‘Anonymous’ Proxy List?

SPIDERMANLUCK.png

I forget exactly where I found this link – I think it was either Electronic Frontier Foundation or Privacy Tools  – but it’s a list of supposedly anonymous proxy servers, generated by a set of particular search engine terms:

+”:8080″ +”:3128″ +”:80″ filetype:txt

This returns results for lists of proxy servers that use ports 8080, 3128, and 80, which are apparently more anonymous than average proxies.

You’ll get different results if you use different search engines, too:

qwant.com: proxy list

Blackle.com: proxy list

For the curious, here are some of the actual results that you might get as well:

rebro.weebly.com: proxy list

Proxy Spider: short proxy list

kan339: proxy list

lategoodies.tripod.com: proxy list

h3furnitureoutlet: proxy list (yeah, a furniture outlet has a proxy list)

proxy IP list: anonymous

jobabroad.sweb.cz: proxy list

playinator.com: proxy list

Even so, as I mentioned in a few earlier posts, this all depends on whether you trust proxies at all. Which is why I haven’t used any of these, personally.

It’s similar to using a VPN in combination with Tor. Are you really anonymous when doing this? That depends on whether or not you trust your VPN provider! By the same token, it’s very risky to use certain proxies, unless you know what data the proxy server is collecting about you. Never mind the fact that .txt documents can contain malware (just as some PDFs on Tor do). Read Should You Trust Any Proxy? to find out a little more.

Regardless, it’s an interesting experiment to try Googling this, even if you don’t decide to use the proxy services themselves. Most of the sites look like this:

anonymous_proxy

While the idea of “anonymous proxy server” sounds great, in theory, they could be just like malicious Tor exit nodes – intending to steal data or worse.

So yes, these proxies exist. Should you use them? That’s up to you.

Call me paranoid, but personally, I wouldn’t.

 

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Darkfox: Access the Dark Web with Ease!

darkfox

NOTE: Darkfox will not help you access .clos, .rdos, .lll, or .loky domains. Those don’t exist!! It will help you access .onion, .I2P, and 127.0.0.1:8888 URIs.

by Ciphas

This may sound like an infomercial, but I swear it’s not.

Those of you who use darknets, in particular Tor, I2P, and Freenet, might have noticed that it can sometimes be inconvenient to have to run each one in a separate browser, or at least have to launch the programs separately.

Well, I found a program that makes it simpler to connect to any of these three networks with a simple command: it’s called Darkfox Launcher.

Its advantage is that it lets you access Tor, I2P, or Freenet without having to change your configurations every time. Plus, it’s very simple to use.

The GitHub page goes into a little more detail, but one of the most important questions it answers is: “How does Darkfox Launcher work?”

Here’s the answer: “Darkfox Launcher works by first changing the default profile of the Firefox Portable software and with that, changing the default network configuration. Once this phase is done, Darkfox will proceed by launching the Darknet proxy software to make the connection to the Darknet chosen by the user. When completed, Firefox Portable will boot to the default startpage of that specific Darknet.”

Darkfox is also a convenient way of quickly accessing one of these networks if, say, you need to contact someone through the network and don’t want to go through the process of installing, for example, I2P.

Included in its software package are these things: Firefox Portable Edition, and the proxy software from the Tor Project, the Invisible Internet Project (I2P), and the Freenet Project. If you’re unfamiliar with each of these, it might help to check them out individually first!

So what’s my opinion? I’ve been using it for a little while now, and while it does have a few bugs, I love it. (Besides, what software doesn’t have bugs, especially in the early stages?)

And you may have noticed that, since it’s on GitHub, Darkfox Launcher is also open source. To that end, if you want to fork it and contribute to the code, feel free.

Now, its downside is that it isn’t as secure as the actual Tor browser. So, if you’re doing some kind of hardcore whistleblowing, or engaging in illicit activities, I don’t recommend Darkfox for you. It’s still a work-in-progress, though, so future versions will probably have improved security features.

