After spending a few minutes browsing snow boots online for your kids, you see it on your social media platform. An innocent enough looking ad for nothing other than … snow boots. Is it a coincidence or is there more to it?
It’s understandingly a bit creepy. It can seem as if our phones and computers are reading our minds. But internet-based advertising is nothing. However, plenty of internet users still want to know how to block ads. Here’s some advice to consider.
Are These Common Ads Dangerous?
Our minds are bombarded by ads every day. The estimates vary, but some researchers put the number of daily ads taken in by the average American as high as 5,000. Between television, web browsing, social media, and emails, our minds are invaded throughout the day with messages trying to get us to give our time and money to someone else.
But are our minds also being read? Interest-based advertising might make it seem that way. You see, as you Google and navigate the internet, data breadcrumbs are being collected and stored. Special algorithms interpret this data and then target ads toward your browsing history and personal preferences.
While most ads are not malicious there are exceptions. Every now and then cybercriminals manage to get some dangerous ads into the mix to lure their victims to phishing pages and similar pitfalls. But even if you dismiss those, targeted ads can be overwhelming and annoying. That’s why so many people wonder how to block ads. If you’re one of them, there are several methods you can try.
How to Block Ads
Remember, targeted online ads aren’t as bad as ransomware attacks or data breaches. In comparison, they’re quite innocent. But that doesn’t make them any less invasive, especially when we see the same ad over and over. Here are a few tips to help alleviate the weight of online ads.
Browse in private
One of the easiest ways to block internet-based advertising from tracking your every move is to browse in private. Every major web browser will have an option to do this. You’ll notice the browser window may have a different icon, color, or design when browsing in private. But the main difference is that turning this feature on means your browser will ignore ad-tracking cookies.
Clear your history
Personalized ads are based on your browsing history. It only makes sense that clearing your history will eliminate internet-based advertising (though not ads all together). This process is a bit more complicated than many realize.
First, make sure you clear not just your browsing history, but also your cache and cookies. Then, disable tracking on your device. You may need to do this for multiple apps so refer to each vendor for instructions. Finally, delete third-party advertising cookies and then test your browser with a tool like this that will show you if your browser is properly configured to discourage tracking.
Opt out of ads
If you want to eliminate a specific brand or company’s ad from your viewing, you can choose to opt out of their specific ads. This can be done by heading over to YourAdChoices.com, powered by the Digital Advertising Alliance. You can download their app which will allow you to discover why a certain ad is targeting you and then block it if you chose to do so (on your mobile device). Use this link to scan your browser and control your ads on your computer.
Fight back against adware
Adware is a type of malware that’s installed on devices without their owners’ consent. Adware then redirects users to third party sites and collects personal and sensitive information regarding web browsing and shopping preferences without their knowledge or consent.
To protect yourself from adware and the occasional malicious ad, we recommend Avira Free Antivirus. The Antivirus helps to protect from adware and other types of malware that can taint your online experience.
The only way to eliminate online ads is to stop using the internet. As this isn’t plausible for most, the best way to deal with personalized advertising is to restrict as much of it as you can and simply accept the overflow. Reach out to Avira for more tips on how to block ads and improve your privacy and security online.