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Tech: Infuriatingly persistent pop-up ads

Don Firth 17 Feb 14 - 05:18 PM
maeve 17 Feb 14 - 05:23 PM
Don Firth 17 Feb 14 - 07:59 PM
JohnInKansas 18 Feb 14 - 03:35 AM
maeve 18 Feb 14 - 05:59 AM
maeve 18 Feb 14 - 06:22 AM
Jack Campin 18 Feb 14 - 08:27 AM
Acme 18 Feb 14 - 09:32 AM
GUEST 18 Feb 14 - 03:00 PM
Gurney 18 Feb 14 - 03:03 PM
meself 18 Feb 14 - 03:40 PM
Gurney 19 Feb 14 - 02:43 PM
GUEST,.gargoyle 19 Feb 14 - 07:58 PM
Don Firth 20 Feb 14 - 02:42 PM
Gurney 20 Feb 14 - 03:47 PM
JohnInKansas 20 Feb 14 - 04:42 PM
Gurney 23 Feb 14 - 03:26 PM
GUEST 05 Mar 14 - 02:42 PM
Gurney 05 Mar 14 - 03:07 PM
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Subject: Tech: Infuriatingly persistent pop-up ads
From: Don Firth
Date: 17 Feb 14 - 05:18 PM

For the past week or so, I have been plagued by a series of pop-up ads for a "service" called "JustCloud." If you sign up of it, it allows you to store all your computer data in "The Cloud," so if anything happens to your computer, your data is safe.

All well and good. But I bought myself a 1-terabyte external hard disk some time back and I back up my data regularly on that. So I'm covered. I don't need the services of "JustCloud" (out there where some enterprising hacker can get at it!).

When their pop-up ads became so obtrusive that they could no longer be ignored, I Googled them, and their web site gives no e-mail address. I found several discussion groups reviewing JustCloud, and the majority opinion was that it was a rip-off. You get a minimal amount of cloud storage for free, but if you need more, which you invariably will, they will charge you an arm and a leg for it! The word was "Don't!!"

The last few days, I have not been able to get into my e-mail because once I go to my in-box, the first thing that confronts me is a pop-up that blocks much of the reading space. I "X" it off, start to open my first e-mail, and--bang!--it's back! This happens three or four times, then I'm hit with a full screen pop-up! I can't back out of it. The left-pointing arrow in the upper left corner is dark, and if I click the " X" in the upper right corner, I'm out of Earthlink entirely and back to my opening screen. Necessitating that I sign in yet again!

And 'round and 'round we go!!

I had "AdBlocker" on my previous computer, and this morning I tried to download it on this computer, but all I got when I tried to go to their web site was "This page is not available."

I'm about ready to commit mayhem!! Does anyone have any suggestions?

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Tech: Infuriatingly persistent pop-up ads
From: maeve
Date: 17 Feb 14 - 05:23 PM

Don, try this link (Firefox version of Adblock Plus):
https://adblockplus.org/en/firefox


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Subject: RE: Tech: Infuriatingly persistent pop-up ads
From: Don Firth
Date: 17 Feb 14 - 07:59 PM

Thanks for the effort, Maeve, but I'm afraid I ran into a brick wall. I use Earthlink as my browser, and moving to a different browser would cause all sorts of problems. I did find Ad Aware for Earthlink, tried that, and wound up having to take my computer back to a restore point (last week) to get rid of it and the mess it made (completely blocked me from my e-mail box!). I'm back to "normal" now, but still having to deal with JustCloud.

Some years back, you could put your telephone number on the Attorney General's "Don't Call List," and if some telephone solicitor did call you, you could report them and the A.G. would smack them upside the head! With all kinds of cable and dish services these days, that's by the board now, so Barbara and I check the "caller ID" before answering the phone. If it's a number we don't recognize, we let it go to the answering machine.

Does anyone know if there is some agency similar to A.G.'s "Don't Call List" for internet users, to deal with the kind of persistent pop-up ads that practically render your computer useless for using the web?

