Pop Ups

Discussion in 'Windows XP Security' started by Guest, Aug 10, 2005.

  1. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Renetly I have been getting alot of pop ups and I get one advertising a
    casino which pops up quite alot and when I check my desktop it is full of
    unwanted icons for casino games and cell phone ring tones. I have spybot on
    my computer and run it very often as well as pop up blocker but nothing seems
    to work. Also at times my home page resets itself to search200.com. Any
    ideas on what program I should get or download to correct this issue?

    --
    Pixie Stix
     
    Guest, Aug 10, 2005
    #1
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  2. Pixie Stix wrote:
    > Renetly I have been getting alot of pop ups and I get one advertising
    > a casino which pops up quite alot and when I check my desktop it is
    > full of unwanted icons for casino games and cell phone ring tones. I
    > have spybot on my computer and run it very often as well as pop up
    > blocker but nothing seems to work. Also at times my home page resets
    > itself to search200.com. Any ideas on what program I should get or
    > download to correct this issue?


    You are not doing enough to protect yourself and you are using websites that
    are designed to infect you with such crap.
    Tip 10 should help you cleanup, although you may need to boot into Safe Mode
    for some cleanup. The rest (along with tip 10) will help you secure your
    system a little bit better to prevent it in the future.

    Microsoft has these suggestions for Protecting your computer from the
    various things that could happen to you/it:

    Protect your PC
    http://www.microsoft.com/security/protect/


    Although those tips are fantastic, there are many things you should
    know above and beyond what is there. Below I have detailed
    out many steps that can not only help you clean-up a problem PC but
    keep it clean ,secure and running at its top performance mark.

    I know this text can seem intimidating - it is quite long and a lot
    to take in for a novice - but I assure you that one trip through this
    list and you will understand your computer and the options available
    to you for protecting your data much better - and that the next time
    you review these steps, the time it takes will be greatly reduced.

    Let's take the cleanup of your computer step-by-step. Yes, it will take
    up some of your time - but consider what you use your computer
    for and how much you would dislike it if all of your stuff on your
    computer went away because you did not "feel like" performing some
    simple maintenance tasks - think of it like taking out your garbage,
    collecting and sorting your postal mail, paying your bills on time,
    etc.

    I'll mainly work around Windows XP, as that is what the bulk of this
    document is about; however, here is a place for you poor souls still
    stuck in Windows 98/ME where you can get information on maintaining
    your system:

    Windows 98 and 'Maintaining Your Computer':
    http://www.microsoft.com/windows98/usingwindows/maintaining/

    Windows ME Computer Health:
    http://www.microsoft.com/windowsME/using/computerhealth/articles/

    Pay close attention to the sections:
    (in order)
    - Clean up your hard disk
    - Check for errors by running ScanDisk
    - Defragment your hard disk
    - Roll back the clock with System Restore


    Also - now is a good time to point you to one of the easiest ways to find
    information on problems you may be having and solutions others have found:

    Search using Google!
    http://www.google.com/
    (How-to: http://www.google.com/intl/en/help/basics.html )


    Now, let's go through some maintenance first that should only have to be
    done once (mostly):

    Tip (1):
    Locate all of the software you have installed on your computer.
    (the installation media - CDs, downloaded files, etc)
    Collect these CDs and files together in a central and safe
    place along with their CD keys and such. Make backups of these
    installation media sets using your favorite copying method (CD/DVD Burner
    and application, Disk copier, etc.) You'll be glad to know that if you
    have a CD/DVD burner, you may be able to use a free application to make a
    duplicate copy of your CDs. One such application is ISORecorder:

    ISORecorder page (with general instructions on use):
    http://isorecorder.alexfeinman.com/beta.htm

    Yes - it is BETA software - but very useful and well tested.

