Sudden popups

Discussion in 'Computers' started by Mike LS, Mar 7, 2004.

  1. Mike LS

    Mike LS Supporting Actor

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    The last several days I've been getting a boatload of popups. And not really while I'm surfing. I can leave my computer running overnight and in the morning there might be 20 or 30 popus. Most of them these "Stop popups now" and things like that. Another thing that comes up is a download dialog box asking if I want to download and install the latest version of "Flastalk", which I believe is some kind of instant messenging program.

    I've done virus scans, run adaware more than once and run a popup stopper (google toolbar) and my router is locked up tight. When I first noticed this, I had a few port ranges open for things like PC Anywhere and VPN. I disabled those services and closed all ports, but the popups are still getting through.

    I'm not running a software firewall (have in the past, but it was a pain), but will if that's the best answer.

    The only thing I've installed lately is TurboTax.
     
  2. Max Leung

    Max Leung Producer

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    Assuming you are running Windows XP, you can run msconfig.exe from "Start->Run...". Click on the Startup tab, and uncheck the programs you think are suspicious-looking. Alternately, you can click "Disable All", and re-enable the startup programs one-by-one. Then reboot, and see if the popups go away!

    It seems Adaware is completely useless for these popups nowadays. I've never had any luck using adaware. Anyone know of better programs to remove unwanted ads?
     
  3. ZoranM

    ZoranM Stunt Coordinator

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    It sound like you are running the messenger service (this is not MSN messenger) It is a service network admins can use to send messages to machines on their network. By default on WIN 2k machines this is on (not sure about default for xp)

    There are 2 ways around this:
    first way is a good firewall

    second way is to do the following:

    1)Click the Start button and choose Run.
    2)Type services.msc into the text box and press Enter.
    3)Scroll down to, and double-click on the Messenger item
    4)In the dialog box that opens, choose Disabled as the Startup type.
    5)If the service is currently running, click the Stop button under "Service Status".
    6)Click OK.

    Hope this helps.

    cheers,

    Zoran
     
  4. Mike LS

    Mike LS Supporting Actor

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    Got up this morning and closed about 70 of the things.....

    I ran a program last night that gave a log report of all running processes....I was browsing another BB and found a situation similar to mine, and it was suggested to run this program. To tell you the truth, I can't even remember what the name of it was right now. It gives the list and allows you to shut any running process down (and disable it in the future). Anyway, I meant to email the log file to myself so I'd have it, but I shut down my computer this morning before I remembered to do so.

    It's not messenger popups. I dealt with that problem about a year or so ago. These are actually IE windows and download dialog boxes. I remember the messenger popups being different. I figure it has to be some kind of spyware program that's allowing this......really irritating though.
     
  5. Steve Deacon

    Steve Deacon Stunt Coordinator

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    The best thing I could suggest is use something like Mozilla instead of IE. A far better browser, and much less likely to get hijacked or allow pop-ups.

    www.mozilla.org

    It's free of course.
     
  6. Mike LS

    Mike LS Supporting Actor

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    I know that's a solution, but I know that this sudden onslaught of popups is caused by something, and I'd rather figure out what it is than just ditch IE for another broswer.
     
  7. Steve Deacon

    Steve Deacon Stunt Coordinator

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    Oh absolutely, you want to get to the bottom of it. Some other spyware related utilities you could try:

    Spybot search and destroy - this might find some stuff that adaware is missing.

    http://spybot.safer-networking.de/



    spywareblaster - this is used to prevent nasty stuff installing itself, but obviously you'll need to get your system clean first. It has a snapshot system rather like system restore, but only affecting the areas that the spyware crap targets.

    http://www.javacoolsoftware.com/spywareblaster.html
     
  8. ZoranM

    ZoranM Stunt Coordinator

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    I would have to agree with Steve on the Spybot recommondation, I also use adaware which worked well for me (latest version).

    Also I noticed you mention that you were using a software firewall in you first post buit then stopped cause of the hassle. I had the same problem the software firewall apps were in my opinion a "resource using hassle" so after some research I picked out a good NAT router for only $30 CA (found it at Futureshop, which is basically Best Buy in Canada).

    It has been awsome for protecting my systems. It is way better then a software firewall and doesn't use any system resources. Not to mention when someone comes over with a laptop or game system, they can just plug in and go.

    I know your looking to try and solve what is causing your problem first, but you might want to consider a NAT router to prevent this (or worse) from happening in the future.

