Browser Hijackers Ruining More Than Just Computers

from the ah,-technology dept

As spyware and browser hijackers become even more evil, some are having an impact well beyond the computer that they take over. Apparently, some people claim that they’ve been arrested for child porn that such programs put on their hard drive, while others say they’ve been fired for similar things. The stories in the article don’t have that much evidence backing them up – but even if they’re not true, it’s certainly possible that these things could happen. There have been (again, unsubstantiated) reports in the past about e-extortion rings that threaten to put child porn on your hard drive, so whether or not it’s really happening, people have definitely thought about it. Of course, like most new malicious attacks on personal computer users (spam, viruses, phishing, adware, spyware, trojans, worms, etc…) things are likely to get worse before anyone tries to come up with a real solution.

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Comments on “Browser Hijackers Ruining More Than Just Computers”

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Chris O'Donnell says:

No Subject Given

Don’t use Outlook.
Don’t use IE

Problem 98% solved.

I could add use Linux to the list, but that is an unreasonable expectation for most people. Downloading Mozilla, which is free as in spech and free as in beer, and has a good email program attached, is certainlty do-able for most people.

You can still infect yourself with Mozilla if you actively click on a trojan, but it requires an active effort on your part, whereas IE with weak securty settings will auto install stuff you never know about.

Mike (profile) says:

Re: No Subject Given

I keep trying to switch to Mozilla – and I can use it much of the time. However, there are a few things that just don’t work properly in Mozilla (including tools for work) and are too much of a pain to get around. Until I can get everything working properly in Mozilla, I’m still stuck with IE.

As for Outlook, I’ve never used it, so problem solved there.

thecaptain says:

Re: Re: No Subject Given

Hi Mike,

I hear what you are saying. Frankly, I hear it all the time. I’m REALLY curious WHAT things don’t work properly in Mozilla?

I know I can rant about Microsoft with the best of them, and I AM a big fan of Linux…but my intention isn’t to start a flamewar…I am simply really, genuinely curious as to what things don’t work for you.

I likely have no solutions to offer you…this is a purely selfish post in an appeal to satisfy my curiosity 🙂

Personally I use Opera for everything (linux and windows) but I have also used Mozilla extensively and haven’t experienced any problems even with the environment at work (which is very heavily dependent on Microsoft stuff…asp, IIS, C# etc..).

Mike (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: No Subject Given

There are a few things that don’t seem to work properly in Mozilla. First, and, perhaps most important, is a spell checker. Every time I check people say that a spell checker is on the way – but it’s not here yet. Another problem is that a lot of javascript doodads (mainly bookmarklets) that are important to what we do don’t work in Mozilla. There’s also a problem with anchors. I’m not sure what it is, but one of the tools we use has a series of anchor points in an HTML document that don’t function in Mozilla.

NOBODY (user link) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 No Subject Given

Really depends on what build you’re using. I would pick one of the stable builds over firefox.

I’ve had trouble with anchors in IE 5 and 6. Never had that kind of problem in Moz. Firefox 0.8 keeps crashing on WinXP. That’s my only gripe with it. As far as Js goes, the problem that most people seem to have with moz is that you can’t use it to code to IE’s object model, which is non standard. There are a ton of things you can code in IE that are not standard.

Not to sound like a conspiracy theorist, but you can do the same things with the same level of complexity with standard scripting, but it seems like Microsoft really wanted people locked into IE. What other explination could there be for it?

Anyway, I can usually fix those kinds of problems. If you e-mail me the HTML output you’re having trouble with, I can take a look at it for you.

xman says:

Re: Re: Re:2 No Subject Given

There are many JavaScripts things that “don’t work” in mozilla – this is because they are non-portable, non-standrad IE extensions. Anything that uses ActiveX won’t work (good).

A good example of something that wont work in Mozilla is the Outlook Web interface “premium” version which in IE looks and works almost like outlook but wont work at all on any other browser where you have to use the basic version which is pretty horrid.

Who uses Mozilla anyway? Firefox everytime.

thecaptain says:

Re: Re: Re:2 No Subject Given

Thanks Mike…

As I said I was really curious.

Where do you use a spell checker? (I have never used one in the browser, IE or otherwise)

I’m surprised about the javascript doodads though…since the ones I’ve used work…but I DO concede that I don’t use my browser as in-depth as you might.

JD says:

I Wish...

It’s easy to say don’t use Outlook, or IE or maybe even Windows… but it can be “very” tough to do with an un-enlightened IT department.

I was almost fired because I brought in my own hard drive, installed Linux, OpenOffice, etc… worked great for about 2 years but I’ve had to get rid of it “or else”.

Now, of course at home it’s 100% Linux, but work, sadly, is not.

Red (user link) says:

Porn hijacking

Mmm, it’s funny about this post Mike, because I just got off the phone interviewing a security company chief who got called to a school where there was a fair quantity of paedophile porn found on a PC.
They were just about to haul the suspect teacher off when they realised that all of the porn had been posted to the IE Favourites within a 2 second time frame, which made it physically impossible. Further examination revealed a trojan which was doing the nasties.

John S. says:

Re: Porn hijacking

I believe it, I am having some pretty serious problems with my marriage for the very same thing and am at this very moment searching for proof and some documetation that this sort of thing happens. My wife is refusing to believe that i’m innocent of any wrong doing and suggest that i have a problem with child porn. Things are not going well here. After aquiring spyware sweeper and norton anti-virus i was able to stop it. But seeking help on proving my case. Can someone help ?

Chris O'Donnell says:

No Subject Given

I’m using Firefox .8 and XP and it does crash occasionally, but not often enough to be a major annoyance. I use a freeware notepad replacement called Cetus CNotePad, which has a spell checker. I cut and paste when I need to spell check. Not as convenient as built in, but again, a minor pain that is worth the tradeoff for better security.

I find myself needing IE for some sites that use Windows Media Player for streaming content, DirecTV online ordering of pay per view movies doesn’t in Moz, and parts of our health insurance company site doesn’t work in Moz.

I’ve worked for companies that had IT standards too. I always got away with installing my own stuff though. Just lucky I guess 😉

thecaptain says:

Re: Re: No Subject Given

Not necessarily. Its already been proven time and again that IE has huge security holes that make it easy for these kinds of exploits.

That’s not to say there WON’T be exploits…but they conceivably might not be as extreme or as easy to code/distribute AND they probably wouldn’t last as long.

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