On a side note, this may just be nostalgia, but its UI reminds me of both the DOS command prompt and the Bash Unix shell. *Nerding out*

While it may not be about bells and whistles, I think Darkfox Launcher accomplishes its purpose well. For more information about it, check out the Darkfox Read Me: https://github.com/blacklight447/Darkfox-Launcher/blob/master/README.md.

If that’s not enough, take a look at its source code here: https://github.com/blacklight447/Darkfox-Launcher/blob/master/darkfox%20code

darkfox_sourcecode

Who knows? Perhaps in the future, it will have the ability to launch Tor and do your taxes.

How to Access the Dark Web with I2P!

use-i2p-host-and-share-your-secret-goods-dark-web-anonymously.w654

What?  You mean there’s another way to access the dark web?  YES!

I’ve said this before, but it bears repeating – Tor is not the only way to access the so-called “dark web,” but it seems to be the most popular at the moment.  In fact, there are many ways to do so.  Oddly enough, many of the trending articles that discuss the dark web act as if Tor is the only way to reach it.

“Dark web” is essentially a metaphor for all the sites built on top of encrypted networks that require special software, configurations or permissions to access.  I must clarify this, however – Tor, I2P, and Freenet are completely separate networks.

On previous posts I’ve mentioned Freenet, but there are other options too, and I2P is one of them.  The reason that it probably doesn’t have the same reputation as Tor, or even Freenet for that matter, is that it’s a bit more complex to learn and use.  (At least that’s my guess).

So, downloading I2P is the easy part; just go to Download – I2P and install it!  The site offers packages for the following OS’s:

  • Windows
  • Mac OS X
  • GNU/Linux/BSD/Solaris
  • Debian/Ubuntu
  • Android

The tricky part, as you may have guessed, is the post-install work!  Courtesy of their homepage, I’ll offer the steps:

I2P_post-install-work

After running the installer on Windows, simply click on the “Start I2P” button which will bring up the router console, which has further instructions.

On Unix-like systems, I2P can be started as a service using the “i2prouter” script, located in the directory you selected for I2P. Changing to that directory in a console and issuing “sh i2prouter status” should tell you the router’s status. The arguments “start”, “stop” and “restart” control the service. The router console can be accessed at its usual location. For users on OpenSolaris and other systems for which the wrapper (i2psvc) is not supported, start the router with “sh runplain.sh” instead.

When installing for the first time, please remember to adjust your NAT/firewall if you can, bearing in mind the Internet-facing ports I2P uses, described here among other ports. If you have successfully opened your port to inbound TCP, also enable inbound TCP on the configuration page.

Also, please review and adjust the bandwidth settings on the configuration page, as the default settings of 96 KBps down / 40 KBps up are fairly slow.

If you want to reach eepsites via your browser, have a look on the browser proxy setup page for an easy howto.

Did that read like a foreign language to you?  Congratulations!  It did to me too, at first.  It may make more sense once you actually get into the process of setting it up…or not.

At first, I’ll admit I was somewhat intimidated by I2P, given that you couldn’t just install it and run it without a lot of configuration and forehand knowledge, but now that I’m more educated in that area, it’s kind of fun (believe it or not).  Or maybe it’s because I’m a nerd, I don’t know…

d4f20041254a0727ddce7cb81be9e68c

If you find the homepage’s instructions a bit too technical, there are a number of other sites that “translate” the setup tutorial into a simple guide. Deepdotweb featured one of these guides in this post: Full guide: How to access I2P Sites & Use TheMarketplace.i2p

The Tin Hat also offers a great tutorial here: How To Use I2P | I2P Tutorial & Setup Guide.  Plus, they explain how the network works in layman’s terms!

the_tin_hat_I2P

Screenshot credit: thetinhat.com

Once you have the network up and running and you open it in a browser (e.g. Firefox), you should see a page like this:

I2P_router_console_0.7.7

Credit: 2009 Wikimedia Commons

As it says, that’s the I2P Router Console, and from that page you can configure just about everything about your connection, how much bandwidth you’re using, and what IP address your “identity” appears to be (not unlike Tor, actually)!