    More full function applications (free) for CD/DVD burning would be:

    DeepBurner Free
    http://www.deepburner.com/

    CDBurnerXP Pro
    http://www.cdburnerxp.se/

    Another Option would be to search the web with Pricewatch.com or
    Dealsites.net and find deals on Products like Ahead Nero and/or Roxio.


    Tip (2):
    Empty your Temporary Internet Files and shrink the size it stores to a
    size between 128MB and 512MB..

    - Open ONE copy of Internet Explorer.
    - Select TOOLS -> Internet Options.
    - Under the General tab in the "Temporary Internet Files" section, do the
    following:
    - Click on "Delete Cookies" (click OK)
    - Click on "Settings" and change the "Amount of disk space to use:" to
    something between 128MB and 512MB. (Betting it is MUCH larger right
    now.)
    - Click OK.
    - Click on "Delete Files" and select to "Delete all offline contents"
    (the checkbox) and click OK. (If you had a LOT, this could take 2-10
    minutes or more.)
    - Once it is done, click OK, close Internet Explorer, re-open Internet
    Explorer.


    Tip (3):
    If things are running a bit sluggish and/or you have an older system
    (1.5GHz or less and 256MB RAM or less) then you may want to look into
    tweaking the performance by turning off some of the 'resource hogging'
    Windows XP "prettifications". The fastest method is:

    Control Panel --> System --> Advanced tab --> Performance section,
    Settings button. Then choose "adjust for best performance" and you
    now have a Windows 2000/98 look which turned off most of the annoying
    "prettifications" in one swift action. You can play with the last
    three checkboxes to get more of an XP look without many of the
    other annoyances. You could also grab and install/use one
    (or more) of the Microsoft Powertoys - TweakUI in particular:

    http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/downloads/powertoys/xppowertoys.mspx


    Tip (4):
    Understanding what a good password might be is vital to your
    personal and system security. You may think you do not need to password
    your home computer, as you may have it in a locked area (your home) where
    no one else has access to it. Remember, however, you aren't always
    "in that locked area" when using your computer online - meaning you likely
    have usernames and passwords associated with web sites and the likes that
    you would prefer other people do not discover/use. This is why you should
    understand and utilize good passwords.

    Good passwords are those that meet these general rules
    (mileage may vary):

    Passwords should contain at least six characters, and the character
    string should contain at least three of these four character types:
    - uppercase letters
    - lowercase letters
    - numerals
    - nonalphanumeric characters (e.g., *, %, &, !, :)

    Passwords should not contain your name/username.
    Passwords should be unique to you and easy to remember.

    One method many people are using today is to make up a phrase that
    describes a point in their life and then turning that phrase into their
    password by using only certain letters out of each word in that phrase.
    It's much better than using your birthday month/year or your anniversary
    in a pure sense. For example, let's say my phrase is:
    'Moved to new home in 2004'
    I could come up with this password from that:
    'Mv2n3whmN04'

    The password tip is in the one time section, but I highly
    recommend you periodically change your passwords. The suggested time
    varies, but I will throw out a 'once in every 3 to 6 months for
    every account you have.'


    Tip (5):
    This tip is also 'questionable' in the one time section; however -
    if properly setup - this one can be pretty well ignored for most people
    after the initial 'fiddle-with' time.

    Why you should use a computer firewall..
    http://www.microsoft.com/athome/security/viruses/fwbenefits.mspx

    You should, in some way, use a firewall. Hardware (like a nice
    Cable Modem/DSL router) or software is up to you. Many use both of
    these. The simplest one to use is the hardware one, as most people
    don't do anything that they will need to configure their NAT device
    for and those who do certainly will not mind fiddling with the equipment
    to make things work for them. Next in the line of simplicity would
    have to be the built-in Windows Firewall of Windows XP. In SP2 it
    is turned on by default. It is not difficult to turn on in any
    case, however:

    Enable/Disable the Internet Connection Firewall (Pre-SP2):
    http://support.microsoft.com/kb/283673

