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Thread: Adblock Plus Useless in Android 4.2.2

  1. Editor in Chief
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    #1

    Adblock Plus Useless in Android 4.2.2


    Folks around the globe are happily checking out the new fixes and features of Android 4.2.2, but not all is happy in Android-update-land. Apparently, one of the newly improved security functions of Android 4.2.2 effectively nullifies the ability of Adblock Plus to function. For those who don't use it, this is not a big deal. For those who do, it's pretty frustrating. If you haven't heard of Adblock Plus, it's a great app for Windows, and is available on Android as well. It is designed to stop those annoying pop-up ads on the internet. Unfortunately, the way in which it goes about doing that is a potential security leak within Android. Google didn't intentionally shut down the program, but their new security update effectively does so. Also, it doesn't look like there will be an easy fix for this either. Here's a quote with the details,

    Adblock Plus relies on the internet permission in Android to function, but it relies on a rather specific subset of that permission in order to work: the ability to automatically set a device's proxy server to 'localhost.' As is pointed out on a thread in the Android issues section of Google Code, this is a pretty serious security flaw. Allowing any app with the internet permission to change a device's proxy settings could lead to phishing abuse or compromised privacy.

    What this means for Adblock, which automatically changes a device's proxy settings when activated, is a lot more work. If Adblock can't automatically set the proxy, that means the user will have to do so manually. Every time a connection is initiated. And for the average Adblock user, this probably means just not using the app anymore.
    Adblock seems to be taking the news relatively well, though there's obviously some frustration. The company's lead developer had this to say:

    "This fix has made it impossible for Adblock Plus to automatically set the proxy for the current active connection. From a security perspective it makes sense but it has a significant, negative impact on everyone who uses our app. While in Android 2.x the proxy was globally configured for all connections, this changed with Android 4.x which requires to individually set a proxy for each Wi-Fi connection. In addition to that the proxy has to be set each time a user connects to a network and the process of changing those settings is not very user-friendly.

    There is not much we can do right now except making the process as simple and as smooth of an experience for our users as possible. We hope for another update from Google with their next Android release to provide us with an appropriate API so that our app can work even better on non-rooted devices."
    We thought it worth sharing for folks out there who use Adblock Plus. Sound off if you were affected.

    Source: AndroidPolice
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  3. Master Droid
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    #2
    So, my assumption is that no add blocking app will work with this update?
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    #3
    Quote Originally Posted by skennelly View Post
    So, my assumption is that no add blocking app will work with this update?
    All the ad block apps/functions I have tested, operate the same way as ABP did, so I am going to go out on a limb here and say yes. However, from the sounds of it, rooted devices don't have to worry.

    Personally, I would prefer an adblock solution to block adds on a per app basis. In most cases, ads are fine. As some one with programing experience, I am more then happy to compensate the app maker for the time and effort they put in to it. However, in some cases, the ads just get in the way of the functionality of the app, and I would prefer to block ads in that one app rather then block them on the entire device. I would also like to block ads in my browsers as it can easily disrupt the page lay out.
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    #4
    FWIW, I've been using AdFree (which only works on rooted devices) -- I have it on my Thunderbolt (still Gingerbread) and my Galaxy Tab 2 (ICS). This works by adding entries for specific host names (e.g. doubleclick.net) to the local hosts file and setting their IP addresses to 127.0.0.1, effectively preventing apps from reaching those hosts. I presume that will still work in 4.2.2 ROMs. Of course, it won't block any ads that are directly referenced by IP address instead of by host name.

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