programs at the moment, I’m supposed to watch to see how much CPU each one uses… and then know what that means?


#11

I have used my task manager to look at CPU usage, network usage and disk usage trying to problem solve why my PC was misbehaving at certain moments and you know what? Looking at the spikes really doesn’t help because that information isn’t specific enough… at least not to me as a normal user.


#12

Sometimes it can help a little, if I see my browser is using 99.5% I can guess it’s doing something it shouldn’t. Sometimes.


#13

So now the ads are the malware? I have been using adblock for years because they were the prime vector for getting malware and even places you wouldn’t think of were serving up malware via ads.
Places that don’t like me using ad block can either become their own trusted ad agency or shut the hell up.


#14

When my computer is using 99% of CPU time, it usually means I’m ripping a DVD to MP4.


#15

So, the adds that really irritated me the most were right here on BoingBoing. Autoplay sound, but without any corresponding ad visual to shut it up with. The ads on the page are normal and silent. Some extra ad is sounding off in the background.


#16

This. I want to support a site like boing boing, i really do but for everything you said. We have enough online threats to deal with, especially now, so forgive me if i’m not going to expose my devices to potentially another.


#17

… and Ghostery.


#18

This has been known for years.

There is a respectable company, out there, from which you can buy proxy access with their JS-ad-botnet as an exit point. Very hard to block for the target site. They sell it as a “web marketing research service”.


#19

Me, 3D rendering.


#20

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