List of hosts file resources for AdAway
List of hosts file resources for AdAway

Using AdAway on your Android phones it is very easy to block a set of URLs.

AdAway (available from F-Droid, source from GitHub) is an ad-blocker. The application basically maintains a list of resources containing lists to ad-servers, see figure for example, e.g.:

# dest ip   url
127.0.0.1   some.ad.server.com

This entry will redirect all traffic meant for some.ad.server.com to the server 127.0.0.1, which is your localhost. Entries from different resources are merged. Thus, all requests to typical ad-servers will fail → annoying advertisements won’t be delivered. It’s quite powerful and gives impressive results. However, I didn’t want to talk about ad-stuff. The cool thing is

AdAway allows for extensions with own hosts files!

You can simply add another link to a file containing further host entries. I created my own AdAway file, uploaded it to https://stuff.lesscomplex.org/adaway.txt and added it to AdAway, as you can see in the figure. The current version contains a few entries for:

  • facebook/yahoo/etc: I’m not using facebook or stuff, all these request shouldn’t leave my phone
  • captive portal detection: To detect captive portals the phone downloads a few bytes from a google server and checks if it is able to access the real internet or just a captive portal
  • swift key: I’m using swift key, but do not want it to communicate to the internet. Thus, I’m blocking a few URLs that swiftkey wants to talk to. As I’m already using a firewall this just adds another layer of privacy.

Feel free to use my “extension”, but I expect it to change over time. :)

Shortcomings

This method only works if applications load contents from URLs. As soon as the IPs are hard-coded the hosts file


Martin Scharm

stuff. just for the records.


Post a comment

read more about submitting comments