Avira partners with AdGuard to integrate adblocker into products

Martin Brinkmann
Jul 5, 2017

Avira announced today that it has integrated adblocking functionality into the company's browser extensions for Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox.

The decision to integrate an adblocker into company products came as a result of a study that Avira ran back in February 2017.

One of the takeaways of the study was that about a quarter of all hits could be tracked to the domains of five advertising networks. What this meant was that about 25% of all attacks originated from advertisement.

Avira ran the study on a sample group of 11.5 million unique active devices during February 2017. A total of 3.67 million detections were recorded by Avira URL Cloud in that time period; 2.4 million of those were malware related, and 817000 phishing related.

Of these 3.67 million detections, 894000 were traced back to five advertising networks. Avira names the advertising networks in question on the official company blog and mentions that the actual number of hits that can be traced back to advertising companies is larger as smaller advertising networks were not factored in.

Avira integrated an adblocker, courtesy of AdGuard, into company products as a response to the analysis of the studay. With more than 24% of attacks traced back to advertising, Avira hopes that it will have a big impact on customer safety on the Internet.

The company products in question, Avira Safe Shopping for Google Chrome and Avira Browser Safety for Mozilla Firefox and Opera, blocked malicious ads in previous versions already. The update introduces full ad blocking to the products to eliminate advertisement as an attack vector.

Updates for both browser extensions are already available. Existing users may receive automatic updates that incorporate the new adblocking functionality. New users may download the extensions directly from Avira.

The integrated adblocker comes with options to turn it off on select websites. Click on the icon in the browser's address bar to get started. It highlights the site's safety status, and the number of trackers and advertisements that were blocked on the page.

You can toggle the "block on this website" slider to disable adblocking on the site in question. The option to show "useful ads" in search results is enabled however. You may want to turn this off as well with a click on Settings and toggling the option.

Closing Words

Advertisement on the Internet is something that more and more Internet users don't like, and rightfully so. There is tracking, the fact that even the largest advertising networks may serve malicious ads, and obnoxious ads on top of all that.

If advertising companies don't get their acts together soon, and do something about all three of these issues, there is little hope that a sole focus on advertisement is a viable business model going forward.

It is clear that adblocking is on the rise. Google plans to integrate an adblocker in Chrome in the future that blocks all ads on sites with "annoying ads". While Google may be in the position to do something about it, considering that it is a major advertisement company and has a firm grip on the browser market, it remains to be seen if it can pursuade users and publishers.

Now You: How should publishers -- like Ghacks -- handle this? What business model would you suggest that is not advertisement based?

Avira partners with AdGuard to integrate adblocker into products
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Avira partners with AdGuard to integrate adblocker into products
Avira announced today that it has integrated adblocking functionality into the company's browser extensions for Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox.
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  1. Sean said on July 6, 2017 at 5:49 pm

    Still need Windows for some of my work. Dumped Avira since they started the ad thingy. No, never looking back.

  2. kalmly said on July 6, 2017 at 3:05 pm

    There was a time when websites had a few ads, and nobody complained. Then the little ads went forth and multiplied. Now they crowd out the original content of web pages. Worse, they jiggle and jump, shimmy and shake. And that not only makes me crazy, it renders the rest of the content useless. Maybe it’s a brain glitch, but I cannot ingest the written word with bright colors flashing at me or my peripheral vision being attacked by frantic motion. Therefore, I use an ad blocker.

    I turn off the ad blocker for a few sites. gHacks is one of them. gHacks’ ads are not irritating. I wouldn’t mind if there were a few more. What I see advertised here are items I’ve been looking for or recently purchased. Sure, that’s a result of tracking, and I confess I find those ads helpful. Amazon (haha) is very good at offering me good prices on exactly what I want.

    As far as business models for websites, I don’t know, and I do wonder what the future holds. I’m sympathetic to website owners, and I am sympathetic to those of us who make use of all the good information provided by people like Martin. Pay per view or subscription fees will take some of us off the internet altogether or limit our usage to a minimum. That would be bad for all concerned.

    @ Martin. Keep reminding us to keep our ad blockers off and where we can donate. I hope very much that a resolution will be found that works for everyone.

  3. John said on July 6, 2017 at 8:25 am

    In my experience, anyone having Avira has a plethora of viruses on their computers. Apparently its easily defeated by various malware and can be controlled by it to show as “active”. Anyone having it I advice to go to another antivirus maker.

    As for them bundling it, its a reaction to a couple issues:
    – People getting tired of all the advertisements everywhere.
    – Those causing more unneeded traffic with downloading the pages etc.
    – Advertisements, tracking and other stuff being an attack vector to hijack browsers or even infect computers.
    its no wonder that blocking ads and tracking etc will be more and more a standard feature in products.

  4. Jan Krohn said on July 6, 2017 at 7:12 am

    I must say I’m not at all consistent. On the one hand I’m dependent on advertising as a publisher, and very concerned about too many visitors using adblockers these days. I also don’t like anti adblock tools since visitos would just not come back to my site, and I do respect their free choice to use an adblocker.
    On the other hand, I use an adblocker myself.There are just too many sites out there that are flooded with ads and make it difficult to find the content without ad blocker.
    I’m hopeful that Google’s move to include a basic adblocker in Chrome will solve the current deadlock.

  5. Mike said on July 5, 2017 at 10:14 pm

    Sadly, I think the introduction of ad blocking is likely going to be the death of many small/independent websites. That, or the user experience is going to become even worse due to increased articles on the site that look like website content, but are actually sponsored articles.

    Even still, I see no reason to use this extension. Adguard isn’t bad, but it is nowhere near as good as uBlock Origin is. The only browser that uBlock Origin isn’t the best on is Safari, where Wipr is a superior option. Heck, I find uBlock Origin to be faster/more efficient than Operas integrated ad blocker.