    More information on the Internet Connection Firewall (Pre-SP2):
    http://support.microsoft.com/kb/320855

    Post-SP2 Windows Firewall Information/guidance:
    http://snipurl.com/atal

    The trouble with the Windows Firewall is that it only keeps things
    out. For most people who maintain their system in other ways, this is
    MORE than sufficient. However, you may feel otherwise. If you want to
    know when one of your applications is trying to obtain access to the
    outside world so you can stop it, then you will have to install a
    third-party application and configure/maintain it. I have compiled a
    list with links of some of the better known/free firewalls you can choose
    from:

    BlackICE PC Protection (~$39.95 and up)
    http://blackice.iss.net/

    Jetico Personal Firewall (Free)
    http://www.jetico.com/index.htm#/jpfirewall.htm

    Kerio Personal Firewall (KPF) (Free and up)
    http://www.kerio.com/kpf_download.html

    Outpost Firewall from Agnitum (Free and up)
    http://www.agnitum.com/download/

    Sygate Personal Firewall (Free and up)
    http://smb.sygate.com/buy/download_buy.htm

    Symantec's Norton Personal Firewall (~$25 and up)
    http://www.symantec.com/sabu/nis/npf/

    ZoneAlarm (Free and up)
    http://snipurl.com/6ohg

    You should find the right firewall for your situation in that
    list and set it up.

    Every firewall WILL require some maintenance. Essentially checking for
    patches or upgrades (this goes for hardware and software solutions) is
    the extent of this maintenance - you may also have to configure your
    firewall to allow some traffic depending on your needs.

    ** Don't stack the software firewalls! Running more than one software
    firewall will not make you safer - it would possibly negate some
    protection you gleamed from one or the other firewall you run.


    Now that you have some of the more basic things down..
    Let's go through some of the steps you should take periodically to
    maintain a healthy and stable windows computer. If you have not
    done some of these things in the past, they may seem tedious - however,
    they will become routine and some can even be automatically scheduled.


    Tip (6):
    The system restore feature is a new one - first appearing in Windows
    ME and then sticking around for Windows XP. It is a useful feature
    if you keep it maintained and use it to your advantage. Remember that
    the system restore pretty much tells you in the name what it protects
    which is 'system' files. Your documents, your pictures, your stuff is
    NOT system files - so you should also look into some backup solution.

    I have seen the automatic system restore go wrong too many times not
    to suggest the following.. Whenever you think about it (after doing a
    once-over on your machine once a month or so would be optimal) - clear
    out your System Restore and create a manual restoration point.

    'Why?'

    Too many times have I seen the system restore files go corrupt or get
    a virus in them, meaning you could not or did not want to restore from
    them. By clearing it out periodically you help prevent any corruption
    from happening and you make sure you have at least one good "snapshot".
    (*This, of course, will erase any previous restore point you have.*)

    - Turn off System Restore.
    http://support.microsoft.com/kb/310405
    - Reboot the Computer.
    - Review the first bullet to turn on System Restore
    - Make a Manual Restoration Point.
    http://snipurl.com/68nx

    That covers your system files, but doesn't do anything for the files
    that you are REALLY worried about - yours! For that you need to look
    into backups. You can either manually copy your important files, folders,
    documents, spreadsheets, emails, contacts, pictures, drawings and so on
    to an external location (CD/DVD - any disk of some sort, etc) or you can
    use the backup tool that comes with Windows XP:

    How To Use Backup to Back Up Files and Folders on Your Computer
    http://support.microsoft.com/kb/308422

    Yes - you still need some sort of external media to store the results
    on, but you could schedule the backup to occur when you are not around,
    then burn the resultant data onto CD or DVD or something when you are
    (while you do other things!)

    A lot of people have wondered about how to completely backup their system
    so that they would not have to go through the trouble of a reinstall..
    I'm going to voice my opinion here and say that it would be worthless to
    do for MOST people. Unless you plan on periodically updating the image
    backup of your system (remaking it) - then by the time you use it
    (something goes wrong) - it will be so outdated as to be more trouble than
    performing a full install of the operating system and all applications.

