Rant: Adware, Online advertising, etc.

Discussion in 'Et Cetera, Et Cetera' started by Chuck64, Apr 3, 2006.

  1. Chuck64

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    Caution: Technology rant. If you don't know what a computer is or you don't get on the internet this thread isn't for you. If you have a social life, well, you wouldn't be here in the first place.

    <RANT>

    I just spent a considerable part of my weekend removing spyware and adware from my parents' computer, along with the now-almost-weekly reinstallation of her printer. I uninstalled 17 applications that contained spyware or adware or both. I removed most of these the last time the computer was running painfully slow - about six months ago. This particular computer was also "infected" with Sony's XCP Digital Rights Management rootkit - probably from the "Bette Midler Sings the Peggy Lee Songbook" album (Great album if you can get it without the copy protection). I didn't have time to research a safe way to remove it, so they'll just have to deal with that one until Easter weekend.

    Since I was a little frustrated by all the lost time that I could have wasted elsewhere, like posting here or playing Final Fantasy 11 or watching Smallville, I decided to start blocking all of the advertisements I could find.

    Well, I made the mistake of blocking the advertisements from Yahoo. This doesn't sound like it would be a problem, right? wrong. Yahoo is sneaky. They now serve out the scripts for their Yahoo! Mail pages from the same address. If you block the ad, all of the buttons stop working. You can't delete mail or mark it as SPAM or do anything else that requires you to click a button.

    As soon as I can redirect all of my important stuff - bank notifications and job search messages, I'll be switching permanently to GMail. At least Google has the balls to admit they're stockpiling data on everyone and everything and using it to personalize the ads, among other things. They may be evil, but they told the feds to fuck off. That's worth something.

    </RANT>

    I feel better now. :biggrin1:
     
  2. dolf250

    dolf250 New Member

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    I despise spywear as well. My favourite product is called spywear blaster. It is free and prevents spywear from being installed in the first place. It is not perfect, but if I update it once a week it makes removal of what gets through much easier (only a couple of items a week are not automatically screened out.) As for yahoo, that is a low trick on their part and I hope it looses them lots of customers.


    link: http://www.javacoolsoftware.com/spywareblaster.html
     
  3. Lex

    Lex
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    Sony has taken MAJOR Heat for embedding that spyware onto CDs.

    I use Zone Alarm, Ad Aware, Pest Patrol and use the AdBlock extension in Firefox to get rid of shit I find annoying on webpages. I don't use my yahoo account anymore, so I have not experienced that Chuck64. I will be mindful of that however.
     
  4. DC_DEEP

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    I do understand the music labels not wanting their products pirated, but the ways that they try to prevent it just really PISS ME OFF! A word of caution to any music fans out there: Only play your CDs in a CD player, never in your computer. The same, I suppose, for DVDs. Fortunately, on my Mac, most of those issues are moot, but I have no delusions that before long, and especially with the newer Intel-Macs, that the same problems will be plaguing me (my partner uses WinXP, so I have had to troubleshoot some of these problems.)


    Spyware and adware are especially insidious. We all, as consumers of computer hardware, software, and music & movies on CD & DVD, need to let the manufacturers know that these types of programs are just simply not acceptable.
     
  5. mindseye

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    Sony's release of XCP-infected discs was -- for me -- the straw that broke the camel's back. Even though none of my computers have Windows on them, I haven't bought a Sony CD since then; going so far as to mail-order a 'must-have' disc from overseas where the artist was on a different label.

    Chuck -- you didn't mention your parents' OS, but I'm inferring it's some form of Windows. You should consider editing their hosts file to block the worst of the adware/spyware sites; this is a good way to block these sites from your computer at a 'primitive' level before the anti-adware applications even get a chance to look at it.
     
  6. Pecker

    Pecker Retired Moderator
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    Since I installed Zone Alarm (free firewall) and Avast! (free anti-virus) I've had no malware get through at all. Just because I get periodically paranoid I'll run AdAware but it comes up with nothing to speak of.
     
  7. Lex

    Lex
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    using another browser not named Internet Explorer can be helpful as well.
     
  8. Chuck64

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    Yeah. I guess I left out some important info...
    The PC in about 7 years old, so it's plenty slow without help from spyware

    Windows XP Pro

    Microsoft Antispyware (Beta 1) - Excellent tool for preventing Homepage hijacking, unauthorized startup programs, and all sorts of other nasty stuff. The problem with it is that it prompts you for everything and my family just blindly clicks the "Allow" button.

    Grisoft AVG Free (antivirus) - It found stuff that Norton missed and it's free.

    We tried Ad-aware, but the computer is old and Ad-aware makes it impossible to use. Norton was also a system hog, but since it's not free, it stayed.

    Mindseye - I like your hosts file idea. At work back in the late 90's, we used a little Java app that let you right-click on an ad and block it, just like Firefox. It mapped that server's URL to localhost in the hosts file. Do you know where I can get a list of the major adware, spyware, and web page ad servers?

    Lex - I tried to go down the Firefox road with them, but they still click on the "big blue e for Internet"
     
  9. mindseye

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    Here are a couple of sources:

    http://www.mvps.org/winhelp2002/hosts.txt
    http://everythingisnt.com/hosts
    http://www.bluetack.co.uk/forums/index.php?showforum=65
     
  10. B_Stronzo

    B_Stronzo New Member

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    Norton's no good anymore. It's a memory hog. But you may need to increase your memory. If Norton slows down your speed any anti-virus program will.