I don't really mind running into ads (well--), but it's the nastily intrusive pop-ups like JustCloud that really get up my nose!

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Tech: Infuriatingly persistent pop-up ads
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 18 Feb 14 - 03:35 AM

While there are other methods, the majority of popups that I've seen that were annoying enough to require investigation were called by JScripts. Turning off Java in your browser, or removing it entirely, might help (???).

The US Federal "Do Not Call List" isn't really very effective, since they don't have the manpower (or brainpower) to investigate any of the "nuisance" violators, and only try to control those that (a) cost people lots of money or (b) offend multiple large corporations. And most of the most offensive ones are located in countries where the US has no jurisdiction to prosecute, even if they can identify the responsible assholes.

Most browsers allow you to block individual websites (or to grant an "always allow" status to ones like mudcat). This is also only "sometimes effective" and does require that you identify the site that the popups come from. In IE, the "Sites" button is in Tools|Internet Options on the Privacy tab but it could be almost anywhere in other browsers.

Your indication that you can't access the adblocker site, and/or that the version you want didn't install after you started seeing these, suggests that this particular popup is a true instance of malware. Even if you AV is a good one, you might want to get a "remote scan" from at least one (or more) other AV provider(s) to see whether you need some serious cleanup.

Cloud storage is (IMO) no more secure than my own 6 TB of hard drives (I keep redundant backups of 3 machines), partly because it should be obvious that I have almost nothing worth stealing, while the Cloud sites are VERY BIG TARGETS where the guy next door to you in the cloud has stuff worth hacking into and they'll get yours (or obliterate it) when they steal his.

John


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Subject: RE: Tech: Infuriatingly persistent pop-up ads
From: maeve
Date: 18 Feb 14 - 05:59 AM

Hi, Don. When you mentioned "Earthlink" (a server) did you meant to say "Internet Explorer" (a browser, as is Firefox)? If so, there is now an IE extension for Adblock Plus.
https://adblockplus.org/releases/adblock-plus-10-for-internet-explorer-released

And of course, John is right- you may need to used a malware detector to shovel out something noxious that is hiding on your computer. https://www.malwarebytes.org/

If these aren't helpful, at least this post will keep your request under the spotlight.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Infuriatingly persistent pop-up ads
From: maeve
Date: 18 Feb 14 - 06:22 AM

Looks like you have figured things out, Don. Ignore my post... except you may still find Malwarebytes useful to get rid of of JustCloud- I don't know.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Infuriatingly persistent pop-up ads
From: Jack Campin
Date: 18 Feb 14 - 08:27 AM

From a bit of googling it seems that Earthlink provide their own proprietary browser when you subscribe, but once you've got your account set up you can use whatever browser you like instead.

It's been so long since I heard anyone mention Earthlink anywhere that I assumed they'd gone bust years ago. They used to have a good Usenet service but I haven't seen a Usenet post from there in ages.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Infuriatingly persistent pop-up ads
From: Acme
Date: 18 Feb 14 - 09:32 AM

Don,

Earthlink is an internet provider I used for a long time, but I never used their in-house browser because I got tired of their own ads. You may have to simply bite the bullet and switch to Chrome or Firefox or IE.

I have several browsers installed and use different browsers for different reasons. And I use ad blocking software with all of them, though it is less effective in some (I still see types of ads on IE that I don't see in Chrome or Firefox, for example, but there are some websites I always launch in IE because it is more robust at blocking other types of ads. You learn what sites look best in different browsers).

You should be able to export your favorites from Earthlink to a file, or even better, if you download a new browser like Chrome (from Google) then it may ask to import favorites or bookmarks. Or you can later go in manually and ask it to import your favorites. I think you need to bail on the house browser because it probably isn't nearly as robust as one of the freestanding ones, and there probably aren't as many useful addons designed for it. I have a friend who still uses AOL for his email and browser and he is always having problems with the AOL browser, another in-house design. Earthlink and AOL browsers are very 1998.