Let the Right One In

hand-984170_960_720

I had to include at least one creepy image.

Now, I have to confess that the part where I got held up was when I tried to access actual I2P sites (known as “eepsites”).  I knew I was connected to the network, so that wasn’t the problem.

According to the official I2P FAQ, under the question explaining what eepsites are:

An eepsite is a website that is hosted anonymously – you can access it by setting your web browser’s HTTP proxy to use the web proxy (typically it listens on localhost port 4444), and browsing to the site.

I did this, but I was still unable to access a number of the eepsites (or at least the featured ones on the router console).  Therefore, my thought was that the sites themselves were down.

Either that, or my firewall settings were preventing me from accessing the sites – I plan on modifying those and giving this another try.  Of note: eepsites also tend to go down often (not unlike .onion sites), so that could also be the problem.

But Wait…There’s More!

I2PBote-inbox-0.4

Like its darknet cousin Freenet, I2P offers several main features:

Email/Messaging: I2P has a few different messaging services.  The main ones are a built-in email application and I2P-Bote, a secure messaging platform somewhat akin to Freenet’s FMS (Freenet Messaging System) application.

I2P-Bote is a P2P email service; there is no central server that stores your personal data. Email messages are stored in encrypted form on the computers of other I2P-Bote users, which is how it differs in its structure from standard email services.  No one with the ability to read your emails actually stores them on their servers.

If you check out the link above, it breaks down many of the security features of I2P-Bote, including its encryption method(s), and anonymity components.

I2P-Bote, as opposed to standard email services like Gmail or Outlook, uses cryptographic keys as destinations (i.e. randomly generated numbers and letters.)

sy10500b

This end-to-end encryption is the default with I2P-Bote.  Beyond that, I2P-Bote also sanitizes email headers, taking out any unimportant information, and encrypts what’s left (e.g. the subject line).

I don’t know about you folks, but I find that very reassuring!

IRC (Internet Relay Chat): Some of you are probably already familiar with IRC – it’s been around since the internet’s early days (1988, believe it or not)!  The difference with I2P is that it has an IRC service that allows users to chat anonymously.  Similar services exist on Tor, by the way.  I have yet to use the chat service, but I plan on doing so in the future (and perhaps writing a separate post about it).  According to The Tin Hat’s how-to guide:

“Often controversial topics are talked about in these channels, but nobody is afraid of offering what may be a very valid, but unpopular opinion, pushing you to explore new ideas from new perspectives.”

And I can’t help but be reminded of an episode of Numbers while reading that line where they said this:

numbers_irc

Uhh…no it isn’t.  But I digress.  If you do end up using I2P’s IRC, The Tin Hat recommends the chat rooms #salt and #i2p-chat, which you can connect to by setting your IRC client (such as X-Chat) to 127.0.0.1 on port 6668.  If you already have experience with this, feel free to give me some feedback on how it went!

Torrents: Oh my God, you can torrent over I2P?  Yes – in fact, some would say that gives it an advantage over Tor, which strongly advises against torrenting over their network.

I2P offers The Postman Tracker and I2PSnark.  The former is a lot like The Pirate Bay, and the latter is very similar to µTorrent.  Again, I have yet to try out this feature, but according to my research, the torrenting feature only provides more cover-traffic, which actually improves your anonymity (as opposed to Tor)!

I2P also gives the user an advantage in that they can use it as a proxy for clearnet torrents, like BitTorrent or µTorrent.  That way you’re less likely to get some ominous letter from the RIAA, or have others users spying on your torrents.  It’s not 100% foolproof, but I’d say it’s smarter.  

Beyond that, there is an I2P plugin for the Vuze torrent client called I2P Helper; if you intend to use I2P primarily for torrenting, then it works very well in this context.  I2P Helper allows you to download torrents from both the clearnet and the dark web simultaneously.  To boot, you can configure Vuze to use I2P by itself, or an already running external I2P router.