    Best advice?

    Spend the money.

    Go buy Panda Virus Defense System version 2.0

    It's worth its weight in gold. No viruses, no adware, no spyware. Done.
     
  11. Chuck64

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    That PC is waaaay beyond just needing memory.

    Thanks for the info Mindseye.
     
  12. geitjeshoeder

    geitjeshoeder Active Member

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    I have worked a sys-op at a medium company. I had around 250 workstations and 10 servers to maintain.

    The 5 biggest weak points in windows are:

    1 The power-user and administrator:
    These users can install all kinds of software and have a direct acces to the registery. A lower class of user has to change to the power or admin user to install updates needed for security. It is very difficult to plan user policy in windows to such an extand that a system is 100% safe.

    2 Active-X and VBrun
    Visual Basic and Active-X are microsoft script executables which can easily be enbed within e-mails or office-documents.

    3 MSN Messenger
    The messenger function allows a lot of evil scripts to be executed

    4 Microsoft Exchange (any version)
    Microsoft Exchange is a crap email post office program, switch to a BSD server with postfix while you can

    5 the hosts. file
    A file located deep within windows, which can be altered to redirect domainname traffic to other ip adresses. Can be found in the \system32\drivers\etc directory.

    Microsoft should cram-in a user account with special level-acces for updates (Mac OS X for instance asks the admin password everytime an update is installed, it may look like some work, but it is way more safe then Windows)

    Second, all DNS services should be 2nd layer opun kernel tasks embedded in the registry and protected by a password. Not some dumb text file...

    NTFS should be traded in for HFS. HFS offers a better security for data and can handle bigger files faster.

    There has been a lot of debate about Mac OS X and it's safety. I can easily tell you that Mac OS X, just like the big bad server at your local bank runs on something called BSD or UNIX (or a Unix-like clone). Unix and Linux alike have an entire different approach to security. The main reason, in short, is that Windows was developed as a desktop/home operating system and that Unix was made for networks and has been around for ages doing just that.

    After my first year as a sysop, i became tired of the problems we had with the microsoft exchange software on the mailservers (it gave a lot of downtime). So i saved all the mail on a few big-ass BLT drives, formatted the mailservers and reinstalled them with RedHat Linux, enhanced with SElinux extensions. No downtime since the re-install in late 2002.


    Ps. to block the ads just point the domain the're at to 127.0.0.1 in the hosts. file (see above)

    for instance, don't know if it's the domain but:
    127.0.0.1 (tab) adserver.yahoo.com and
    127.0.0.1 (tab) buyviagra.com
    127.0.0.1 (tab) ad-domain.tld etc etc
     
  13. Shelby

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    If you don't mind spending the money fight viruses with NOD32 and protect yourself against spyware with Spy Sweeper by Webroot. Top rated products.

    If you want to go the free route, I like AVG antivirus and for spyware I run:
    Spywareblaster
    Spywareguard
    Spybot Search & Destroy
    Ad-aware
    Microsoft Beta
    Bazooka

    Running more than one antivirus program can cause problems as they sometimes tangle each other up but you can't seem to have enough antispyware.

    Lastly only use Internet Explorer if you have to. Otherwise use Firefox.

    A great resource. Sign up for their free newsletter.
     
  14. Pecker

    Pecker Retired Moderator
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    I use Opera for my browser. Fast as hell and it never locks up.
     
  15. B_Stronzo

    B_Stronzo New Member

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    Invest in a new one?:confused:
     
  16. Chuck64

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    Not my computer...
     
  17. Lex

    Lex
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    I have an older CPU that I handed down to my kids--its a 1999 Gateway with Windows 98 (I know, I know). I have it full of as much RAM As it can carry (398) and cleaned it up of everything before I gave it to them. I am about to upgrade to 2000 as soon as I get a chance (ME and XP won't fit).
     
  18. D_Elijah_MorganWood

    D_Elijah_MorganWood New Member

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    "Bette Midler Sings the Peggy Lee Songbook"

    Chuck, that's the gayest thing I've heard all day.

    Re: spyware...

    I'm pretty disgusted. I clean both of my computers regularly, especially when they slow to a crawl.

    I use Norton and Adaware. I have something additional on my home computer, I can't remember what it is. About a month ago I got the "your computer is being investigated, the following terms were found on your hard drive: lesbian, gay, anal, pussy, fuck.." etc. I don't think whatever it is really went away. Adaware didn't do anything to it.
     
  19. Chuck64

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    I think my parents are hoping for a hand-me-up soon... I pass on my old PCs long before they're useless to the average user. I've given away 3 computers to my siblings since high school, and two of them are still working just fine.
     
  20. findfirefox

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    Firefox- Screw Internet Explorer
    Symantec Norton Internet Security- Always used it, always will.
    Adaware- One of my favorite programs.
    Windows Defender- Eh, why not?
    Sence- Very important, don't click yes to everything!

    Thats how I run my computers. Also Windows starts to get bogged down and slows down over time, cleaning up can help, I recomend backing up your files and reformating your computer every so often... stupid MFST.
     
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