  6. No-name said on July 5, 2017 at 9:55 pm

    Unfortunately, advertisement is the only business model for sites like ghacks. The subscription model already costs too much. Amazon, Netflix, Apple and Spotify have taken a large amount of money from people’s pocket. If publishers switch to the service model, it will be a great burden for people. Instead of paying $3 for 5 small sites, they will pay $10 to a big site that covers everything. Only the big publishers will survive. The only solution is to fight the ads companies or make ad blocking illegal. To be honest, the ads companies are cheating to everyone, including the publishers and the advertisers.

  7. jimm said on July 5, 2017 at 9:29 pm

    fuck advertisers. use tor browser.

    1. Clairvaux said on July 5, 2017 at 11:07 pm

      If your aim is to do unpleasant, sex-related things to advertisers, using Tor is like bringing an aircraft carrier to a street fight. Sure, it will work, but you’ll be greatly inconvenienced, too. Not worth it, unless your anonymity needs go beyond evading advertisers’ tracking.

      To begin with, you can’t add extensions to Tor. If you don’t want to compromise the browser’s anonymity, you must stick to those which are already included in the package.

  8. insanelyapple said on July 5, 2017 at 9:07 pm

    How can we be sure that Avira’s magnanimous solution for protecting users, customers against ads and tracking won’t be used against them? The already mentioned turned on option for “useful ads” seems to be confirming that they aren’t interested in user’s safety but rather in helping ad industry.

    As long I browse Internet I never – NEVER found any advertising on pages useful but rather annoying, distracting and wasting space which could be used for optimal display of content.

  9. Clairvaux said on July 5, 2017 at 9:06 pm

    I don’t suggest that ads should disappear. A small number of them might be acceptable, even desirable.

    What I don’t understand, however, is why ad networks can’t block malware themselves. That objective should be a no-brainer, for all the parties involved. Anti-malware developers have the means to detect and block malvertising (up to a point). The technology exists, even if it is not waterproof. Why is it not applied at the point where users would be most protected, that is before malware has an opportunity to reach them ?

    Is that one more case where nothing can be done without government regulation ?

  10. Sir Pixelot said on July 5, 2017 at 9:05 pm

    I use uBlock Origin and disable blocking for ghacks. I’m fine with disabling my adblocking tools for websites I trust and want to support. The main reason I use such tools is because of websites that serve malicious ads and ads that hog CPU resources.

  11. Yuliya said on July 5, 2017 at 9:04 pm

    It’s fine because Avira is trash nowadays and nobody should use it anyway (Just like every other antivirus solution). Funny, I used to recommend Avira, until about a year ago when I tested it inside a VM and their own program was showing an ad window every so hours. The VM was running a freshly installed Windows 8.1 Enterprise x64 with nothing else installed. On top of that, the tray thingy is a separate program. How stupid and resource inefficient can this be..

    Regardless, I think ad companies should wisen up. Get rid of tracking. Why do you need it for? I get women clothing ads on gHacks. Who in their right mind buys clothing online? Or who buys clothing without trying it first, narrowing it down between two sizes and trying them both for like ten times each before you feel you found the one that fits right? Plus sometimes you can return it, if it’s within a day or so, in case when you reach home you feel you’ve made the wrong decision. Now seriously, that ad in particular is useless and it’s one I see the most often, sometimes twice per page.

    And now, the company’s solution to me not clicking that ad? Make it flashy, colourful, animated. Maybe add some noise. Seriously? That doesn’t make it more appeal. While the one I’m talking about above (it’s from “Rozetka” and they sell more stuff, not just clothing, and it’s not flashig in all colours, only that that’s what I’m getting), there are some really irritating. Right now on my right side there’s a plane thingy which I’m supposed to steer/aim with my mouse pointer. It would be fine if it didn’t keep the FireFox process to constantly 20%CPU usage:
    On a desktop is manageable. on a laptop this is really bad as now CPU’s like 5-10 degrees hotter than idle. And it sits on my lap, ofcourse.

    These ad companies should learn to show me a relevant ad based on the current site I’m on. Forget about other sites. Here they should show me a VPN solution Ad. Right now there’s a “Mi” portable battery, that’s perfectly fitting. Also some cloud thingy which promisses 1GB of storage, eh.. it’s relevant though. Both are text and one has a small picture of the battery, which looks silver-ish. Above them there’s some forex bollocks, of which I have no idea about what it is because I hate economics, and it has nothing to do with this site, I just maybe opened some tab by mistake a few days ago on a google search. This one’s dark blue, with a bright orange graph and yellow text. At least it’s not animated. For now, who knows, if nobosy clicks on it, few weeks later they might decide to animated it and show how that graph grows in time. CLICK ON IT! EARN MONEY!1! yeah.. no..

    Stop making ads that nobody has any intention of clicking on, then try to force them on people by autoplay, popups or other nasty tactics. Stop with the tracking, show relevant ads based only on the current website. And don’t make them look like a window that shows the inside of a club at 1AM. If they are relevant, there is no need to do this. This way ad companies will survive. And I hope that Google’s initiative will steer these companies in this direction.

    This was a long post O.O

    1. Sambo said on July 6, 2017 at 6:16 am

      Yeah I stopped using Avira because of the excessive ads. The ads popped out multiple times when I was working. Really insane.

      I don’t understand why you need to use AV in VM. Use snapshot instead of AV in case you get a virus.

    2. CHEF-KOCH said on July 6, 2017 at 2:43 am

      Only Avira Free version offer ads and it’s mentioned on their homepage.

      Why they need tracking? Because it’s an upcoming business.

      Ads aren’t a problem by default, the thing is that they must be well placed, not infected or compromised and not requiring tons of bandwidth. That would be a challenge.

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