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November 5, 2018

Won’t get fooled again: Chrome 71 to block all ads on abusive sites

by John_A

Google is looking to foil ads that trick, deceive, and hoodwink web users by blocking them entirely. Starting with the Chrome 71 release slated for December, the browser will automatically remove any ads on certain sites which deliver “consistent abusive experiences.” Website owners concerned that they might be caught up in this ad-blocking program can use Google’s new Abusive Experiences tool to determine if their sites will trigger it.

In November 2017, Google introduced protections in Chrome against so-called “trick to click” links which attempted to redirect web visitors to sites they didn’t intend to visit, to make money from ads or steal identities. The Chrome 71 update is an extension of that. Instead of stopping forceful redirects, Chrome 71 will simply weigh whether a website contains ‘abusive’ content, and if it does, it will block all of its ads.

Following its own internal investigations into abusive web practices, Google claims to have identified the tactics that are being used. Such ads may act like system warnings, or use fake “X” close buttons to try and encourage a web user to click on the content erroneously. Such scams can lead to phishing attacks, as well as attempts to steal the personal information of a user.

Chrome 71 will look to do away with that by punishing website owners who publish such content in the first place, by removing all adds wholesale. Any website caught out by this will have 30 days to fix any of the experiences flagged by Google’s tool before Chrome removes all ads from the site entirely.

Such protections will not extend to those using alternative browsers, of which there are a few. Mozilla’s Firefox recently introduced better tracking protection of its own, targeting adverts that use trackers to glean information from web users that they might not otherwise be happy sharing.

Chrome 71 won’t be released until December, but it will bring with it a number of additional changes. One that will please many is new autoplay policies, which will look to reduce the number of videos and audio content which automatically play when a website is opened, giving users much more control of the content that runs in their browser.

If you want to try Chrome 71 out now, you can download it as the Chrome beta release.



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