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Is there a reason for spyware to be put into my PC by aD ?

Discussion in 'AfterDawn feedback & suggestions' started by ScubaPete, Nov 25, 2004.

  1. ScubaPete

    ScubaPete Senior member

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    For some time now I have had to clean out Adware from my PC as you all have, I'm sure. I began to closely monitor where my PC has been going to attract so many unwanted visitors just in case it decided to romp around the Internet while I was out of the room (Ya never can tell about today's PC (Lol). Well, what has been apparent for the past few months is, - I've been getting it from here. Yep, aD has been feeding my little guy whenever I dropped in :(

    I'm not referring to the many sites I visit daily to garner information for post answers, I am referring to the links here at aD that take me to a "Sponsor" page prior to, say a guide and from page to page within the aD forum.

    Is it necessary to acquire "fast-click" Data-miners there to invade my PC ?
    Or,
    Is this a topic about which questions shouldn't be asked ?

     
  2. Oner

    Oner Moderator Staff Member

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    I have to say that must be an error on your part as since I have been here I have NEVER recieved a piece of malware from aD.
     
  3. Ketola

    Ketola Fighting ninjas Staff Member

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    We don't allow any installer spawning applications, so no spyware is ever installed from any of the ads that run on our site. Please don't confuse "spyware" and "tracking cookies" with eachother. Every single ad network uses cookies to track the impressions of advertisements. This is perfectly normal, and just about the only way advertisements can be displayed properly. For example that way popunder ads are shown only once per day per user.

    Also, there are no "sponsor pages" between internal pages. If you are seeing such pages, you probably have some sort of advertisement spyware already installed on your system.
     
  4. ScubaPete

    ScubaPete Senior member

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    Jari,

    What I'm referring to are indeed "Tracking cookies", Type:"IE Cache entries", Category: "Data Miners" From: "fipod.com," "realmedia.com" and the like -

    As these "Tracking cookies" are given a rating of "3" on the TAC scale it did peak my interest.

    As for the "Sponsor" page that I mentioned, it is not an "Advertisement" page as such, touting the ease of obtaining "Free Ipods" and "love enhancements" BUT rather a Black page which says; "Sponsor" and requires me to click a "skip" box in order to continue - These are in fact here on aD and not on my PC unless it resides below my DOS, unreachable by any anti-virus and Adware tools known to me.

    One of our Mods refers to it as a "Pass-through" ad window. I referred to it as a "sponsor" page as that is the word at the top of the page. I know of no other way to word it - Perhaps there are some other members who might better describe it – (as I sit here typing a Mod in forum just "Won" a Green Xbox, from one such page) hard to believe Huh ?

    I have not said, nor did I mean to imply that I have experienced any negative effects by any of the Data Miners /cookies that I have picked up. Emphatically, I have not ! It is simply an annoyance.

    Now that I know where the "cookies" came from and they are there with the knowledge of the "Powers" that be, I'm comfortable with their origin. As I've said, it was only a mild annouyance, I'm quite comfortable with the knowledge my system is well protected behind several Firewalls and S/w that is always lQQking over everything that my system comes in contact with -

    I assume the same is true for thses "Sponser" pages ?


     
  5. Ketola

    Ketola Fighting ninjas Staff Member

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    The sponsor pages you are referring to are known as "interstitials", which are only shown as so called "exit advertisements" at AfterDawn. That is to say that the ads should only appear when you click on a link that points to an external page (even if then). As far as I know these types of advertisements should never appear between two internal pages at aD, but I need to check if that's truly the case.

    Could you point me to a page where you've seen these ads?

    Indeed there's no need to worry about the third party advertisement / tracking cookies. Unfortunately some so called "experts" have scared alot of people into installing way too powerful privacy software and personal firewalls. You wouldn't believe how many emails we get from people running misconfigured software that block them from logging in to our site.

    Granted -- Microsoft operating systems are full of exploitable security flaws, but just about all of them can be fixed by installing the latest patches at regular intervals. Then again I'd never connect a Windows PC to the Net without having a proper hardware firewall in between. I used to run a software firewall as well (Tiny Personal Firewall), but just to block outbound connections from Windows. I just hate it when certain software "phone home" without my permission. >=)

    Sorry if I sounded a bit harsh, but I wanted to be perfectly clear about the fact that we don't allow any types of advertisements that spawn spyware installers. There are numerous rich media advertisers around that spawn, for instance, Gator or MyWebSearch toolbar installers. There's little I hate more than those pesky pieces of spyware that are a pain to get rid of.
     
  6. ScubaPete

    ScubaPete Senior member

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    Jari,

    I'd be glad to - just go up to Oner's post. I tried the link in his "sig" for PS2 Info > http://forums.afterdawn.com/thread_view.cfm/15105 .

    It takes you directly to an "interstitial" which you must then "click" out of in order to continue on to the forum's PS2 page.

    Since I've been keeping "score" of the number of Data Miners I had been accruing, the only thing I made sure of was that I, at no time left the forum. I'll be glad to supply you with as many examples as you wish - HOWEVER, my numbers show that while these interstitials don't show up in every inter-forum link, it does appear in many of them. As funny as it seems, once you use a link and are channeled through an interstitial repeated use of the same link will allow you to go straight to your destination. In other words, it seems to happen once a day per link.

    Don't hold me to it as 100%, it seems that way at this time –

    I've been in touch with Nephilim and he has noted the same thing though it is his opinion that he only sees it about once per day At first, I felt the same way but today I'm on my third interstitial.

    Again, a few times a day is a pest at best but not knowing if this was a planed event or not was the question -

    If I can be of any further aid, please let me know -

    Cheers,

    Pete

    UPDATE: Since posting this, I have continued to test inter-forum threads a bit more. What did I find ? I found that when I "pasted" Oner's link into my post, I noticed that link also took me to a interstitial also.
     
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2004
  7. ozzy1

    ozzy1 Regular member

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  8. ScubaPete

    ScubaPete Senior member

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    ozzy1,

    It shows up in the Ad-Aware Ident as a Class 3 (out of 5 on the TAC scale) Data-miner. Those are the type of tracking "cookies" that self-install on your PC and, if you don't have a decent firewall that reports every proggy that wishes to use your Internet connection, they can transmit how and where you use your PC to their "Home Base".

    Running proggys like Spy-Bot and Ad-Aware will show you just how many spyware proggys are on your PC. It has been my experience that when pple first download, install and use Ad-Aware, they find "Hundreds" of spyware proggys on their PC.

    As I said, I was just "surprised" to find that I was getting these "Cookies" from inter-forum links here on aD. As you see, the data-miners picked up here are "harmless". Not all such "cookies" are "harmless" though. They have the ability to scour your PC and, report to who ever sent them, what you do and where you go on the Internet all without your knowledge.

    I use MyIE2 as a browser (similar to Firefox) and can see whenever one such interstitial appears. We can rest assured that those picked up here aren't something to be overly concerned about.

    Cheers,

    Pete

     
  9. ozzy1

    ozzy1 Regular member

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    I have adware and spybot search and destroy installed and run them every week i also have ez firewall which i find very good. And it does ask if you want to allow a program access to the internet. But i cant seem to get rid of this.
     

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