Creating an online adblocker

Oliver Storey-Young


Supervised by Padraig Corcoran; Moderated by Federico Liberatore

When browsing the internet, users are regularly bombarded with adverts that will hinder and alter their browsing experience. Adverts are used as a revenue technique for many free and paid websites. Over time the market for adverts has evolved and now an ever-raging war between website hosts and adblockers exist, with each trying to combat the other. In recent years adverts have been used as a strong part of political campaigns – being used to spread propaganda across the internet using smart targeted adverts. In the current day and age, it’s not uncommon to see adblockers being used by day-to-day users of the internet as doing so may provide less distractions and allow content to be accessed quicker as well as filter out inappropriate content from web pages.

In this project I aim to create a reliable and effective adblocker that will be able to detect and circumvent adverts that may be displayed on any given website. The blocker should be able to identify adverts of different types such as pictures and banners that maybe placed on websites or videos that play when trying to watch another advert. Since there are already adblockers available I will spend time researching the techniques and algorithms that have previously been used to help identify adverts on a web page and begin to build my own method of detecting them. As websites are loaded on the client side of the browser, removing (blocking) adverts from the web page will likely just involve removing relevant HTML elements from the website.

Initial Plan (03/02/2020) [Zip Archive]

Final Report (15/05/2020) [Zip Archive]

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