Beware Internet Users! Your Ad Blocker Might Get You Hacked

A lot of people like using ad blockers, on their favorite web browsers (including, Google Chrome, Firefox, Opera, etc.) because of the fact that these blockers can be used to make your experience — for example, streaming videos and just surfing the internet in general — a much more streamlined, disruption-free and far smoother. However, another aspect about ad blockers is that they have a tendency to make your system vulnerable to cyber attacks of a wide variety of natures. The fact of the matter is that ad blockers being so widely popular and also being so vulnerable to cyber attacks is the sort of thing that would turn into quite a lethal combination all in all, one that could lead to all sorts of problems down the line.

Ad blockers basically use a feature that allows them to rewrite the code of a particular webpage to a certain extent. This is what gives these tools the ability to block out certain ads. They can be used to filter out specific types of content as well, content that you might not want to see while you are surfing the internet or social media. This is the line of code that malicious actors can use to get into your system. They can use this feature to inject arbitrary data into a webpage which is what can end up giving your system a malicious file such as malware or a variety of other unseemly bugs.

The most common way for hackers to use this feature against you would be to try and redirect to a webpage that would have a malicious payload that you might end up downloading without even realizing.

A web developer, Armin Sebastian, recently discovered that extensions like Adblock Plus (ABP), AdBlock and uBlock can be abused to create a rule that injects a remote script into a target website.

According to Sebastian:
"The affected extensions have more than 100 million active users, and the feature is trivial to exploit in order to attack any sufficiently complex web service, including Google services, while attacks are difficult to detect and are deployable in all major browsers." He added further, "Ad blocking extensions should consider dropping support for the $rewrite filter option. It’s always possible to abuse the feature to some degree, even if only images or style sheets are allowed to be redirected."
Sebastian, further recommends users to migrate to uBlock Origin, which according to him is not vulnerable to the above mentioned flaw.

In response, ABP team said that, "We have decided to remove the rewrite option and will accordingly release an updated version of Adblock Plus as soon as technically possible."

In a blog post Laura Dornheim further explained that "We are doing this as a measure of precaution. There has not been any attempt of abusing the rewrite option and we will do everything we can to ensure this won’t happen."

Your favorite Ad blockers can be hacked

Read next: Microsoft Paying No Attention to Internet Explorer Zero-Day That Is Letting Hackers Steal User’s Files
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