Security Concerns

Yesterday, after many years of safe web-surfing, I did something stupid. I clicked on one of those cute little ads for to get an answer to an IQ test problem. (I used to use Adblock Plus and think I will have to go back, as much as I believe in supporting the sites I use.) What happened next was a mini-nightmare.

A totally unwanted web page came up in my browser. When I tried to kill it, it started opening windows and more windows. I was able to close Firefox, but when I ran Bleachbit to clean up the Firefox database I kept getting error messages.

Since I didn’t know what (besides Firefox) was affected, I reinstalled Ubuntu. Because I test alphas, I have the steps to a reinstall down to a science. 🙂 However, I want to warn anyone else – if you don’t know what an ad leads to, don’t click on it. Even though Linux is safe, Javascript, the browser, and flash aren’t so much.

To keep myself from clicking on something unintelligent again, I have installed Adblock Plus. I will just have to turn it off on the one political website where I actually want to see the ads.

While on the subject of security, I want to admit one more bone-headed thing I did, in the hopes it will save others from making the same mistake. For almost 4 years, I used Linksys, set up without a password, to attach to the family wifi network. I only found out that my internet connection was being hijacked when someone downloaded an illegal TV show and got my internet cut off. Needless to say, the next time we set up a router, it had a password.

If I save one person from making my mistakes, being embarrassed in print will be worth it. 😉

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4 Responses to “Security Concerns”

  1. 1 reformedmusings August 10, 2010 at 1:34 am

    Happens to all of us at least once. I clicked on something stupid during my final weeks on Windoze years ago and got the same thing. I knew better but the mouse actuator malfunctioned. I pulled my network cable and then used my various anti-malware stuff to clean it up. No long term harm, but a pain to clean.

    It’s a jungle out there and we all look like tasty food. I’m glad your situation worked out OK. I don’t know if you are familiar with Web of Trust (WOT), but I’ve found it helpful in highlighting some of the mines in the field using Firefox.

  2. 2 ubuntulady August 10, 2010 at 2:50 am

    WOT sounds like an excellent idea. I put in Adblock already – if you can’t see ’em, you can’t click on ’em. However, I need to look into WOT.

    • 3 reformedmusings August 12, 2010 at 12:08 am

      It’s not perfect, but I’ve found it very useful. One of my favorite sites came up red for a while because activists on the opposite pole campaigned to trash its ratings, but that can be overridden. But I find it extremely helpful in searches because it puts the ratings beside every site link returned. That can keep one from clicking on a search return that’s pure trouble but is mixed in with OK sites.

  3. 4 ubuntulady August 12, 2010 at 12:47 am

    I’ll have to remember to include WOT among my “must installs” on Firefox.

    Thank you for warning me that it was gamed at least that one time, though. I don’t like it when people game ratings sites. There was a whole group – the Digg Patriots – that voted together on very short notice and with multiple accounts to crush anything they thought was too liberal before it ever got to the front page. I have read an article concerning the possible gaming of Digg to kill Linux posts. All of this is against the terms of use, of course.

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