Block Me If You Can: A Large-Scale Study of Tracker-Blocking Tools

G. Merzdovnik, M. Huber, D. Buhov, N. Nikiforakis, S. Neuner, M Schmiedecker, E. Weippl:
"Block Me If You Can: A Large-Scale Study of Tracker-Blocking Tools";
Vortrag: 2nd IEEE European Symposium on Security and Privacy (EuroS&P), Paris, France; 26.04.2017 - 28.04.2017; in:"Proceedings of the 2nd IEEE European Symposium on Security and Privacy (Euro S&P)", (2017).

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Abstract:


In this paper, we quantify the effectiveness of thirdparty
tracker blockers on a large scale. First, we analyze the
architecture of various state-of-the-art blocking solutions and
discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each method.
Second, we perform a two-part measurement study on the
effectiveness of popular tracker-blocking tools. Our analysis
quantifies the protection offered against trackers present on
more than 100,000 popular websites and 10,000 popular Android
applications. We provide novel insights into the ongoing
arms race between trackers and developers of blocking tools
as well as which tools achieve the best results under what
circumstances. Among others, we discover that rule-based
browser extensions outperform learning-based ones, trackers
with smaller footprints are more successful at avoiding being
blocked, and CDNs pose a major threat towards the future of
tracker-blocking tools.
Overall, the contributions of this paper advance the field
of web privacy by providing not only the largest study to
date on the effectiveness of tracker-blocking tools, but also by
highlighting the most pressing challenges and privacy issues of
third-party tracking.