To find your favorites, go to the Start button, and on the far left side click on C: under Computer. From there on the right part of that screen you'll see Users. Click on Users and you will probably see something like

Default
DefaultAppPool
Don
Public

Click on your name and then in the resulting list you should see a folder called favorites that is just that - all of your favorites - arranged in folders if that's how you keep them (that's how I organize them.) You can direct your browsers to load that information and you're good to go.


Meanwhile, next time you get a popup, RESIST HITTING THE RED X. The folks pushing that ad have reprogrammed the functions of that button and it instead tells your computer you give permission to load more of their crap. To get rid of this (or any) unwanted popup or browser window move your mouse over the bottom bar, right click the mouse, and you should see "Start Task Manager." Click on that, and go the "applications" tab. You'll see everything that is running, and you can select the Earthlink browser and close it from there, and then you won't be booby-trapped by the altered popup screen.

Another way to bring up task manager is to do the Control + Alt + Delete button move, and when Windows brings up the start screen with options you'll again see "Start Task Manager."   

The thing I like about Chrome is that when you log on (with a gmail address) then it saves all of your settings. I have Google set with two-step authentication so on a new computer I have to use a code from my phone authenticator (yes, I know it sounds fussy, but it stops someone else from signing on to my account) or using one from a series of codes I printed out when I first set up the two-step process. At any rate, if you move computers or need to logon using a different machine (like the library) then you would use one of those codes, but don't save your information on that machine. It's for in a pinch, like I had recently when my phone died and my computer at work was accidentally wiped and reimaged by one of the computer techs who sent a signal out to our public computers and hit a few staff machines as well.

I second the suggestion that you download and keep up to date Malwarebytes. The free version will do the job for you. They manage to find problems that other security programs don't, and (knock wood) I haven't hit any system conflicts. I have talked a couple of folks through crises of malware or viruses in their computers with malwarebytes installed via the Windows safe mode with connectivity.

I would also download Spybot Search&Destroy, use it in the free mode, and do a full scan of the computer after you immunize. Other security programs I use are Spyware blaster (totally in the background) and WinPatrol (I keep threatening to buy versions of WinPatrol and Malwarebytes).

I hope this helps.

Maggie


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Subject: RE: Tech: Infuriatingly persistent pop-up ads
From: GUEST
Date: 18 Feb 14 - 03:00 PM

I'm here on Google Chrome rather than my usual Firefox, and there are NO POP-UPS!
How long that will last, I don't know.
Maybe long enough for me to find out where 'favourites' is, and for Chrome to learn to spell English properly. :-)


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Subject: RE: Tech: Infuriatingly persistent pop-up ads
From: Gurney
Date: 18 Feb 14 - 03:03 PM

Guest above was me.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Infuriatingly persistent pop-up ads
From: meself
Date: 18 Feb 14 - 03:40 PM

I'm on google Chrome and the pop-ups are driving me crazy. Sorry!


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Subject: RE: Tech: Infuriatingly persistent pop-up ads
From: Gurney
Date: 19 Feb 14 - 02:43 PM

Meself, I've just come here on Firefox with pop-ups, and (now) back with Chrome without the buggers. I don't know what conclusion to draw from that, but maybe one of our enthusiasts will.
As far as I'm concerned, Chrome has no history or favourite sites and just doesn't get used much, just being there in case a Worm stops me getting on the web by infecting my browser, as happened once long ago.

-Remember formatting and reinstalling?


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Subject: RE: Tech: Infuriatingly persistent pop-up ads
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 19 Feb 14 - 07:58 PM

Shut off java script.

Sincetely,
Gargoyle

you get what you pay for...and you deserve what you give.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Infuriatingly persistent pop-up ads
From: Don Firth
Date: 20 Feb 14 - 02:42 PM

Brief note. My computer has rolled over and died, and I'm using a borrowed computer that's got a 9" screen and tiny keyboard (oy!).

Thanks for all the information. For now, I am ordering a new laptop (17" screen and all the goodies), so I won't be posting much for the next few days.

