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-   -   strange occurrances on site this morning (http://www.cryptograms.org/forum/showthread.php?t=713)

wvwoman 06-15-2013 12:45 PM

strange occurrances on site this morning
 
for about the past hour, when solving puzzles, the system won't let me change letters by just clicking on the box (space) and entering the new letter over the existing one---i now have to double-click to highlight the letter in the box, delete to clear the box, then enter the new letter. i have to go through the same process of highlighting in order to clear a box, too.

then, on my most recent puzzle solution page, in the space where the completed quote is shown under the stats, a couple of the words in the quote were in in blue with double underlines. hover your cursor over the blue, underlined words, and an ad pops up. now that's weird!

admin 06-15-2013 03:29 PM

It sounds like your browser has had some sort of adware/malware installed on top of it which is surreptitiously inserting links in any content you view. I'd highly recommend you run some sort of antivirus program as soon as possible to get it removed.

I usually recommend http://www.malwarebytes.org/ - it's free and it's cleaned up my system on several occasions where Norton and others have failed.

Good luck!

montyb 06-15-2013 03:43 PM

I think I agree with Admin, wvwoman. I do not seem to be having any trouble with the site today.

wvwoman 06-18-2013 10:37 PM

argh!
 
i am still trying to rid my computer of whatever malware is plaguing it/me---i have run two long, slow scans by my antivirus program to start, and have run malwarebytes, spybot and another whose name i can't recall at this moment, all to no avail.

i'm now advised to run a rootkit program---but that i have to be careful when removing things that are found, as they are not all bad things. well, how the he** am i supposed to know?!! i'm not a computer expert.

strangely, after each try at getting rid of it, everything seems good...i see no evidence of it anywhere (the words in blue with double underlines that show ads when cursor hovers over them) until i come back to this sight and solve one puzzle---then there they are!

before i start a "how did this happen--i'm so cautious" rant, if you have any advice, sock it to me. i'm mightily frustrated, and wonder what this malware is doing to my 'baby' (computer, lifeline, etc.).

thank you!

admin 06-18-2013 10:44 PM

Sorry to hear you're still having trouble!

What browser are you using? What I would do at this point would be to go into my browser settings and disable all plugins/add-ons (even the ones you think you can trust) to see if that has any effect. If it does, then re-enable all plugins/add-ons and disable them again one-by-one until you can pinpoint which one is causing the links to appear. That will be your culprit, and hopefully you can then remove/uninstall it manually.

Sometimes a "legitimate" add-on or plugin for your browser will sneakily start adding these links under the radar so that they don't trigger anti-virus programs right away.

Good luck!

wvwoman 06-18-2013 11:44 PM

i use firefox.
does it mean anything that all the ads say "tuvaro" at the top?
oh, now there are some that aren't tuvaro ads--they just say "post 5574."
this is so weird.
what kind of damage can this sucker do?
ok, i'm off to try what you have suggested.

admin 06-18-2013 11:51 PM

It's never good to have unrecognized software on your computer, but with that caveat, most of these things just serve ads that they hope you click on so that they'll make some money. A small percentage of them are more damaging - but the really dangerous ones generally won't bother showing you ads. They'd rather be left undetected so they can gather your personal data without you realizing anything is wrong.

Good luck!

wvwoman 06-19-2013 01:01 AM

shhhhh...trying to contain my excitement!
 
i don't want to say it very loudly, but it appears i have success, thanks to you, stephen! (yes, i'm thinking that speaking too loudly might wake up the beast that might still be hiding somewhere--it's just the way things often go--so one hates to get overly excited prematurely!)

i've solved several puzzles, and see no signs of the dreaded blue-colored, double-underlined words.

i disabled all plug-ins/add-ons, as you suggested, so it seems you were correct--one of them is the culprit. no one else thought to suggest that--i'm highly appreciative.

a few more questions:
1. as i add them back, one at a time, do i need to restart my computer each time?
2. how does malware get attached to an add-on? is it there when i add it, or does it 'magically' attach itself to an existing add-on? is it attached to that add-on forever?
3. why were the links so prevalent on this particular site?

admin 06-19-2013 01:06 AM

Glad to hear it!

You don't need to restart your computer as you add them back, just your browser. As for how it gets attached, I'm not well-versed in the specifics, but generally any plugin/add-on you install runs this risk, so always make sure you can trust the source. Some software also has "sleeper" periods, where you'll install it, it works fine for a month or two, and then it triggers the adware to start popping up all of a sudden - the idea being that you wouldn't suspect the plugin of being the culprit since it was installed so long ago and never caused problems before.

As for why it seems to trigger more on this site than others, I really don't know - I guess we're lucky. :-)

Also - if you have the list of disabled plugins, try googling each one by title and see if anything pops up about others having similar problems with it. That might help you narrow it down.

wvwoman 06-21-2013 02:28 AM

when i went back to my 'add-on' page, i expected to see the list of all the 'disabled' add-ons---but many of them were 'enabled' again without my having done anything. obviously this is happening automatically to over half of them. so far, no adware is showing up again. how would i go about turning off that auto feature if the need arises?


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