    Having said my part against it, you can clone/backup your hard drive
    completely using many methods - by far the simplest are using disk cloning
    applications:

    Symantec/Norton Ghost
    http://www.symantec.com/sabu/ghost/

    Acronis True Image
    http://www.acronis.com/homecomputing/products/trueimage


    Tip (7):
    You should sometimes look through the list of applications that are
    installed on your computer. The list may surprise you. There are more
    than likely things in there you know you never use - so why have them
    there? There may even be things you know you did *not* install and
    certainly do not use (maybe don't WANT to use.)

    This web site should help you get started at looking through this list:

    How to Uninstall Programs
    http://snipurl.com/8v6b

    A word of warning - Do NOT uninstall anything you think you MIGHT need
    in the future unless you have completed Tip (1) and have the installation
    media and proper keys for use backed up somewhere safe!


    Tip (8):
    Patches and Updates!

    This one cannot be stressed enough. It is SO simple, yet so neglected
    by many people. It is especially simple for the critical Windows patches!
    Microsoft put in an AUTOMATED feature for you to utilize so that you do
    NOT have to worry yourself about the patching of the Operating System:

    How to configure and use Automatic Updates in Windows XP
    http://support.microsoft.com/kb/306525

    However, not everyone wants to be a slave to automation, and that is
    fine. Admittedly, I prefer this method on some of my more critical
    systems.

    Windows Update
    http://windowsupdate.microsoft.com/

    Go there and scan your machine for updates. Always get the critical ones
    as you see them. Write down the KB###### or Q###### you see when
    selecting the updates and if you have trouble over the next few days,
    go into your control panel (Add/Remove Programs), insure that the
    'Show Updates' checkbox is checked and match up the latest numbers you
    downloaded recently (since you started noticing an issue) and uninstall
    them. If there was more than one (usually is), uninstall them one by one
    with a few hours of use in between, to see if the problem returns.
    Yes - the process is not perfect (updating) and can cause trouble like I
    mentioned - but as you can see, the solution isn't that bad - and is
    MUCH better than the alternatives.

    Windows is not the only product you likely have on your PC. The
    manufacturers of the other products usually have updates. New versions
    of almost everything come out all the time - some are free, some are pay
    and some you can only download if you are registered - but it is best
    to check. Just go to their web pages and look under their support and
    download sections. For example, for Microsoft Office you should visit:

    Microsoft Office Updates
    http://office.microsoft.com/
    (and select 'Check for Updates' and/or 'Downloads' for more)

    You also have hardware on your machine that requires drivers to interface
    with the operating system. You have a video card that allows you to see on
    your screen, a sound card that allows you to hear your PCs sound output and
    so on. Visit those manufacturer web sites for the latest downloadable
    drivers for your hardware/operating system. Always get the manufacturers'
    hardware driver over any Microsoft offers. On the Windows Update site I
    mentioned earlier, I suggest NOT getting their hardware drivers - no matter
    how tempting.

    How do you know what hardware you have in your computer? Break out the
    invoice or if it is up and working now - take inventory:

    Belarc Advisor
    http://belarc.com/free_download.html

    EVEREST Home Edition
    http://www.lavalys.com/products/download.php?pid=1&lang=en

    Once you know what you have, what next? Go get the latest driver for your
    hardware/OS from the manufacturer's web page. For example, let's say you
    have an NVidia chipset video card or ATI video card, perhaps a Creative
    Labs sound card or C-Media chipset sound card...

    NVidia Video Card Drivers
    http://www.nvidia.com/content/drivers/drivers.asp

    ATI Video Card Drivers
    http://www.atitech.com/support/driver.html

    Creative Labs Sound Device
    http://us.creative.com/support/downloads/

    C-Media Sound Device
    http://www.cmedia.com.tw/e_download_01.htm

    Then install these drivers. Updated drivers are usually more stable and
    may provide extra benefits/features that you really wished you had before.

