Make the FBI Happy: Install An Ad Blocker

A growing number of people around the world are now using ad blockers — over 300 million on computers and 530 million on cellphones. Now those people have the support of an unexpected ally: the FBI, which has just officially recommended in a PSA the use of ad blockers to strengthen personal cybersecurity. This comes on the heels of a massive increase in the number of fraudulent ads that plague websites. This misuse of advertising shouldn’t surprise us, given the fact that companies like Google and Facebook are only interested in how much money they can make. Right from the get-go, Google was happy get rich with dialer ads that scammed inexperienced users, and continues today by allowing all kinds of ads. Facebook went even further with the Cambridge Analytica scandal — possibly one of the largest electoral manipulations in history — for which it was ordered to pay a fine of $725 million. Blocking advertising is no longer an act of rebellion, but a simple security decision, and now one that the FBI agrees with. What should you do as a user? First, ditch Chrome, which provides criminals with great incentives to look for vulnerabilities. There is no browser that spies on its users more than Chrome. Second, install an ad blocker like uBlock Origin, Ghostery, AdBlock or AdBlock Plus. Ad blockers don’t just remove the enormous bloat from websites, like auto-playing video and splashy ads that take up half the page, they are also good for privacy because they prevent the tracking code within ads from loading. That means Google and Facebook can’t track you as you browse the web. The good news is that most ad blockers are free. If you also recommend one to others, you will be doing your good deed for the day, which will also make the FBI happy.