App of the month: Building your own internet fortress

No-one would doubt that somewhere on the internet, too many people know more about us than we would like.

Nothing illicit or illegal you understand – unless you are involved in questionable and nefarious activities, but that’s not our business.

What we’re looking at are the people who are spying on your internet browsing history, and using it to bombard you with adverts and pop-ups every time you open a browser.

For iPhone users familiar with browsing using Safari, it doesn’t have to be this way. 1Blocker X is a rebuilt version of an app that’s been around for iPhone users since 2015, that’s come back as its more powerful and tougher brother.

It might seem straightforward enough to block ads, but there are a lot of possible permutations, though 1Blocker X has them covered. The original version had 50,000 blocking rules, which might seem a lot, but wasn’t really, as users began to find soon after the product launch.

The X version has 120,000 rules, which can be configured in the app on screen, once you’ve turned on the app in your Settings window.

Interesting and useful features are the ability to prevent cross-site tracking, and fraudulent web site warnings. This latter feature is a particularly useful one, given that the weakest part of any IT system is operating the keyboard. A warning coming up could be a timely bit of assistance, especially when you think that a disproportionate number of people getting onto the wrong web sites are in senior positions, and ought to know better…

The app takes care of its blocking role across all synched devices, but allows flexibility of just what gets blocked, so isn’t a ‘one size fits all’ solution. That’s a good thing. It allows users to take a considered approach, because it may be that in some instances they need to see some of the blockable content. For instance, it might be helpful to see the comment thread on a news story – after all, it would be wrong to condemn the right to free speech. Also worthy of consideration is that with some content blocked, the bandwidth available to any app will grow, so pages and downloads ought to load faster, in turn leading to the ability to do more with one battery charge.

One thing we’re not sure about is if this particular blocker is able to filter out ‘fake news’, but it would be a powerful tool indeed if it could guarantee to do that!