One of the positive things about using I2P for torrenting is that there is very little child pornography or other questionable material on the torrent trackers (despite claims to the contrary).  Rather, there are quite a few sci-fi books, programming books, leaked government documents, movies, and music.

Its downside, however, is speed, which on average is about 30KBps (compared to roughly 1-2 MB/s on most other torrenting sites).  The trade-off, of course, is the anonymity factor.  You’re much less likely to get discovered and sued by angry record labels and movie studios if you’re using I2P, as opposed to their “cousins” on the clearnet.  So the choice is yours.

Give Me Links!  Give Me Links!

09_Browse_to_Site

All right, you asked for it!  I haven’t vetted any of these links, so enter at your own risk. These links are courtesy of DCJTech.info: DarkWeb Link List.  I have to admit, they’re much easier to remember than most .onion addresses, aren’t they?

Directory (I2P)

File-Sharing and Torrents

Gaming

Messaging

Miscellaneous I2P Sites

OutProxies

Search Engines (I2P)

Shopping (I2P)

Social

Is that enough links to get you started?  Well, I hope you have fun checking them out.

As for me,  I do hope to explore I2P more in the near future; it seems perfectly suited to nerds like me!

With that…it’s off to the darknet again…

 

 

 

 

 

 

Can You Access Tor on iOS Devices?

As M. Bison would say:

утиные-истории-duck-tales-Magica-De-Spell-NSFW-2198641

Thus far on my articles, I’ve mainly talked about Android devices, so maybe I’m showing a little bias.

The answer, of course, is yes! What I don’t know for certain is how good the various iOS apps are, but I can at least share some of the available offerings.

The three most popular apps available from the iTunes Store (at the moment) are called Onion Browser (by Mike Tigas), Red Onion (by Omar Mody), and VPN Browser, (by Art Fusion).

That’s Just, Like…Your Opinion, Man

Lebowski_Landscpe_LR_RUSSIAN

So, all three of these Tor-powered apps have high ratings on the iTunes Store itself, but those can be misleading – after all, the developers could’ve written them, right?

Since I don’t have a lot of personal experience using these apps, I turned to the community to see what they thought.  The site iPhone.informer features reviews of all kinds of different apps.

Even on there, Red Onion seems to have overwhelmingly positive reviews.  Onion Browser, on the other hand, received mixed reviews.  (Many users complained that it crashes frequently, which is also a problem with the desktop version).

As for the VPN Browser, it also has mainly positive reviews, with the exception of one, who said, “Every time I try to watch a video the app crashes.”  I almost never watch videos on Tor anyway, so that doesn’t concern me!

Internet Is Leaking!

What I’ve heard through the grapevine, on articles like The problem behind mobile Tor browsers’ IP disclosure, is that all three of these apps do work well in terms of being user-friendly, but on the downside, I’ve also heard that they have a serious problem with IP leakage (which would defeat the purpose of using them!).

On the plus side, the developers have apparently fixed these errors in more recent versions of Onion Browser and Red Onion.

mobile browsers' IP disclosure

Screenshot: courtesy of xordern.net

Actually, an update to the above post says that the HTML5 multimedia leak and download-related leaks were fixed in later versions – hopefully that’s no longer a problem.

One of the ways in which IP addresses are leaked on mobile devices is via external HTML5 canvas image data, which is essentially what I was referring to in the May I Have Your Browser Fingerprint? post.

The current version of Tor (or the desktop version, at least) now warns you if a URL attempts to do this (Tor users are probably familiar with this message):

Screen Shot 2014-10-24 at 14.27.28.png

Even if the leak problem is “fixed,” I would still be cautious about using some of these mobile apps to access the Tor network.  There are other methods that can be used to deanonymize users, and the very act of using Tor raises suspicion…

Aww, but I was just looking at pictures of cute cats!! Anyhow, it seems that at the moment, no version of Tor is 100% anonymous, but if you’re careful enough, it may not matter.

Just don’t ask about buying any nuclear missiles, OK?  (I’m serious about that.)

 

 

TsalalNet: Another Urban Legend? Probably.

