Google Chrome’s Planned Changes Consequently Break Ad Blockers

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The issue of ad blockers has been an ethical one. On one end, content creators dislike them because it robs them of their income while on the other end consumers love them because it cleans up terrible experiences brought about by misplaced ads.

Well, Google is said to be working on a few changes to Chrome that will inevitably kill the functionality of ad blockers. Note that Chrome itself has an inbuilt ad blocker and Google has not come out fighting ad blockers straight on but rather the company is just patching up vulnerabilities within extensions that are said to be notorious for malicious attacks.

The changes, which have been highlighted in this document, will mean that extensions will no longer be able to load code from remote servers, there are also changes the permissions system, so universal access can no longer be demanded at extension install time. The change that will affect ad blockers comes in the webRequest API. Currently, the browser allows extensions to monitor network requests and modify these requests before sending them out and this is how ad blockers work by cancelling all ad request from websites.

This ability is what presents a security risk as rogue developers can submit an innocent extension to the chrome store then once the extension is installed it would remotely run the malicious code and have the power to monitor your traffic and possibly steal your data. To replace webRequest API, Google has developed a new API, declarativeNetRequest. The new API will ultimately take away the power for extensions to perform tasks themselves and make these extensions dependent on Chrome by sending requests to Chrome on tasks the extension wants performed and the browser would then carry out the tasks itself.

This will actually make the browsing experience faster and safer because the request doesn’t get sent to the extension, which means that the extension no longer has access to cookies and other potentially sensitive information.

However, not all ad blockers will be unusable. Popular extension, AdBlock Plus will remain functional while others like uBlock Origin and uMatrix will be affected.

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