    As for Service Pack 2 (SP2) for Windows XP, Microsoft has made this
    particular patch available in a number of ways. First, there is the
    Windows Update web page above. Then there is a direct download site
    and finally, you can order the FREE CD from Microsoft.

    Direct Download of Service Pack 2 (SP2) for Windows XP
    http://snipurl.com/8bqy

    Order the Free Windows XP SP2 CD
    http://snipurl.com/8umo

    If all else fails - grab the full download above and try to use that.
    In this case - consider yourself a 'IT professional or developer'.


    Tip (9):
    What about the dreaded word in the computer world, VIRUS?

    Well, there are many products to choose from that will help you prevent
    infections from these horrid little applications. Many are FREE to the
    home user and which you choose is a matter of taste, really. Many people
    have emotional attachments or performance issues with one or another
    AntiVirus software. Try some out, read reviews and decide for yourself
    which you like more:

    ( Good Comparison Page for AV software: http://www.av-comparatives.org/ )

    AntiVir (Free and up)
    http://www.free-av.com/

    avast! (Free and up)
    http://www.avast.com/

    AVG Anti-Virus System (Free and up)
    http://free.grisoft.com/

    eset NOD32 (~$39.00 and up)
    http://www.eset.com/products/products.htm

    eTrust EZ Antivirus (~$29.95 and up)
    http://ca.com/store/home/us/hp2/

    Kaspersky Anti-Virus (~$49.95 and up)
    http://www.kaspersky.com/products.html

    McAfee VirusScan (~$11 and up)
    http://www.mcafee.com/

    Panda Antivirus Titanium (~$39.95 and up)
    http://www.pandasoftware.com/
    (Free Online Scanner: http://www.pandasoftware.com/activescan/)

    RAV AntiVirus Online Virus Scan (Free!)
    http://www.ravantivirus.com/scan/

    Symantec (Norton) AntiVirus (~$11 and up)
    http://www.symantec.com/nav/nav_9xnt/

    Trend Micro (~$49.95 and up)
    http://www.trendmicro.com/en/home/us/personal.htm
    (Free Online Scanner:
    http://housecall.trendmicro.com/housecall/start_corp.asp)


    Most of them have automatic update capabilities. You will have to
    look into the features of the one you choose. Whatever one you finally
    settle with - be SURE to keep it updated (I recommend at least daily) and
    perform a full scan periodically (yes, most protect you actively, but a
    full scan once a month at 4AM probably won't bother you.)


    Tip (10):
    The most rampant infestation at the current time concerns SPYWARE/ADWARE.
    You need to eliminate it from your machine.

    There is no one software that cleans and immunizes you against
    everything. Antivirus software - you only needed one. Firewall, you
    only needed one. AntiSpyware - you will need several. I have a list and
    I recommend you use at least the first five.

    First - make sure you have NOT installed "Rogue AntiSpyware". There are
    people out there who created AntiSpyware products that actually install
    spyware of their own! You need to avoid these:

    Rogue/Suspect Anti-Spyware Products & Web Sites
    http://www.spywarewarrior.com/rogue_anti-spyware.htm

    Also, you can always visit this site..
    http://mvps.org/winhelp2002/unwanted.htm
    For more updated information.

    Install the first five of these: (Install, Run, Update, Scan with..)
    (If you already have one or more - uninstall them and download the
    LATEST version from the page given!)