In the process of writing this blog, I’ve been doing a lot of research, and a common factor that keeps coming up is that there are “deeper” levels of the dark web than the ones that we commonly see (e.g. Tor, I2P, Freenet).

One of the urban legends of this nature that’s been passed around is that of the so-called “Mariana’s Web,” which was likely based on the infographic that described levels of the web as being akin to layers of the ocean.  I’m almost 100% certain that this is pure myth, and was invented by someone who wanted to troll people who had never used Tor or other darknets.

And now, supposedly, I’m hearing about another layer of the web called “TsalalNet,” which I’ve come across on sites like this one: Girls Who Like Dragons: tsalalnet.  While I’ve never “been to” this part of the web (if it exists at all), my feeling is that it should be lumped together with the Shadow Web and the Mariana’s Web – a pure urban legend. I believe this in particular because the paragraph below has been reproduced entirely on several different websites; they call them “creepypastas” for a reason!

Notwithstanding, I’ll share the source of the “legend” with you here:

“A lot of discussion has been going around on the subject of the Deep Web (also called Deepnet, the invisible Web, DarkNet, Undernet or the hidden web), though little has been discussed on TsalalNet. I could understand why though; it’s one of the more obscure sites in there. Even for veteraned [sic] members of the deep web, it still remains to be one of the less discussed sites on there.

TsalalNet is a site reserved for the unexplainable areas of the deep web, a place dedicated to media and discussion of the strange and unusual.  Most videos and images contain the usual content found on deep web sites, including child pornography, snuff videos, etc., but with what is described by many as an unusual edge or underlying factor to it all.

The content found in TsalalNet may trouble even some of the [veterans, as] the raw footage of acts including necrophilia or snuff contain a layer of the mystical or unnatural that could not be explained.  Unworldly sounds are heard in accompaniment to the usual grotesque sounds, whilst visuals suggest something ritualistic at play.

This can even be found in pornographic content, with videos of nude children covered in animal entrails becoming subjects to strange ceremonies performed by men in dark suits.  Popular videos include footage of women having miscarriages of grotesque creatures, complex and perhaps occult snuff videos, videos of unexplainable events deemed too graphic and unusual for other sites, and more. 

There are several parts to this story that raise doubts in my mind, in particular the “raw footage of acts…contain a layer of the mystical or unnatural that could not be explained,” and “…footage of women having miscarriages of grotesque creatures.”  If this site does exist at all, then it’s more than likely that these videos are staged.

83768525.gif

Although I did find this one picture…

Beyond the fact that it sounds dubious, I had actually searched for the word “TsalalNet” on Tor and Freenet, and came up with nothing.  I would think that if it existed, people would at least be talking about it on the dark web somewhere.  Of course, if I am wrong about this, and such a site exists, please feel free to correct me!

Early on, when I changed the theme of this blog to be technology-related, I had attempted to explain the whole deep web/dark web phenomenon, and I’m not sure I really succeeded. So let me just put it all out there: terms like “deep web” and “dark web” are really just metaphors!

In the technical sense, the “deep web” means web pages that aren’t indexed by standard search engines, like Google and Bing.  The “dark web” is the part of the web that I frequently talk about on this blog: sites that use anonymity networks and require special software or configurations to access (e.g. Tor, I2P, Freenet, GNUnet).  This diagram explains it the most accurately:

0TQk45P

If it’s any consolation to the jaded dark web explorers out there – even though these names like “shadow web” and “TsalalNet” may be mythical, this does not mean that different parts of the web are nonexistent.  If you visit the Wikipedia page for Anonymity networks, you’ll come across many examples of other networks designed for privacy. Personally, I haven’t explored them all, and there may be interesting content that I have yet to see or discover.

If you go by the infographic above, however, the closest thing to a so-called “Marianas Web” that actually exists would be the private networks or alternative networks that do not use the public internet.

There are also newer anonymity networks that are in the process of being developed – if you want to consider those to be “deeper” than the ones that already exist, go right ahead.