    Cheers,

    Zoran
     
  9. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Moderator
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    Have we ruled out Turbo Tax yet?
     
  10. PhilBoy

    PhilBoy Second Unit

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    ZoranM,

    Please expand on the NAT router at BB...

    I've been looking for a reasonably priced router/wirewall.

    Is NAT the brand name ?

    For $30 I'll go get one now.
     
  11. ZoranM

    ZoranM Stunt Coordinator

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    Network Address Translation (NAT)is a feature most(all?) routers have it basically conceals the ip of all the devices connected to it from external pings/acccess, etc. When someone tries to access your ip, the router basically makes it seem like nothing is there. (unless you use port forwarding to access certain things, ie. remote desktop)

    The following is the router I bought:

    http://consumerguide.bizrate.com/mar...f--cgm007.html

    The reason I was able to buy mine for $30 is because there was a sale/rebate that day. It was regular $75 CA but they took off $45 CA at the till. But from what I've seen here (Edmonton, Canada) is that Futureshop and Best Buy have specials like this on different routers pretty often. Don't know about American stores.

    The link I included above has the router for various prices, I have had it for almost a year now and am very happy with it. I use it with a netgear hub a picked up for $20 bucks and together they manage 3 xboxes, 1 PS2, 1 laptop and 2 desktop machines.

    cheers,

    Zoran
     
  12. ZoranM

    ZoranM Stunt Coordinator

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  13. Mike LS

    Mike LS Supporting Actor

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    OK, let me clarify....

    I have Bellsouth DSL, so I have a Westell modem/router with NAT, so there is a hardware firewall on the system. At one time I had installed a software firewall to try as well, but the hassle was more than I had bargained for so I ditched it. I'm still using the router.

    Anybody else had Turbo Tax give them any popup fits? My wife said that she saw the popups right before I installed TT, but I'm not 100% sure.
     
  14. Max Leung

    Max Leung Producer

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    I suggest trying the msconfig.exe trick in the meantime...disable all startup programs with it, reboot, and see if the popups go away.

    Maybe you can provide a screenshot of the startup items listed by msconfig too? That would be handy, and allow us to point out familiar bad programs. [​IMG]

    Like Patrick said, Turbo Tax MIGHT have installed it. Although, it is entirely possible that a friend/relative used your computer when you weren't looking, and installed all that junk.
     
  15. Mike Fassler

    Mike Fassler Supporting Actor

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    sounds like spyware to me, download spybot and be done with it [​IMG] and yes turbotax installs spyware.
     
  16. Max Leung

    Max Leung Producer

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  17. Scott L

    Scott L Producer

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    NAT is nice but it ain't 100% bullet-proof by any means. One day I opened the My Documents folder to find a cats.scr file. Thinking it was a screensaver I opened it but it turned out to be a nasty trojan.

    Turns out it was because I had the option checked for "Allow network users to change my files" in the sharing menu. I was doing some LAN fun at a friend's house the night before.

    I bought an Anti-virus program soon after and it found half a dozen more files that were placed within that folder. [​IMG]
     
  18. Mike LS

    Mike LS Supporting Actor

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    Those articles about TurboTax are from last year (both are dated Feb 2003). That's when the huge uproar occurred over the crap they were including with their software. They vowed to remove that from this years version, and to date, I haven't seen anything that suggests they didn't honor their word. Too, last year I had no problem with nonstop popups.

    BTW, I ran spybot and had it fix every problem it came across except for 2 Kazaa Lite entries. I've had that program installed for over a year with no problems, so I know that's not the culprit. Too, those were the only two entries that spybot didn't check for attention. It left them unchecked.

    Anyway, I'm still having the popups. Seems nothing I do is helping any.
     
  19. Max Leung

    Max Leung Producer

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    Mike, you still haven't tried disabled all startup programs with MSConfig.exe (reboot after making the changes)? I suggest you try that immediately. It is one of the first things I do if the popups/spyware interfere with running a checker.

    BTW, have you told Spybot to check for updates? The initial download of spybot only checks for 6000 spyware entries and is 4 months obsolete. The update adds another 6000 entries!
     
  20. Jack Shappa

    Jack Shappa Second Unit

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    Ad-aware does the trick for me. I've removed adware doing exactly what you describe off several computers with it. But do check your running processes list and know exactly what each program running does (do a search on google by each process name if you need help). Not only might you catch some spyware, but you'd be surprised how much "legitimate" background BS runs that you don't need.

    - Jack
     

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