Lavasoft Blog

Have you ever searched for a deal on a laptop or jacket and for the following week, all you see are online ads about laptops and jackets? It’s clear to most users that companies are tracking our online  activities. While advertisers use a number of methods to track users’ online habits, one popular method is called a “tracking pixel," also known as a “web beacon.” 

A new Gmail-based phishing scam is convincing even the most tech-savvy users into revealing their usernames and passwords to cybercriminals. Phishing refers to an attempt to acquire sensitive information such as login credentials by posing as a trustworthy entity such as a bank or service provider. In this case, the phishing scam is targeting Gmail users and is one of the most convincing scams that’s been recently reported.

Since ad blocking extensions have quickly become popular, there are aspects of ad blocking software that may not be familiar to all users. For one thing, not all makers of ad blocking software are intrinsically against advertising. Sure, most ads are annoying and software makers want to create the best possible online experience for their users, but free online content could not survive as-is without some advertising.

Happy belated New Year’s from Lavasoft. Here are three simple ways you can start the new year with increased online security and peace of mind.

Change Your Passwords

As a popular online quote says, “Oh good, a banner ad…said no one ever.” Online advertising comes in many forms, including banner ads at the top of websites, automatic videos that play before your chosen YouTube content and the dreaded pop-up window. While online content creators rely on advertising for a portion of their profits, the increasingly invasive nature of online ads has created demand for ad blocking solutions.

In addition to having up-to-date antivirus software, ad blockers are becoming a must-have extension to keep you protected online. Here are five ways in which an ad blocker keeps you and your loved ones safe: 

Protects You from Malicious Ads

It’s the season for holiday online shopping. As you avoid the crowded malls and parking lots with the convenience of online shopping, we want to help keep your credit card and personal information safe. While most online stores do a good job of protecting their customers, it never hurts to exercise good online security practices. Here are five important safety tips that will help you maintain your privacy and security while shopping online:

1.  Right now 220 million global users have an ad blocker installed on their desktop computer. That’s 4x the number of users since 2013.

2. That number is even higher for mobile users: at least 419 million people are blocking ads on their mobile devices today. That’s 22% of the world’s 1.9 billion smartphone users.

For the fourth time in as many months, Adobe has released another critical update to its Flash software. The update addresses a new zero day vulnerability that was discovered last week. Such zero day vulnerabilities are not known to the creators of the vulnerable software or to the public. Subsequently, they can be exploited by cybercriminals to infect computers and mobile devices running the software.