Android 4.2.2 leaves Adblock Plus pretty much useless

February 14, 2013
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Adblock plus

A patch that fixes a security hole has been included in Android 4.2.2 that effectively causes AdBlock Plus to be ineffective. A popular content-filtering and ad blocking extension for desktop browsers, AdBlock Plus has made its Google Play debut in November 2012. However, it didn’t take long before Google devs found a serious flaw that leaves users vulnerable to phishing and data theft exploits in exchange for blocking ads.

This security flaw largely involves apps with internet access permission to change the device’s proxy configuration to a ‘localhost’. Adblock Plus does this automatically in order to block ads and has caused a healthy discussion over at Google, with one user even suggesting that the app should be removed from Play Store altogether due to its apparent threat to web and app developers. Many of them, after all, earn income chiefly from ads.

An AdBlock Plus dev has proposed methods on how to fix the security hole without undermining their ad blocking functionality. However, Google has resolved the bug with its own solution, leaving proxy redirection to be done manually every time an internet connection is established. This makes AdBlock Plus to become mostly useless, something that other app developers find as good news. On the other hand, users will certainly miss navigating the web and apps sans annoying ads.

The AdBlock Plus devs are still working on how to bypass the issue. In the meantime, they have provided rather cumbersome instructions on how to manually set proxies that only the most persistent users are willing to do.

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