Today we're going to talk about uBlock Origin and if you've followed the previous chapters on ad-blocking articles here is a little extra information for you. Even if you are using either of the two ad blocking apps (AdGuard Home or Pi-Hole) please use uBlock Origin additionally on top of it. Alternatively if you are a more advanced user you can install uMatrix.
So what is uBlock Origin?
Its lightweight, it doesn't distract and it blocks banners, ads and trackers that includes the new CNAME trackers!
And why do you need it?
uBlock Origin is not just an ad blocker. It does block ads and the banners (that you can see) and trackers (that you can't see) but it can basically block anything that you don't want.
This is critical
for those of us who value our freedom and their privacy plus
it eliminates the noise and intrusion of advertising. Many of us agree
that we don't want anyone and everyone having free and unfettered access to our personal data, with or without our permission
Drilling down, uBlock Origin operates through the use of blocking lists. These can be customized such as the ones we have posted in Chapter 3.
very good reason why we like uBlock Origin on Firefox is that it
can now block first-party tracking scripts that attempt to bypass
filters and rules by utilizing DNS CNAME records to load scripts from a
A first-party tracker is where the tracking script is located on the same domain as the web site, while a third-party tracker is when the tracking script is located on another domain.
As browsers begin to block third-party trackers as part of their tracking protection features, some websites have switched to first-party trackers in order to bypass these protections.
First-party tracker protection is, however, only available on Firefox
In order to block first-party trackers that utilize CNAME records, uBlock Origin would first need to perform a DNS lookup of the hostname loading a script to determine the underlying domain that it resolves to.
For example, if a script is being loaded from the user's domain, the ad blocker will perform a DNS lookup and check if it resolves to known tracking domains, and if so, block them.
Unfortunately, Chrome does not provide an API that allows an extension to perform DNS lookups, however, uBlock Origin developer Raymond Hill did find an API in Firefox that could manage this:
I am looking at https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/docs/Mozilla/Add-ons/WebExtensions/API/dns/resolve, it can be used to expose the CNAME:Raymond Hill
Hill subsequently released
uBlock Origin 1.24.1b0 which contains a feature that "uncloaks" CNAME
records in order to block first-party tracking that utilize scripts on
If using 1.24.1b0 and above, to "uncloak" actual (canonical, CNAME) hostname, set advanced setting cnameAliasList to *.Raymond Hill
STOP PRESS!!! uBlock Origin (126.96.36.199) is now available and has CNAME Tracking on-board, however Mozilla is still showing it as 1.24.2 on it's download page.
Please bear in mind that this only works on Firefox! In our next chapter we explain how to make Firefox as secure and private as possible, a couple of really good tweaks and you'll never want or need to use Chrome (by Google) or any other browser again!If you have an Android Phone, consider uBlock Origin also on your Firefox Mobile or Fennec Browser, thanks for your time :-)