Big Wheel

Spyware

38 posts in this topic

Sometime in the last week, my PC became afflicted with an odd sort of pop-up window. The message changes from time to time, and it comes up every few hours or so. I use Opera 7.0 and it's usually running when the thing comes up--but I think there were one or two times that it came up when a browser window wasn't running. It's just a nuisance, but I'd really like to get rid of it, and strangely enough, I downloaded Ad-Aware 6 and it didn't detect anything unusual even when the pop-up was on my screen. I also ran my (updated) version of McAfee Viruscan for good measure and it didn't pick up anything...I'm running Windows XP on this machine, so I can use the task manager to try and identify it, but I'm not sure what to look for. Any ideas?

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Did you set the Opera's preference so that the browser would only open the pop-up windows you request?

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Nope, just did that. But this doesn't look like an Opera pop-up window, based on what I've seen of them.

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It could be one of the free media players you use. RealPlayer pops some messages up unless you set your preference. I heard KaZaa does the similar thing.

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Did you update Ad-Aware 6 after downloading the program before you used it?

Edited by Mnytime

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Don't use Kazaa (partially for that very reason), but do use an older version of RealPlayer (v.8, not RealOne). That could be the culprit, though I use RealOne on my other PC and I think used to use version 8 as well (and without any pop-up issues). But from what I remember, any ads I'd get under those would be pretty mild--whereas this one half the time asks me if I am "SICK OF ANNOYING MESSAGES LIKE THIS ONE? THEN VISIT WWW.ANTIMESSAGE.COM!"

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Also, did you close all the programs and browser before running Ad Aware?

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Strangely enough, that site sells marketing software--and the claims it makes for its product are exactly what I am experiencing--the window titlebar reads "Messenger Service", it comes up above all open windows (and stays on top until closed), and it claims it works without browsers. Could it be taking advantage of some Windows network security hole?

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Another possibility is that you're getting these pop-ups through a messenger service. I use Microsoft's MSN Messenger and I had to set the privacy preference to block unwanted messages from poping up.

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Mnytime: I just ran Ad-Aware again, this time with everything else closed (at least, all other windows were closed; don't know if any "processes" were running in the background). Clicked on "WebUpdate" and it said I was all updated. Ad-Aware didn't find anything new this time, either.

I noticed on the 4vsoft website that you can email them to "opt-out" your IP address...but if they're big enough dickheads to create stuff that sends me this crap in the first place, I can't help but wonder if they'll just sell my email address to spammers instead of opting me out.

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SV: I don't use MSN Messenger, and AFAIK it isn't running out of the systray. I was just about to install AIM on this computer but haven't yet, so I don't think messaging software is the culprit.

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Well I am at loss. I had a similar problem and after I did everything I asked you about it found something it didn't find before.

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Saint Vitus: it appears you were on the right track. If the few sources I found are to be trusted, the problem is tied to taking advantage of a network messaging feature only on Windows XP and 2000, "Windows Messenger." Here's the most informative article I found: http://www.mckendree.edu/scripts/nph-proxy...9,990145,00.asp

Seems like a relatively new problem (all the posts I turned up with Google about this are from the last 3 weeks or so.)

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You can disable the messenger service in winxp or win 2000 by opening a RUN box from start menu and run a program called services.msc

Scroll down the list of services until you see 'Messenger' and disable it. Goodbye popups.

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Maybe relevant, maybe not - make sure you're offline and totally inactive w/other programs when running Ad-Aware. They don't tell you this, but it matters - some spyware seems to be able to avoid detection whe you're online. Don't know why or how, but that's been my experience.

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I did the fix mentioned in that PCMag article--Control Panel-->Admin. Tools-->stop Messenger and disable it on startup. Is that equivalent?

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Big Wheel said:

did the fix mentioned in that PCMag article--Control Panel-->Admin. Tools-->stop Messenger and disable it on startup. Is that equivalent?

Right, my method is just a faster way to the same Services contol panel.

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That's weird. I've experienced this same problem on a friend's machine and Ad-Aware took care of it.

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Maybe relevant, maybe not - make sure you're offline and totally inactive w/other programs when running Ad-Aware. They don't tell you this, but it matters - some spyware seems to be able to avoid detection whe you're online. Don't know why or how, but that's been my experience.

I knew I was forgetting something. I forgot to mention going offline as well.

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Every Windows 2K and XP user should turn off the messenger service, even if there were no problems until now. This feature was almost never used, until spammers found a way to abuse it.

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Are you guys talking about Ad-Aware 6, the free version? And, I've heard people talk about Pop-Up Stopper. Anyone know about this program?

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Yes, Ad-Aware 6. Good program... even the free version.

My dad uses that Pop-Up Stopper and I think it's annoying. It doesn't always work and it eats up Windows resources. I keep telling him to get rid of it, but he thinks it's the shit.

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Yes, Ad-Aware 6. Good program... even the free version.

My dad uses that Pop-Up Stopper and I think it's annoying. It doesn't always work and it eats up Windows resources. I keep telling him to get rid of it, but he thinks it's the shit.

Pop Up Stopper is annoying, no doubt. So, should just Ad Aware be sufficient? I'm WAY ignorant!

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Got bit real hard by some spyware early last thursday (yeah, almost a week ago!!). Ever since, I haven't been able to bring up my brouser, without the session crashing immediately. FINALLY, just a few minutes ago, I found a work-around, sorta (and FYI, this is the first time I've been on the board since last Thursday!!!).

Spybot clears out the problem just fine, but then every time I reboot, the problem is right back again (and I have to reboot, cuz Spybot can only clean up so much of the problem the first time it runs, since several of the registry entries can't be changed without rebooting (cuz they're "in use"). When I bring up the browser (IE), I get 'dll' errors, and they don't seem to be consistant every time either.

Anyway, I think I've found a work-around, for the time being, but man -- this is a real pain in the ass. I've had my e-mail working just fine, and images populate in e-mail messages just fine too (for pics that aren't attachments, but are instead links to images out on the net). I just haven't had any way to get to any browser-based stuff, for over 5 days. :angry::angry::angry:

Yuck!!!! icon8.gificon8.gificon8.gif

For what it's worth, the Spyware that got me appears to be something called...

CoolWWWSearch

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