Of note: I’ve read from more than one source that this picture is a more accurate representation of the internet than any of the other infographics – it seems more like a brain or a central nervous system:

Internet_map_1024

What are your thoughts on this?  I, for one, am not disappointed; I still believe there is much to discover out there.

 

 

 

 

 

AdvOR: If the Tor Browser Gets Too Easy!

Boy, and you thought the dark web was complicated!  I mean, just look at it:

Hack-attacks

Note: This is not the dark web.

I’ve said in earlier posts that it seems the standard Tor browser is designed for general use (by the average internet user).  Other networks, like Freenet and I2P, may require slightly more knowledge of networking (depending on how deep you want to dig).

So, along comes AdvOR (Advanced Onion Router), a free portable Tor proxy server for those who essentially got bored with the Tor Browser and wanted a bit more configuration ability.  It was actually released in 2014, so I confess I’m a little late to the game; nevertheless, I’m getting caught up.

(I bet ya boi Takedownman couldn’t figure out how to use this one, though.  Har har har!)

advor_screen_7

The interface is exactly like that; it looks pretty, doesn’t it?  (Well, maybe if you’re really fond of gray.)  In essence, it’s a portable client for the Tor network, and is intended to be a replacement for the Tor+Vidalia+Privoxy bundle (Vidalia is no longer available).  AdvOR can be downloaded at this link: https://sourceforge.net/projects/advtor/

To connect to the OR network, just click the “Connect” button there.  As on the standard Tor browser, you can select a new identity (a three-hop circuit over which your traffic travels through the network).  Click the “New identity” button at the bottom to accomplish this.

A window will pop up that says “Select an Exit Node,” through which you can either pick a specific exit node or have the program randomly select one for you:

advor_exit_nodelist

Don’t you wish it were that easy to create a new identity in the real world?

 

new_identity

But I digress.  Essentially, the “identity” that’s showing is that of another relay in the network.

This works very similarly to the same function on the standard Tor browser (look familiar?)

torbrowser-osx-en-v01-401-new-identity

AdvOR also gives you the ability to set up your proxy port or proxy address, and even run intercept programs.  Plus, you can create a custom list of banned IP addresses, HTTP headers, bandwidth limitations, and other options (that aren’t easily available on the Tor browser).

Another cool feature is the ability to bypass ISP filtering.  In other words, if you think that your ISP is blocking access to Tor, then you can use bridge relays.  If you’re unfamiliar with the concept of bridge relays (a.k.a. “bridges”), they’re Tor relays that aren’t listed in the main directory.  For more information, see Tor Project: Bridges.

This, too, can be done on the basic Tor browser, but AdvOR makes it much simpler; all of the options are in one place.

advor_screen_6

As you can see above, you also have the option of using an NTLM proxy for network requests, as well as the other options above.  For example, if you select “Use encrypted directory connections,”  you’re metaphorically opening a “hole” in your firewall so that incoming connections can reach the ports you’ve configured.

You also have the option of specifying a proxy for TLS (SSL) (i.e. Transport Layer Security/Secure Socket Layer) connections – oh wait, does that say “connectinos”?  OK, I’ve managed to get this far in the post with only one joke, but:

5514085

Can I have some of that beer, Most Interesting Man in the World?  I think I need it to finish this post.

advor_screen_7

AdvOR also gives you a number of options when it comes to building circuits in the Tor network (which can also be accomplished through the browser, but you have less control over it).

Through the “circuit build” menu, you can “teach” AdvOR to learn timeouts in the circuit building process, or specify when to time out the circuit building operation (an option which, as far I know, you can’t configure on the standard Tor browser.)  You can also specify how long the network should consider building a new circuit.

Beyond that, you have the option of indicating routers or nodes in the network (listed by nicknames or hashes) that, for whatever reason, you think may have malicious intent, or other sorts of problems, and banning them:

advor_screen_4

There are other aspects of the program I haven’t really explored yet, but on the whole, it seems great!  Essentially, I love the amount of options AdvOR gives you, particularly if you’re even further concerned about privacy, or if the network itself seems to be having problems.  (I think of it like the stick shift version of Tor…)

 

Granted, no piece of software is perfect, and like any other “anonymity network,” this can still be cracked.  But it has its advantages, including stronger security and the ability to manually change parts of the routing process.