    Lavasoft AdAware (Free and up)
    http://www.lavasoft.de/support/download/
    (How-to: http://snipurl.com/atdn )

    Spybot Search and Destroy (Free!)
    http://www.safer-networking.net/en/download/index.html
    (How-to: http://snipurl.com/atdk )

    Bazooka Adware and Spyware Scanner (Free!)
    http://www.kephyr.com/spywarescanner/
    (How-to: http://snipurl.com/ate3 )

    SpywareBlaster (Free!)
    http://www.javacoolsoftware.com/sbdownload.html
    (How-to: http://snipurl.com/ate6 )

    IE-SPYAD2 (Free!)
    https://netfiles.uiuc.edu/ehowes/www/resource.htm
    (How-to: http://snipurl.com/ate7 )

    CWShredder Stand-Alone (Free!)
    http://www.intermute.com/spysubtract/cwshredder_download.html

    Hijack This! (Free!)
    http://www.spywareinfo.com/~merijn/downloads.html
    (Log Analyzer: http://hjt.iamnotageek.com/ )

    ToolbarCop (Free!)
    http://windowsxp.mvps.org/toolbarcop.htm

    Microsoft AntiSpyware BETA (in testing stages - Free!)
    http://www.microsoft.com/athome/security/spyware/software/
    (How-to: http://snipurl.com/fqur )

    Browser Security Tests (Free Tester)
    http://www.jasons-toolbox.com/BrowserSecurity/

    Popup Tester (Free Tester)
    http://www.popuptest.com/

    The Cleaner (~$49.95 and up)
    http://www.moosoft.com/

    Sometimes you need to install the application and reboot into SAFE MODE in
    order to thoroughly clean your computer. Many applications also have
    (or are) immunization applications. Spybot Search and Destroy and
    SpywareBlaster are two that currently do the best job at passively
    protecting your system from malware. None of these programs (in these
    editions) run in the background unless you TELL them to. The space they
    take up and how easy they are to use greatly makes up for any inconvenience
    you may be feeling.

    Please notice that Windows XP SP2 does help stop popups as well.

    Another option is to use an alternative Web browser. I suggest
    'Mozilla Firefox', as it has some great features and is very easy to use:

    Mozilla Firefox
    http://www.mozilla.org/products/firefox/


    So your machine is pretty clean and up to date now. If you use the sections
    above as a guide, it should stay that way as well! There are still a few
    more things you can do to keep your machine running in top shape.


    Tip (11):
    You should periodically check your hard drive(s) for errors and defragment
    them. Only defragment after you have cleaned up your machine of
    outside parasites and never defragment as a solution to a quirkiness in
    your system. It may help speed up your system, but it should be clean
    before you do this. Do these things IN ORDER...

    How to use Disk Cleanup
    http://support.microsoft.com/kb/310312

    How to scan your disks for errors
    http://support.microsoft.com/kb/315265

    How to Defragment your hard drives
    http://support.microsoft.com/kb/314848

    I would personally perform the above steps at least once every three months.
    For most people this should be sufficient, but if the difference you notice
    afterwards is greater than you think it should be, lessen the time in
    between its schedule.. If the difference you notice is negligible, you can
    increase the time.


    Tip (12):
    SPAM! JUNK MAIL!
    This one can get annoying, just like the rest. You get 50 emails in one
    sitting and 2 of them you wanted. NICE! (Not.) What can you do? Well,
    although there are services out there to help you, some email
    servers/services that actually do lower your spam with features built into
    their servers - I still like the methods that let you be the end-decision
    maker on what is spam and what is not. I have two products to suggest to
    you, look at them and see if either of them suite your needs. Again, if
    they don't, Google is free and available for your perusal.

    SpamBayes (Free!)
    http://spambayes.sourceforge.net/

    Spamihilator (Free!)
    http://www.spamihilator.com/

    As I said, those are not your only options, but are reliable ones I have
    seen function for hundreds+ people.


    Tip (13):
    ADVANCED TIP! Only do this once you are comfortable under the hood of your
    computer!

