Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 14th Mar 2013 10:26 UTC
Google In all honesty, this has taken far longer than I anticipated. Google, the world's largest internet advertising company, has removed several popular ad-blocking tools from the Play Store. While they are technically in the right to do so - they violate the Play Store developer distribution agreement - it's still a bit of a dick move. Luckily, though, unlike some other platforms, you can easily sideload the adblockers onto your Android device.
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Laurence
Member since:
2007-03-26


I don't know of any specific cases on Android, but I'm guessing it's only a matter of time, either through applications or the web itself.

Google controls most of the in app ads so I'd be surprised if anything leaked through that way. But I could see the potential with web adds though. In either case, users would have to have side-loading apk files enabled, and even if that is, users would still be prompted with a permissions / install screen should an apk file try to auto-install.

I will admit that I've not done a huge amount of security testing in Android (unlike securing Windows and Linux; which is part of my day job), but I think it's quite hard to sneak malware onto the phone itself without tricking the users into installing an apk. So the biggest threat would be more social engineering (eg porn sites that say they are only viewable via a specific Android codec) than drive-by downloads and other such attacks that silently infect the client.

Right, you could disable Java, Flash, Javascript, etc, which would probably block most ads by default, and break the web in the process.

You don't really need to disable Javascript. It shouldn't be possible for Javascript to break out of it's sandbox. I mean, obviously there will be bugs and vulnerabilities that can be exploited, but the same is true for anything that can be rendered (even the JPEG format has been known to serve malware in the past). Such vulnerabilities usually get patched pretty quickly though, so it's more a case of keeping your browser up-to-date and Java plugins disabled (Java and Flash are by far the biggest two weaknesses on a modern browser).

Actually, I was thinking more of a setting in options that says 'do not list any applications with adware'.

That's not a bad idea. I like that ;)

Edited 2013-03-15 01:00 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 4

lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

Isn't the issue this: Android is touted as being more 'open' than iOS giving more choice to end users. This move reduces choice. If Android users want to deploy ad blocker why can't they, it's their choice of how they want to use their 'open' device.


After this decision, Android users still have a choice to install what they want on their device.

http://www.osnews.com/permalink?555428

According to Till Faida, co-founder of Adblock Plus,

"Google has crossed a red line by removing the app" and "is placing business interests ahead of user interests."

"Isn't Android an open system?" he asked. "We are not interfering with any other apps. We are providing choice. The user should be in charge of what services may access their device - not Google."


Android is still an open system. Users are still in charge of what services run on their Android systems.

They only thing being restricted here is the offerings on the Google Play store. Google have every right to dictate what is and is not offered on Google Play.

Unlike iOS and Windows Phone, Android was not, and still is not, a walled garden. Users may still, very easily, install software other than what Google offers on Google play. There is only one setting users need to enable:

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-EPuK1DQlFz0/Tbt2KgZoRMI/AAAAAAAAAoQ/Bx6oD...

http://droidlessons.com/how-to-install-non-market-third-party-apps-...

Edited 2013-03-15 06:19 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 4

Laurence Member since:
2007-03-26

Trust an Apple fanboy not to read the article and draw their own conclusions instead.

1) Users can still install adblockers - legally, legitimately and without too much fuss. All that's happened is Google have removed it from their specific app store.

2) How can you even compare Android to iOS then follow with a statement about how Google are putting their business interests first. Apple are several orders of magnitude more strict that Google and app developers and users a whole plethora of additional concessions they have to make to use Apple's ecosystems (additional developer charges, tighter vendor lock ins, stricter rules on their app store, etc). And then you have the absurd patent feuds that Apple have started; <sarcasm> but obvious suing their competition into oblivion is for the benefit of the users and not a business decision at all. </sarcasm>

Edited 2013-03-15 09:39 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 5

WorknMan Member since:
2005-11-13

Such vulnerabilities usually get patched pretty quickly though, so it's more a case of keeping your browser up-to-date and Java plugins disabled.


Or you could just not install java and save yourself a lot of unnecessary bullshit. I haven't run java on any of my pc's in several years, and don't intend to start anytime soon.

Reply Parent Score: 2

Laurence Member since:
2007-03-26


Or you could just not install java and save yourself a lot of unnecessary bullshit. I haven't run java on any of my pc's in several years, and don't intend to start anytime soon.

Nice idea but sadly I'm reliant on Java for a number of things (development tools (not least of all Android and Eclipse), emergency consoles on some of my remote VMs, etc).

Reply Parent Score: 2