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Understanding Vivaldi’s Abusive Ad Blocker

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Understanding Vivaldi’s Abusive Ad Blocker 

Vivaldi browser now features an abusive ad blocker


The latest version of Vivaldi browser introduces a new technology that helps provide a cleaner and more secure browsing experience for users on all supported desktop platforms (Windows, Linux, and macOS).

As one of the most advanced browsers currently on the market, Vivaldi already supports ad-blockers, as the application is built on Chromium, the same engine that powers Google Chrome.

In other words, you can install any Chrome extension, including these ad blockers that guarantee a cleaner web.

But beginning with version 2.6, Vivaldi also comes with an integrated abusive ad blocker, whose purpose isn’t necessarily to block all ads that you find online, but to actually eliminate those that could pose a threat.

First of all, let’s see what abusive actually means when referring to online ads.

Basically, an abusive ad is the type of ad that is designed from the very beginning to be misleading. They can land in various forms, and at the same time, have different behaviors, like blocking you from clicking the back button to leave the page.

Google says there are 8 types of abusive ads based on the system they rely on:
> fake messages
> unexpected click areas
> misleading site behaviors
> browser history manipulation
> social engineering (phishing and deceptive sites)
> auto redirect
> mouse point
> malware or unwanted software

Vivaldi’s new ad blocker is thus supposed to stop all of these from showing up in the browser, keeping the entire experience cleaner all the time.
Vivaldi browser now features an abusive ad blocker

But how does this abusive ad blocker work in Vivaldi 2.6?

First of all, the entire system is based on a blocklist that Vivaldi itself maintains on its servers. On every launch, the browser connects to Vivaldi’s servers, downloads this list, and then uses it for the entire session until you close the app.

The parent company guarantees that no data is exposed during the download because the blocklist is hosted on end-to-end encrypted servers. In other words, Vivaldi won’t connect to the server on each page load, but only once when you launch the browser, and this has two benefits: first, it improves the overall performance, and second, it doesn’t create unnecessary risks with repeated connections to the same server.

One useful feature that is currently missing in Vivaldi is an option for users to actually contribute to this blocklist. For example, users could be allowed to report websites that they think include abusive ads, technically helping the developing team improve the blocklist and make the feature itself more effective.

However, let’s not forget that this is only the very first implementation of the feature, so it could be further refined in the coming updates.

Let’s see how you can disable this feature in Vivaldi if you don’t want to use it.
Vivaldi browser now features an abusive ad blocker

While you’re obviously recommended to keep the abusive ad blocker enabled for a reason that makes no sense to highlight, some users might just want to turn it off. Vivaldi does let you do that with a simple toggle in the settings screen, albeit once again, disabling it exposes your device to the security threats mentioned above.

To disable the abusive ad blocker in Vivaldi 2.6, follow this path:

Vivaldi > Settings > Privacy > Content Blocking > Block Ads on Abusive Sites

There are no other options available for the time being, so what you see here is pretty much what you get.

Vivaldi promises further improvements for the abusive ad blocker, and the company claims that this early implementation allows for other features that could go live in its browser in the coming updates.

“Going forward, the blocklist of abusive ads gives us the opportunity to consider adding similar, related functionality for the benefit of our users. The way that we’ve implemented this functionality is an interesting step in the direction of relying less on third-party services,” the company says.




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