    There are lots of services on your PC that are probably turned on by default
    you don't use. Why have them on? Check out these web pages to see what all
    of the services you might find on your computer are and set them according
    to your personal needs. Be CAREFUL what you set to manual, and take heed
    and write down as you change things! Also, don't expect a large performance
    increase or anything - especially on today's 2+ GHz machines, however - I
    look at each service you set to manual as one less service you have to worry
    about someone exploiting.

    Configuring Services
    http://snakefoot.fateback.com/tweak/winnt/services.html

    Task List Programs
    http://www.answersthatwork.com/Tasklist_pages/tasklist.htm

    Processes in Windows NT/2000/XP
    http://www.reger24.de/prozesse/

    There are also applications that AREN'T services that startup when you start
    up the computer/logon. One of the better description on how to handle these
    I have found here:

    Startups
    http://www.pacs-portal.co.uk/startup_content.php


    If you follow the advice laid out above (and do some of your own research as
    well, so you understand what you are doing) - your computer will stay fairly
    stable and secure and you will have a more trouble-free system.

    --
    Shenan Stanley
    MS-MVP
    --
    How To Ask Questions The Smart Way
    http://www.catb.org/~esr/faqs/smart-questions.html
     
    Shenan Stanley, Aug 10, 2005
    #2
  3. Guest

    Guest Guest

    To quickly solve this problem try Microsoft AntiSpyware Beta1.
    After having installed the latest Updates you can use the
    "Browser Hijacking Settings Restore" (Tools>>Advanced Tools)
    Having done so you can enable "Realtime Protection" that keeps you
    protected of future Browser Hijacking. Please run a full system scan to
    find and quarantine all infected items on your computer.
    --
    Ruben Sutter
     
    Guest, Aug 10, 2005
    #3
  4. Pixie Stix wrote:
    > Renetly I have been getting alot of pop ups and I get one advertising a
    > casino which pops up quite alot and when I check my desktop it is full of
    > unwanted icons for casino games and cell phone ring tones. I have spybot on
    > my computer and run it very often as well as pop up blocker but nothing seems
    > to work. Also at times my home page resets itself to search200.com. Any
    > ideas on what program I should get or download to correct this issue?
    >



    What specific kind of pop-ups are you seeing? There are at least
    three varieties of pop-ups, and the solutions vary accordingly.

    1) Does the title bar of these pop-ups read "Messenger Service?"

    This type of spam has become quite common over the couple of
    years, and unintentionally serves as a valid security "alert." It
    demonstrates that you haven't been taking sufficient precautions while
    connected to the Internet. Your data probably hasn't been compromised
    by these specific advertisements, but if you're open to this exploit,
    you may well be open to other threats, such as the Blaster Worm that
    swept across the Internet last year and the currently active Sasser
    Worm. Install and use a decent, properly configured firewall.
    (Merely disabling the messenger service, as some people recommend,
    only hides the symptom, and does little or nothing to truly secure
    your machine.) And ignoring or just "putting up with" the security
    gap represented by these messages is particularly foolish.

    Messenger Service of Windows
    http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=KB;en-us;168893

    Messenger Service Window That Contains an Internet Advertisement
    Appears
    http://support.microsoft.com/?id=330904

    Stopping Advertisements with Messenger Service Titles
    http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/pro/using/howto/communicate/stopspam.asp

    Blocking Ads, Parasites, and Hijackers with a Hosts File
    http://www.mvps.org/winhelp2002/hosts.htm

    Oh, and be especially wary of people who advise you to do nothing
    more than disable the messenger service. Disabling the messenger
    service, by itself, is a "head in the sand" approach to computer
    security. The real problem is not the messenger service pop-ups;
    they're actually providing a useful, if annoying, service by acting as
    a security alert. The true problem is the unsecured computer, and
    you've been advised to merely turn off the warnings. How is this
    helpful?

