Website problems


#1

Hi webmasters.
I figured out what it is that causes this website to become unstable and not others. You now apparently have an agreement with an advertising company that keeps popping up little videos on the right side of your site. Every time that thing starts running the site freezes momentarily, occasionally even causing logout. While it runs, it causes keystrokes inputs to pause, often requiring reentering.

The video popup isn’t visable on your site unless I’m scrolled down a bit, so it took some effort to confirm. It is definitely a direct causal relationship.

I appreciate that this site is free, and it needs advertising to support the cost, and you folks do good work, but is there a way to turn this doggoned video popup off from my end?


#2

Video advertising is the new obtrusive way to advertise on the web. I hate it.

And now instead of making a simple text news article…they put it in a video so they can play a 1 minute add before you see it.

Video advertising is ruining the web. I know of no one who likes it.


#3

I don’t see any video. That either means you’ve got adware running on your system or you don’t have an advertisement blocker on your browser.

Actually, I just checked the site with my tablet, which doesn’t have an ad blocker, and I don’t see any video, so I’m leaning towards adware/spyware as the problem.

I recommend you go to your control panel, click either “add/remove programs,” “programs and features,” or “program control” (depending on which operating system you’re running), and uninstall any program you don’t recognize. Sort the programs by “installed on” date, and focus on the most recently-installed programs. Sometimes the program names include words like “value” or “deal.”

This seems to be a recurring problem on this site, so I am going to make some recommendations for safe browsing:

-If you have a choice of browsers (many new tablets don’t let you choose), don’t use Microsoft’s Internet Explorer for anything except downloading a better browser (like Firefox or Chrome).

-Once you install a better browser, install two extensions (add-ons) for safer browsing:

-FlashBlock (or another Flash blocker). It will block Adobe Flash from running on sites you might not trust. If you want to let flash run on a site you trust, you just click the icon and click "always allow flash on this site." It's reversible if you change your mind.

-ScriptSafe (or another script blocker). It’s kind of a pain in the butt at first, because you have to tell it which scripts are allowed to run and which ones aren’t allowed to run. It’s kind of like firewall software in that it really slows down your browsing at first, but once you set it up for all of the websites you use most frequently, it becomes a lot less cumbersome. It also makes it a lot safer to check out sites you don’t trust because you can enable only the scripts that are necessary to make the site work, blocking unnecessary scripts from running.

-Disable Java. Few sites use it anymore, and it’s known for having gaping security issues. (See http://www.java.com/en/download/help/disable_browser.xml for instructions on disabling Java.)

Something I like to do at work is have Chrome setup with FlashBlock, ScriptSafe, and AdBlock, but I have Firefox installed with no extensions (and Java enabled). I only use Firefox for buying airfare and other web sites I know I can trust that might be hindered or rendered not functional by any of the extensions.

Lastly, you have to be careful when you install updates for Java, Flash, RealPlayer, or anything else you get for free. There is often a step in the process where, if you don’t opt out, you might inadvertently install adware on your computer. Any “search” tool that adds a menu bar to your browser is adware. Make sure you un-check the box that installs this software when you install updates.

P.S.- I just checked the site in Firefox, which, like I said above, doesn’t have any extensions installed, and I don’t see a video. This indicates it is most likely you have adware on your computer.


#4

Thanks a million for the info guys.

Mike, you can add me to the list of popup video haters.

Whitey, I’ve printed the thread and will look into it when I get some time. I’ve already removed from my programs all the superflous programs I could find, and that cleared up problems for other than this site.

Thanks again.


#5

One more thing you might consider is setting up two accounts for yourself; one as an administrator and the other as a restricted user (or a guest user). Using the restricted/guest account when you’re not deliberately installing software or changing system settings adds an additional layer of security since it will either block system changes or require an administrative password to make system changes.

As a rule, if anyone other than me uses one of my computers, they are only given restricted or guest access. Under recent versions of Windows, guest access is more secure (restrictive) than restricted access.


#6

TSM … post a link to a page on this site where a vdo appears for you. Then I’ll take a look to see if it also appears on my computer.


#7

George, I truly appreciate the help, but I don’t know any way to attach a link of the webpage that would be different from your going into the site. The link would just be the address.


#8

Hello. I’m not seeing any video on my end, either, but I do know there have been some advertising changes on the site. Whitey has been great to offer the anti-adware info again, but just out of curiosity I sent your post to Doug M to see if he knew anything.


#9

Sincere thanks.
I have to spend some time too looking at my programs list again. I think I’ll print a copy this time once I get the junk programs out and then I can just look for new stuff in the future.

