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How Should You Handle Ads?

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Tech Lockdown Team
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Updated January 22, 2024

One of the most universal experiences we all share are Advertisements. Ads are present pretty much everywhere but are especially prevalent online. They most commonly appear in the sidebars of web articles, at the beginning of YouTube videos, or between posts on social media. 

At Tech Lockdown, we're focused on helping people struggling with porn addiction find then road to recovery and help create a blocking solution that works for them. Advertisements can become a problem, especially since most Ads:

  • Tend to be attention grabbing - and can go to extreme lengths to do this.
  • Are intrusive and can be very difficult or impossible to ignore.
  • Are targeted and can track you in ways that are not always transparent.

Put how can Ads be harmful to someone who's just trying to block adult content?

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Why Should You Block Ads?

We can all agree that Ads are distracting, however, there are other, more serious ways that they can be harmful. Many content filters include the ability to block Ads, so in addition to blocking adult content, it might be worthwhile for you to consider blocking both.

1) Ads can present a temptation

Advertising's whole premise is to sell you something. In order to do this, they need to catch your attention. It doesn't take a creative genius to realize that suggestive content tends to grab attention.

This issue is made worse by the fact that Ads tend to be:

  • Un-skippable and unavoidable. 
  • Intrusive and "in-your-face".

2) Ads use Trackers

Almost all Ads collect some kind of information about their viewers. There is a really good article from Digital Trends that explains how this works, so if you're more interested in the technical side, feel free to take a look. 

It all boils down to serving you targeted Ads. All of the information that these trackers collect are supposed to help companies know who is interested in which type of products. Cookies are a popular example of how these trackers work, but others can be as innocuous as a single tracking pixel on a website.

For those wanting to  block porn , these trackers can continue to give you Ads that have the types of content that you're trying to avoid.

3) Ads can promote scams or other malicious content

While a bit rarer than suggestive content, scams are still common enough that we believe they're important. Even though Ads are "supposed" to be screened against malicious content, some inevitably sneak through the cracks.

This problem is made possible by something called New Domains. Typically, when Ads are screened, the websites and domains that the Ad uses are compared to a list of known scams. If a scammer is trying to promote a more sophisticated scam, they might try to create a new domain (one that isn't on a scam list yet). 

These kinds of scams are very tricky to spot, even for experienced users. We talk about an example of such a scam in our Buy Buy Baby  blogpost. This particular attack was very thought-out and seemed pretty convincing.

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How Do You Block Ads?

It can depend on your setup. There are more sophisticated ways to block Ads than by just using an Ad-blocker. The good news is that if you're using a DNS filter to block porn, it's very likely that you'll also be able to block Ads.

All DNS filter work by organizing website domains into categories. Most DNS filters include categories for blocking adult content, advertising, and new domains.

Using a DNS Filter to Block Ads

If you are interested in using a DNS filter , make sure that it has the following categories:

  • Advertising
  • New Domains
  • Trackers
  • Malware

As an example, Tech Lockdown has these, and similar categories. You can choose to install the filter on each of your devices or across your entire home network.

Block Ads with an Adblocker

There are many browser extensions and programs that can block Ads. Personally, I have Adguard, and I've found success while using it. However, I also block Ads with a DNS Filter, so I have as many layers of protection as possible.

It's important to note that some Adblockers are compatible with DNS filters, but they might not be. For example, I found out that Adguard doesn't work at the same time with a DNS filter on an iPhone, since in order to block Ads properly, Adguard has to create a VPN profile. Some DNS filters (especially on iPhone or other iOS) devices need to use a VPN in order to function properly this way.

However, you can usually use Adblocking extensions with a DNS filter, since they block Ads as they appear in the actual scripts and code of the webpage. 

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Frequently Asked Questions

Are DNS Filters and Adblockers compatible with each other?

In general, yes. Especially on a desktop, most Adblockers work on the same level as the hosts file, and block URLs or domains as they are requested by the computer. However, Adblockers that use a VPN to filter requests instead are usually not compatible with DNS filters.

Do I need to get an Adblocker, even if I have a DNS filter?

It depends. Most DNS filters can block Ads, but you might be using one that doesn't have this category, you can consider also using an Adblocker.

Is it better to just use an Adblocker if I want to protect myself from dangerous Ads?

Most Adblockers are only focused on just that - blocking Ads. They typically don't filter out New Domains or Malicious websites, which aren't limited to just Ads.

If you're just interested in blocking Ads, then an Adblocker will most likely work. However, just keep in mind that all threats won't be prevented.