Monday, July 31st, 2006 at 12:01pm

Defending against website banner ads with Firefox

Posted by Jordan Erickson

You all know I’m a huge advocate of the Firefox web browser (available at http://www.mozilla.com/firefox/ ). This morning I discovered a couple of “Extensions” (small programs that extend the functionality of Firefox) that actively block banner advertisements in web pages.

These days it is very important to consider selective blocking of advertisements, both flash-based and static images. For example, recently the popular social networking website Myspace (http://www.myspace.com) was accused of serving over a million of it’s members spyware through a flash-based banner ad that was modified by hackers. Merely viewing a page on Myspace that contained this hacked ad silently installed spyware onto your Windows PC if you are using Internet Explorer. In my professional opinion, this calls for user defense against advertisements.

The first extension I installed this morning is called “Adblock Plus”. This handy extension allows you to right-click on any image-based banner ad on any website and block it. It removes the ad instantly, and blocks all future viewing of it. It also gives you the option to add “blocklist subscriptions” from several free sites that maintain up-to-date lists of websites that serve banner ads, and blocks them all from coming to your computer. It also gives you “whitelist” functionality, which lets you enter in sites that you DO want ads from. It is very, very nice to have this.

The second extension is a lot like Adblock Plus, but is specifically for flash-based banner ads. Flash ads are usually the ads you’ll see that are interactive (like “Catch the baby and win a free ringtone”). The extension is called “Flashblock” and works just like Adblock. It blocks all flash on your browser, but by simply clicking on the flash content (which now will have a “>” play arrow), you can view it. It also has whitelist functionality, so you can view sites like “YouTube.com” without having to click everything in.

If you would like help installing these extensions (or the Firefox browser), give us a call at 707-636-5678 and we will set up an appointment. The kinds of software the Firefox community is making truly does help people like you surf the web in a safer, more enjoyable fashion.

– Jordan

© 2006 Logical Networking Solutions: Lake and Sonoma County Computer Repair