Cleaning my programs list of popup programs did make a big difference, but I think another one might have snuck in.

But I do think the Cartalk site is now accepting that popup video, and I have absolutely without question determined a direct connection between it and some of the problems I’m having here. It definitely interferes with keypunch inputs, and it has absolutely caused momentary freezing and even dropping out. I’ve sat and watched the problems appear when the video starts and stop when it ends.

I do realize too that this advertising is what pays for the site, and I really do enjoy being here. I also know that the web folks need to also be sure that the bills are paid, or we’ll all be in the dark and a lot of people needing help will lose a resource. But I do get frustrated at times. Sometimes I just need to release a bit of steam, and you guys really truely are a great help. I’m definitely not a high-tech guy.


#10

I just heard back from Doug. He assures me that nothing we’ve done would cause this. All of our ads are contained to ad units marked as such, and none are video. We looked at running them, but so far have held off for the same reasons others have mentioned-- they are annoying. I’d consider printing out Whitey’s advice and trying to run through it. I know I hate video ads, but we aim to make sure the bills get paid without unduly affecting the user experience.


#11

Sincere thanks. You guys are great.
I’ve already printed out Whitey’s recommendations, but haven’t tried them yet. I have a mental block against fooling with my programs, I guess. I have to psych myself up to do so.


#12

@Mountainbike, before you uninstall anything, I recommend you run it by someone who is knowledgeable about computers. You can also google the program names or post them in this thread to help identify the programs before you uninstall them. If you spot a suspicious program, feel free to post the program name here and I’ll see if I can help.


#13

@mountainbike, where is your smart, pretty female tech support friend when you need her? :wink:


#14

TSM, you probably have some installed Browser Helper Objects (BHO). Contrary to their name BHOs are seldom very helpful to you. Are you running IE? If so, you can check what’s installed fairly easily without damaging anything-

See that gear icon in the upper right corner? Left click on it and a short menu is displayed.

Scroll down to ‘manage add ons’ and left click on that menu item.

On the left are the ‘add on types’. You can scroll through the BHOs for each but the toolbars and accelerators will be the most prevalent places for adware to attach.

If you see any that are ‘unknown’ or ‘not available’ for the publisher, those are concerning or any that just seem obtrusive like ‘google toolbar’ etc.

Post what’s installed and we can guide you through the removal process…


#15

TT, you post was a big help.

The programs I need to research are
albrechto
shockwave flash object
eveevalidator
7-zip9.2 (publisher: Igor Pavlov…tell me THAT doesn’t sound suspicious!)
findwide

I’ve dug these out of the maintenance path that you mentioned plus a search of all installed programs.

If you guys are familiar with any of these, the input would be appreciated. If I find out anything about any of them, I’ll post the information.

Sigh.

Thanks again

Postscript: jesmed, the lady has been too busy teaching courses and doing consulting work. I feel guilty asking her. She’d be happy to help, she was a good friend and colleague at eth college for many years, but I know she keeps a crazy schedule already. I haven’t asked.


#16

I’d go ahead and remove 7-zip9.2. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/7-Zip if you’d like to learn what it is. It certainly shouldn’t hurt anything to remove it, but it probably isn’t the source of your problem.

Albrechto is definitely a source of your problem. See http://malwaretips.com/blogs/albrechto-virus-removal/ and get rid of it.

Shockwave flash object should be safe.

I can’t figure out what eveevalidator is, so you should probably leave it alone for now.

Findwide is a virus, and it needs to be removed. See http://malwaretips.com/blogs/remove-findwide-search-virus/

I hate to put too fine a point on it, but someone who can’t be trusted to use your computer has been installing software carelessly. If more than one person uses this computer, it’s time to setup accounts for each person and restrict their access to install programs.


#17

Whitey, and everyone else, thanks a million.
My own research showed exactly the same things. I’m gonna excise those demons for sure.
This is a great place.

Oh, I’m the only user from new, out of the box. I didn’t download any of these, they snuck in through some back door.


#18

And the winner is…
getting rid of albrechto seems to have helped.
getting rid of findwide seems to have helped A LOT!

Previous changes were to uninstall
TidyNetwork and
highlightly

I’m keeping a printed record for future reference.
I thank you all. Now I’ll let this thread go and we can get back to helping people with CAR problems!!!

Thanks again,
TSM

I’m printing


#19

@TSM, please take the time to read the articles at the links I provided. They explain how you accidentally installed those programs.


#20

I will do so. Thanks again.
TSM