    2) For regular Internet pop-ups, you might try the free 12Ghosts
    Popup-killer from http://12ghosts.com/ghosts/popup.htm, Pop-Up Stopper
    from http://www.panicware.com/, or the Google Toolbar from
    http://toolbar.google.com/. Alternatively, you can upgrade your WinXP
    to SP2, to install IE's pop-up blocker. Another alternative would be
    to use another browser, such as Mozilla or Firefox, which has pop-up
    blocking capabilities. (But I'd avoid Netscape; it carries too much
    extraneous AOL garbage.)

    3) To deal with pop-ups caused by any sort of "adware" and/or
    "spyware,"such as Gator, Comet Cursors, Xupiter, Bonzai Buddy, or
    KaZaA, and their remnants, that you've deliberately (but without
    understanding the consequences) installed, two products that are
    quite effective (at finding and removing this type of scumware) are
    Ad-Aware from www.lavasoft.de and SpyBot Search & Destroy from
    www.safer-networking.org/. Both have free versions. It's even
    possible to use SpyBot Search & Destroy to "immunize" your system
    against most future intrusions. I use both and generally perform
    manual scans every week or so to clean out cookies, etc.

    Additionally, manual removal instructions for the most common
    varieties of scumware are available here:

    PC Hell Spyware and Adware Removal Help
    http://www.pchell.com/support/spyware.shtml

    More information and assistance is available at these sites:

    Blocking Ads, Parasites, and Hijackers with a Hosts File
    http://www.mvps.org/winhelp2002/hosts.htm

    The Parasite Fight
    http://www.aumha.org/a/parasite.htm

    Neither adware nor spyware, collectively known as scumware,
    magically install themselves on anyone's computer. They are almost
    always deliberately installed by the computer's user, as part of some
    allegedly "free" service or product.

    While there are some unscrupulous malware distributors out there,
    who do attempt to install and exploit malware without consent, the
    majority of them simply rely upon the intellectual laziness and
    gullibility of the average consumer, counting on them to quickly click
    past the EULA in his/her haste to get the latest in "free" cutesy
    cursors, screensavers, "utilities," and/or wallpapers.

    If you were to read the EULAs that accompany, and to which the
    computer user must agree before the download/installation of the
    "screensaver" continues, most adware and spyware, you'll find that
    they _do_ have the consumer's permission to do exactly what they're
    doing. In the overwhelming majority of cases, computer users have no
    one to blame but themselves.

    There are several essential components to computer security: a
    knowledgeable and pro-active user, a properly configured firewall,
    reliable and up-to-date antivirus software, and the prompt repair (via
    patches, hotfixes, or service packs) of any known vulnerabilities.

    The weakest link in this "equation" is, of course, the computer
    user. No software manufacturer can -- nor should they be expected
    to -- protect the computer user from him/herself. All too many people
    have bought into the various PC/software manufacturers marketing
    claims of easy computing. They believe that their computer should be
    no harder to use than a toaster oven; they have neither the
    inclination or desire to learn how to safely use their computer. All
    too few people keep their antivirus software current, install patches
    in a timely manner, or stop to really think about that cutesy link
    they're about to click.

    Firewalls and anti-virus applications, which should always be used
    and should always be running, are important components of "safe hex,"
    but they cannot, and should not be expected to, protect the computer
    user from him/herself. Ultimately, it is incumbent upon each and
    every computer user to learn how to secure his/her own computer.


    To learn more about practicing "safe hex," start with these links:

    Protect Your PC
    http://www.microsoft.com/security/protect/default.asp

    Home Computer Security
    http://www.cert.org/homeusers/HomeComputerSecurity/

    List of Antivirus Software Vendors
    http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;49500

    Home PC Firewall Guide
    http://www.firewallguide.com/

    Scumware.com
    http://www.scumware.com/



    --

    Bruce Chambers

    Help us help you:
    http://dts-l.org/goodpost.htm
    http://www.catb.org/~esr/faqs/smart-questions.html

    You can have peace. Or you can have freedom. Don't ever count on having
    both at once. - RAH
     
    Bruce Chambers, Aug 11, 2005
    #4

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