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The CIA and NSA use ad-blockers because they’re just as vulnerable as you are

Online advertisements have become so dangerous that even the U.S. Intelligence Community blocks them.

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Image: Unsplash

For many people, having an ad-blocker can help get rid of annoying ads that tend to pop up and take over the screen when browsing the web. As it turns out, ad-blocking is actually a good idea for other reasons, and the majority of the U.S. Intelligence Community (IC) utilizes ad-blocker to protect themselves from hackers.

According to a new report from VICE, the IC, which consists of the DEA, NSA, and various other alphabet intelligence agencies, is a very strong advocate of ad-blocking technology. In fact, most intelligence agencies had installed some form of ad-blocker to help protect from malicious threats, according to a letter that the IC shared with Motherboard.

The letter, which was from Federal Chief Information Officer Clare Martorana, urged other federal agencies to utilize ad-blocking technology, reiterating a statement from the NSA in 2018.

So how does ad-blocking protect from malicious attacks online? The real problem lies with the opaque and obscure digital ad delivery network. Malicious actors are able to disguise themselves as reputable businesses that purchase ad space.

Because the network is so complex, it is nearly impossible to identify all of the bad actors that try to get their “ads” placed on the website. Then all it takes is for a user to click on what they thought was an advertisement, and hackers can gain access to whatever information they want from the user.

The fact that the majority of the IC is on board with ad-blocking should help shed some light on the potential dangers online. What may seem like an ad for a product you are interested in always has the potential to be dangerous.

Have any thoughts on this? Let us know down below in the comments or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.

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Staff writer at KnowTechie. Alex has two years of experience covering all things technology, from video games to electric cars. He's a gamer at heart, with a passion for first-person shooters and expansive RPGs. Shoot him an email at

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