By the way, gargoyle, I paid for all the software I use.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Tech: Infuriatingly persistent pop-up ads
From: Gurney
Date: 20 Feb 14 - 03:47 PM

Well, shutting off Java didn't seem to work for me, Garg. Im still getting the text boxes that my pop-up killer can't seem to discourage. Nothing in them, just empty boxes, but they may be coming up faster than before shutting Java.
Possibly a different backdoor being used.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Infuriatingly persistent pop-up ads
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 20 Feb 14 - 04:42 PM

A recent "news" item provides a simple argument about vulnerabilities that should be known well enough but is universally ignored.

One tweak can make your Windows PC virtually invulnerable

A study from Avecto found that almost all of the vulnerabilities reported by Microsoft in 2013 could be mitigated with one easy change

By Tony Bradley | PC World | 19 February 14

Microsoft published 147 vulnerabilities in 2013 that were rated as Critical. Critical, however, is a relative term, and there is one simple thing anyone can do that would guard against almost every single Critical vulnerability according to a new report from Avecto.

In its 2013 Microsoft Vulnerabilities Study, Avecto found that you could mitigate almost every single Critical vulnerability simply by removing administrator rights. The exact number was 92 percent, but that brings the number of serious threats from 147 down to around 12.

Avecto also determined this would circumvent 91 percent of the Critical flaws in Office, and 100 percent--as in every single Critical vulnerability--of those that impact Internet Explorer.
Taken in the larger context of all vulnerabilities published by Microsoft, as opposed to just the Critical ones, the efficacy of taking away administrator privileges drops to 60 percent. However, the ability to make more than half of the vulnerabilities essentially go away by just changing from administrator to standard user privileges is nothing to scoff at.

[END QUOTE - see the link for more]

The need to log off and log back in as Administrator fairly frequently has been something of an inconvenience for Windows users in all versions, but there are differences in "how inconvenient" this is that depend on what Windows version is used.

Many people have made it a practice of just "running as administrator" all the time, and/or have given "administrator authority" to the user account they use most frequently.

The article gives a somewhat superficial but still useful explanation of how this affects the recent versions of Windows.

In most cases, for Windows versions through and including WinXP, if a user has Admin powers, anyone who gets into the machine using that username, or while you are using that unsername, can do just about anything.

Beginning with Win7, and for Win8, even if the user has "Admin access" Windows will ask for permission to execute anything that needs an Administrator authority before any "Administrator function" is executed. This isn't a complete "fail safe" but is one of the things that does make these versions much less susceptible to malware attacks.

Ideally, Administrator authority should be available only when you log on as the Administrator, with a strong Administrator password. Ideally, no "standard user" should have that authority.

With Win7 or Win8, it is significantly less hazardous to give a regular user additional privileges, but with earlier versions even giving full read/write privileges to the regular users can significantly increase your malware exposure.

Nothing to panic about, but something to think about if you've been a bit sloppy with your security features.

John


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Subject: RE: Tech: Infuriatingly persistent pop-up ads
From: Gurney
Date: 23 Feb 14 - 03:26 PM

I just went to YouTube, and the pop-ups there are even more infuriating than here! Whilst here they wedge themselves into the individual posts, there they overlay the videos, giving me a vista of headless people singing!

Does anyone really believe that they can ANNOY me into buying from them? They can't surely be that stupid. They must just be arseholes.

Must go with the above advice.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Infuriatingly persistent pop-up ads
From: GUEST
Date: 05 Mar 14 - 02:42 PM

OK. Further to my observation above that I only got pop-ups in Firefox, I removed Firefox and then reinstalled it from a fresh download.
Lost all the bookmarks, of course, but that's a small price to pay for having NO POP-UPS.

So far.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Infuriatingly persistent pop-up ads
From: Gurney
Date: 05 Mar 14 - 03:07 PM

Oh yes, the Guest above is me. As well as bookmarks you lose your identity for a while.....
No pop-ups on YouTube either. Her indoors WILL be pleased.


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