F-Secure AdBlocker aims to put an end to intrusive advertising practices that eat up data and slow down browsing.
F-Secure has released a new ad blocker that the company hopes will encourage content providers to adopt more user-friendly advertising practices. The new app, called F-Secure AdBlocker, is a free tool that helps users save data and browse faster by blocking traffic from known advertising servers.
F-Secure AdBlocker is a free, easy-to-use app that filters Internet traffic coming from advertisers. Ad blocking was thrust in the limelight after a recent report claimed that the practice will cost online publishers 22 billion dollars in 2015.* However, recent research conducted by F-Secure Labs suggests that online advertising practices are costing end-users in the form of wasted time and data. Researchers at F-Secure Labs measured how blocking third party tracking impacted web browsing on several of Alexa’s top-ranked news sites, and found that using F-Secure’s Freedome VPN to block this tracking reduced both data consumption and page load times.**
F-Secure Security Advisor Sean Sullivan said that tests like these demonstrate the need for people to have greater control over their exposure to online advertising. “There’s plenty of ways advertising is regulated in other types of media, so the idea that people shouldn’t have some way to tone down the ad content they see online is a little silly. Turning down the volume on a TV ad is perfectly ok, and volume levels are often regulated to prevent ads from being too intrusive. Bringing ad blocking to digital media is really just giving people a way to turn down the noise.”
F-Secure AdBlocker makes browsing faster and saves bandwidth by preventing ads from loading in Safari. The product is based on the new content blocking capabilities Apple built into iOS 9, and uses filters built and maintained in F-Secure’s Security Cloud. A list of known advertising servers is maintained in this cloud, and the app blocks content sent from the servers on the list to the devices running the app. By blocking the incoming ads, people’s mobile devices consume less data when loading web pages, which means websites load faster and use less bandwidth.
Data from F-Secure Labs indicates that tracking and advertising networks are some of the most frequently utilized parts of the World Wide Web – over half of the top 100 domains are dedicated entirely to advertising and tracking.***
According to Sullivan, the idea behind F-Secure AdBlocker isn’t to eliminate advertising as a revenue source for publishers, but to give people a way to establish boundaries for online advertising. “People opt out of ads simply because they don’t want a bunch of flashy banners distracting them and slowing down their browsing. But that doesn’t mean people aren’t receptive to advertising in general – movie trailers are popular on YouTube, and I learn a lot about companies that sponsor podcasts and content that I search for online. So hopefully ad blocking will be seen as an opportunity for advertisers to make more of the content people want, rather than the stuff people ignore and want to block.”
F-Secure AdBlocker is a free app that blocks ads in Safari and apps using Safari View. It is currently available from Apple’s App Store, and works on Apple devices with iOS 9 and ARM64 (including iPhone 5S and later models, iPad Mini/Retina 3 and later models, iPad Air and later models, and 6th generation iPod Touch).