April 4, 2005 5:14 PM PDT

Firefox improves pop-up ad blocking

The Mozilla Foundation has developed a beta patch for the Firefox browser that it claims improves the blocking of pop-up ads.

The popular open-source browser already contains a pop-up blocker by default, but this does not handle pop-ups launched by plug-ins such as Flash and Java. Mozilla employee Asa Dotzler wrote in his blog last week that Mozilla developers are responding to the increasing number of advertisers that are using plug-ins to launch pop-up ads.

"A lot of people have been reporting a new breed of pop-ups on the Web," Dotzler said. "This increasing menace is rooted in the pop-up capabilities of plug-ins like Flash and Java. If you're seeing pop-ups and pop-unders, you're probably visiting sites that have Flash or other plug-ins and those plug-ins are being exploited by advertisers to abuse you with annoying pop-ups and pop-unders."

Firefox 1.0 can block pop-ups launched by plug-ins, but this feature is disabled in the default set-up because it would affect Web sites that rely on plug-in triggered pop-ups for legitimate functionality, according to Dotzler. The beta patch resolves this issue by enabling users to whitelist sites where pop-ups are needed.

The beta patch has been packaged as a Firefox extension, called PopupsDie, and can be downloaded for testing here.

Ingrid Marson of ZDNet UK reported from London.

5 comments

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You can block that type of popup already...
In the address field type:
about:config
Then right click and select new integer, give it the name:
privacy.popups.disable_from_plugins
And the value 2

I can't remember where I got this from, but thank you whoever you are. it seems to work fine for me no complaints and I don't seem to miss anything...
Posted by stevejobless (40 comments )
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sure you not mistaken
You workaround you type seems to block "plugin" pop-up, which the story says is already blocked. The story is about blocking Java and Flash pop-up.
Posted by nmcphers (261 comments )
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Yeah, but most don't know that.
The biggest real threat things like Firefox pose to Microsoft is in these programs building trust among common users. Right now mostly the tech savvy among us use Firefox and such. But it simply a matter of time before the user base bleeds over into the mainstream population.

Will hackers attack it? Sure, but ultimately, I suspect IE will remain the target. After all, whats more fun, attacking nice folks, or doing what some will perceive to be assisting in taking down the goliath in Redmond?

In any case, the Abe Vigoda Status extension are all I need to know Firefox will prove a bigger cult icon than even the iPod.
Posted by NWLB (326 comments )
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Warning !
This popup blocker is a bit overzealous.

It prevents far too many sites from working correctly.

I uninstalled it for now.

At least, it should warn the user the first time it blocks a popup from one script and / or one domain, offering the always block / always allow / allow just this one / block just this one options.

Maybe it's the particular mix of sites I visit, but in my experience, the standard Mozilla/Firefox popup blocker catches almost all popups and constitutes a more balanced way to deal with the problem.
Posted by My-Self (242 comments )
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