EasyList has been hit by a flood of very unusual traffic which is providing a problem for the community run project.
a Mail (Opens in a new tab) from AdGuard, and Ad blocker which uses its own filter list, claimed that since EasyList is used by 99.9% of all ad blockers, most users of these tools will also be affected.
a This is a comprehensive list of pop-up ads, trackers, and the like that ad blockers use to decide what to block and what to filter. An EasyList variant is a simple text file hosted on its own domain that an ad blocker periodically grabs for updates. However, it allegedly takes more than five minutes to download, due to a 10-20-fold increase in daily traffic that started earlier this month.
AdGuard mentioned in its post that it had the same problem last year, and assumed it stems from some browsing apps on Android devices in India. An apparent design flaw in these apps meant that they were trying to access the AdGuard filter menu every time they started (it happens frequently on Android devices), even when running in the background.
AdGuard’s solution was to block traffic coming from this Browserbut they claim that they still release over 100 terabytes of denied pages per month.
No support for EasyList
AdGuard claims that the EasyList problem is worse, however, unlike AdGuard, it cannot get any support from its hosting site, cloudto block these requests. AdGuard believes that this is due to the fact that it does not have an Enterprise account, which is the highest subscription level available for the service.
When EasyList contacted CloudFlare support, the email response stated that increased traffic resulted in a distributed denial of service (DDoSMitigation, CloudFlare’s security protocol that the company claims intelligently filters large amounts of traffic and breaks it down into manageable chunks to prevent denial of service.
The email also mentioned that EasyList was already in violation of the Terms of Service (ToS), as the company does not allow text file requests. The company suggested that EasyList would have to move the file to another subdomain to make it available to its users.
The result is that EasyList is throttled and no ad blocker can access the filter list directly. AdGuard believes the only option is for EasyList to change its domain name, as disabled browser apps will continue to run DDoS as long as the original easylist.to list is still in use. However, he warns that this is not an easy process and will have an additional impact on the expected thousands of open source projects currently using EasyList.
AdGuard states that all filter lists are hosted on its own domain, so users should not be affected.
Users of other software may be fine as well, as they may have already switched to using an inverted domain from which EasyList can be accessed. However, AdGuard warns that faulty browsers may eventually start to opt out of these as well and repeat the problem again.
Previously, AdGuard had tried to contact the developers of a faulty browser to let them know about the problem, but claimed that the problem had already worsened after doing so – indicating that there may be more faulty browsers.