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Beyond Antivirus

How to disable annoying web browser push ads

As more and more users online equip their browsers with ad blockers, advertisers are looking for new ways to invade screen real estate for user attention. One such way that is being abused in 2020, is through browser push notifications. 

At TotalAV tech support we frequently encounter users mistaking these notifications for pop-ups. Typically, websites that offer news or regular blog updates pop-up once asking if the website can send notifications - it is very easy to mistake this dialogue box as something related to the browser itself and instinctively click Allow.

Having allowed notifications from a website, “pop-ups” begin appearing in the bottom or top right of the screen each time the website publishes a new article, blog post or piece of content. However, this system is being abused and certain websites are serving up more sinister content in these notifications - content that implies something is wrong with the computer, something to do with antivirus, or something wrong with Windows or the web browser. These links often lead to websites serving malicious downloads and viruses.

This is a worrying trend in the threat landscape, and something we are combating with our WebShield technology.

Our Safe Site browser extension for Google Chrome blocks these notification alerts appearing in the first place, so we highly recommend that for a distraction-free browsing experience.


 

As seen in the screenshot above, Safe Site for Chrome also has a quick link to Manage any notifications already allowed and disable them if required.

Chrome

  • Click the three dots overflow button in the top right-hand corner of a Chrome window
  • In the menu, click Settings 
  • Under Privacy and Security, click Site settings
  • On this page, click Notifications
  • By default, the switch is set to Ask before sending (recommended), but it can be moved to Block if you wish to block notifications completely

The proceeding lists of websites appearing under the headings Block and Allow can be altered. Clicking the 3 dot icon next to a listing provides options to remove from the list it is currently in or block or allow. 


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Chrome (Android)

  • Click the three dots overflow button in the top right-hand corner of the Chrome app
  • In the menu, tap Settings
  • Tap Notifications 
  • Tap From websites
  • By default, the switch is set to Sites can ask to send notifications, but it can be moved to Block if you wish to block notifications completely

The proceeding lists of websites appearing under the headings Blocked and Allowed can be altered. Tapping a listed website, then tapping Notifications provides an option to block or allow.

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Firefox

  • Click the three horizontal line overflow button in the top right-hand corner of a Firefox window
  • In the menu, click Options
  • On the sidebar, click Privacy & Security
  • Scroll down to the Permissions section and click on the Notification Settings… button
  • In the dialogue box, put a check next to Block new requests asking to allow notifications 

The list of websites displayed in this dialogue box have previously prompted to display notifications, the notification preference to allow or block can be changed by clicking the drop-down.

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Edge

  • Click the three dots overflow button in the top right-hand corner of an Edge window
  • In the menu, click Settings
  • Click Advanced in the sidebar
  • Click the button labelled Manage Permissions
  • Any sites listed have been granted permission to send notifications, hover over them to reveal an ‘x’ to remove or click Clear all at the top
  • For more information & to Install! Click Here

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Safari

  • Launch Safari
  • Click Safari on the Menu bar, then in the menu select Preferences
  • Click the Websites tab
  • In the sidebar, click Notifications
  • Any websites with permissions to send notifications will be listed, to remove a website's permission, select it, then click the Remove button 

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We would recommend disabling these notifications altogether. Especially if it is a shared computer where other users may not be savvy in determining a malicious notification. Always think twice before clicking Allow on these notifications or any dialogue/pop-up message.

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