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Category: Media

Native Ad Blocking in Chrome

According to an article in The Verge, Google is rumored to implement native adblocking in Chrome.

The option would be opt-in, and it would remove any and all “unacceptable” ads as defined by Coalition for Better Ads industry group. Those types of ads include pop-up ads, autoplay videos, and what are known as prestitial ads, or those ads that are often fullscreen and show up before you’re taken to the homepage or desired website.

The majority of web users have installed adblockers by now, and adblockers have been increasingly recognized as a malware fighting tool, preventing drive-by exploits by targeted malvertising.

Native Adblocking would be a good way for Google to control the agenda, and to push the Coalition for Better Ads style of advertising – a way for the advertising industry to reign in the wild-west style of user profiling, malvertising, and generally making web browing a bad experience.

This is definitively a step into the right direction, but too little, too late.

 

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Hacking “Smart” TVs via DVB-T

Ars Technica reports about a possible mass-hack of Smart TVs using the DVB-T signal:

The proof-of-concept exploit uses a low-cost transmitter to embed malicious commands into a rogue TV signal. That signal is then broadcast to nearby devices. It worked against two fully updated TV models made by Samsung. By exploiting two known security flaws in the Web browsers running in the background, the attack was able to gain highly privileged root access to the TVs. By revising the attack to target similar browser bugs found in other sets, the technique would likely work on a much wider range of TVs.

Multimedia Stream decoding is notoriously complicated, and prone to bugs, as Google demonstrated with a whole suite of problems in the Android Stream decoders. There is no reason to assume that it’s easier anywhere else.

The TV sets are being fed the signal with a low-power mobile transmitter, a small fake TV station, and the attack is on the web browser that is running permanently in the background.

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Malvertising – we have only seen the beginning

Netzpolitik.org has an article (in German) in which they are interviewing IT-Security Consultant Thorsten Schröder on Adblockers, wasted capped mobile bandwidth and Malvertising.

netzpolitik.org: Neben dem Schutz vor Malware, welche weiteren Gründe für die Nutzung von Adblockern findest Du wichtig?

Thorsten Schröder: Wenn wir als Malware all das klassifizieren, was Nutzer ausspioniert, täuscht, kompromittiert oder finanziell schädigt, haben wir im Grunde schon mal eine ganze Reihe an Gründen abgehakt. Nutzer müssen die Möglichkeit haben, selbstbestimmt das Schutzniveau ihres Computers bestimmen zu dürfen. Hat die Bundesregierung vielleicht mal das Bundesamt für Sicherheit in der Informationstechnik (BSI) gefragt? Es wäre eine gute Gelegenheit für das BSI, zu zeigen, was es drauf hat.

»netzpolitik.org: Besides the protection against malware, what other reasons for using Adblockers are important to you?

Thorsten Schröder: If we classify things as malware which spy on users, deceive them, compromise them or harm them financially, we have in principle covered all reasons. Users you have the right to determine the level of protection their computers need. Did our administration ask their Bundesamt für Sicherheit in der Informationstechnik (BSI)? It would be a good opportunity for the BSI to show what they can do.«

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New Arrival: How to Kill a City

How to kill a city

Peter Moskowitz has written a book on “Gentrification, Inequality, and the Fight for the Neighborhood”, titled “How to Kill a City”. It’s available on Kindle for some 11 Euro.

There is a matching article in The Atlantic, The Steady Destruction of America’s Cities. Based on observations in Detroit, San Francisco, New York and Post-Katrina New Orleans, he tries to explain the process of Gentrification and distinguish it from urban renewal or other forms of change that are frequent in cities.

While urban renewal, the suburbanization of cities, and other forms of capital creation are relatively easy to spot (a highway built through a neighborhood is a relatively obvious event), gentrification is more discreet, dispersed, and hands-off,” he writes. Moskowitz adds to the growing canon aimed at understanding and explaining the process of gentrification, and he not so subtly suggests that while gentrification  naturally brings some improvements to a city,including more people and money, it also frequently kills some cultural traditions and diversity, the precise characteristics that make cities so dynamic and desirable in the first place.

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