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Some of you may have seen my "pop-up Poltergeists" post from yesterday. It seemed my internet browser had been possessed by demons. I was continuosly being bombarded by popups that were coming from web sites I hadn't linked to myself. After trying and trying to locate and delete the trojan horses that had been planted on my machine (adn had taken over my browser), I got the blue screen of death and now windows will no longer run. Tonite, I format the C Drive and re-install windows. I lost a ton of data and a couple of days of tearing out precious hair on my head.

All of this was because of advertising software I had unknowingly downloaded over the weekend. It is a class of AdWare known as "Browser Hijackers" and it has crippled my computer just as effectively as any virus.

I found at least 2 of these little devils residing on my machine and in my frantic attemps to find all their folders and cookies, I killed windows. These suckers are pretty darned sophisticated, and are not only capable of disabling spyware/adware detectors, they can kill competing AdWare and send out tons of private material from your machine (like email and chat room addresses). The (at least) 2 of these things I found on my machine were called "PUGI" and N-Case. N-Case is the one that killed windows while I tried to kill it. If you try and eliminate it, it has all kinds of tricks (like mimicking Windows O/S files) to prevent you from finding it and disabling it. The distribution of this kinda software ought to be illegal, but it is not. The scumbags writing and peddling this to advertisers ought to be put in prison, but the law cannot touch them.

So, if you suddenly start linking to websites that put dozens of popups on your screen, I recomend that you visit

www.doxdesk.com/parasite

and try to figure out what you are dealing with and how to get rid of it.

I also highly recomend users of Internet Explorer to set your security controls to warn you whenever you are being asked to receive an ActiveX download and to use anti-spy/ad ware software like Spybot Search and Destroy or Ad-Aware.
 
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That's a shame. I would stress again that Windows users try alternative browsers. I use the Windows version of Mozilla at work and it is a really nice browser. It's also a plain and simple fact that it can not be conquered as easily as IE.

There are at least a couple Mozilla variants with the email, Composer, etc stripped out so they're nice lean fast browsers. You can block pop-ups without 3rd party software and you'll have tabbed browsing which is really handy.

http://www.mozilla.org
 

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You need not format to start over. Just boot from the CD to the command prompt, remove C:\Windows using C:\windows\options\deltree /y c:\windows

Once this finishes, which will be a long time, you can install Windows from scratch and still have all of your data intact.

You may want to boot from a Norton disk/diskette to check for virus infarction first though.
 

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If your running windows 2000, you can just go back to a specific day and set your computer to comply with the data on your computer at that date, disabling anything you've downloaded after that specific date.
 

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I'm sorry to hear you lost everything. The advertisers really have nothing to do with it though. As a matter of fact they could be considered victims too.

Many sites have affiliate programs where they pay other sites that direct traffic to their site. Banner ads are an example of this.

If I understand what's going on here the creators of the trojan horse signed up for oodles of affiliate programs and when it gets unleashed on your computer the advertisers have to pay because technically your browser was directed to their site. Besides screwing up your computer the trojan horse actuallly generates money for the bad guys. It's as brilliant as it is rotten.
 

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I had the same problem with pop-ups a couple of weeks ago. I tried a few different pop-up blockers and nothing worked. The pop-ups would literally come in groups of like 60! My computer sounded like a machine gun. I did find the saving grace after a bit of research. I purchased and downloaded a program called AdAware+ 6.0 with AdWatch feature. It was $26.95 and it was the best money I have ever spent. When you launch the program it searches through every file and program on your hard drive and "Quarantines" all and I do mean ALL ad related files. It found over 250+ ad files hidden on my computer. After it quarantined them, my problem was solved. And with the AdWatch feature turned on, it automatically blocks and Quarantines any future "Trojan Horses". The best part is it does not slow my system down at all. I highly recommend this program! It is made by the Lavasoft Corp. out of Sweden. Good luck! ::
 
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