Plus, it even seems to “learn” over time what circuits and nodes to use (although this may be somewhat of an illusion – it’s not a Terminator, after all).

 

Well, OK – maybe it will be one day.  Scary thought!

Adblocking Adventures: Adblock Fast vs. Everyone?

7aGcffT

Good day, readers!  I have to admit that I’m going through some stressful times at the moment, but what better way to deal with them than by writing?

That being said, in a couple of earlier posts, I reviewed such privacy tools as Adblock Plus, Ghostery, Redmorph Browser Controller, and uBlock Origin.

Recently on Twitter, Adblock Fast (@adblockfast), created by Rocketship, began following me, and I thought “Why not try this one out?”

Ad-archy in the U.K.

7KB44vGC

In case you’re unfamiliar with it, that’s  Adblock Fast’s logo.  Is it just me, or is that the anarchy symbol?  Yeah, it is (according to my sources).

Anyhow, though many of these ad-blocking extensions (Adblock, Adblock Plus, uBlock) and apps have similar names, they function in rather different ways.  Some use heuristic blocking (like Privacy Badger), while many others use filter lists, like EasyList, to forbid trackers.

Adblock Fast (“ABF”) is in the latter category, like some of its contemporaries.  According to their FAQ, ABF’s ruleset is derived from EasyList and that of Bluhell Firewall.  They also say that they’re in the process of testing a new alternative ruleset to improve the app’s blocking capabilities.

I have to give credit to ABF, though – it really is one of the simplest ad blockers I’ve ever used.  (Plus it’s free and open source; you can’t really fault them for that.)

According to their official site, many of the more popular ad-blocking plugins use an excessive number of filtering rules to prevent trackers, whereas ABF only uses seven.  What??  Seven???

Well, yes, if this chart isn’t one of those deceptive graphs:

adblock_fast_chart

I can’t resist; may I just take a moment and insert an original George Carlin image macro in here?

12zcy7

If you install ABF on Chrome or Opera, you should see a little button on the toolbar with the company logo on it.  If the “A” on the button has a circle around it, like in the picture above, ads are being blocked on the site.  If not, ads are allowed.  All you need to do to block or unblock ads is to click on the A button again.

I will say that for the techie crowd, ABF may seem a bit too simple (especially compared to more advanced blockers such as µMatrix). It’s not nearly as customizable (at least to my knowledge).

On the other hand, Adblock Plus, as I mentioned in a previous post, allows you to add custom filters and whitelisted domains, as well as to add filter subscriptions from the lists I mentioned before.  And blockers like uBlock Origin allow you to select specific elements within a page and disallow them.

Thus far, on alternativeTo – Crowdsourced software recommendations, Adblock Fast has only received three “likes,” but this may be because Google had temporarily banned ad blockers from the Play Store, and recently reversed the ban. Plus, it’s relatively new to the ad-blocking competition.  So they may need a little time to get their bearings.

The Androids are Coming

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I had hoped to include the Android version of Adblock Fast in this review, but apparently that requires that I download Samsung Internet for Android, and I’m almost at my data limit for the month.

Currently, ABF is also available for Opera, iOS 9 (on 64-bit devices, iPhone 5s and up, and iPad Mini 2 and up).

Perhaps this post will need sequel…hmm?  In any case, my final word is – Adblock Fast is a good blocker overall.  It does its job quickly and efficiently, and is easy to learn.  On the other hand, I don’t necessarily recommend it for people who like “manual transmission”-style privacy tools.  For those folks, I think apps like uMatrix and uBlock Origin are more appropriate!

P.S. For those of you who might ask why I haven’t reviewed any iPhone apps yet, I don’t own one…but my wife does.  Maybe she’ll let me borrow hers for one of these posts, if I bake her breakfast or something.