Pop Up Defense

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Got Pop-Ups?

Recently, a newsgroup visitor to this site reported that he experienced a lot of pop-ups when visiting this site.  Other people on the newsgroup replied, indicating that they did not experience pop-ups here.

Let me assure you:  there are no pop-ups associated with this site!

After checking with some tech gurus, I found that some pop-ups are sneaky -- they don't pop up immediately; rather, they wait until you surf to a few more pages before they pop up.  That way, it is not immediately clear where you picked up the pop up.

Also, since there are no pop-ups on this site and since other people didn't experience pop-ups here, it is more probable that the victim picked up some adware or spyware along the way.  This is very bad -- at best, such hidden applications are annoying; at worst, they can be damaging.  You should do everything you can to avoid getting these little beasts & you should remove any that you've picked up along the way!

The Good News:  Unlike e-mail spam, there are some very effective ways to protect yourself from pop-ups, adware, and spyware.  Some quick definitions:

Pop-ups:  Little advertisement windows that pop up when you open a new web page.  Most pop on top of the window you open, but some pop under the window so that when you close the window, the pop-under window becomes visible.  

Adware:  Little software applications that install themselves onto your computer and creates pop-ups.  This applications get onto your computer when you visit certain sites or when you install other applications (often "free" games & utilities).  Some nastier ones will hijack your homepage (meaning, they'll change your home page to some place else, and even if you change them back, they'll change them again until you remove the adware).

Spyware or Spybots:  Little software applications that install themselves onto your computer and sends your personal information to its owners over the Internet, typically without your knowledge.  Moderate ones will simply track your surfing habits.  Nasty ones will look for passwords or credit card numbers, or they can take over your system & do really nasty stuff.

Bottom line:  these are annoying & potentially very damaging beasts and must be addressed.

Here's What You Can Do:  You can stay off the Internet, or ...

  • Get yourself a pop-up blocker.  Some ISPs (like mine, Earthlink) offer pop-up blockers to their customers.  Earthlink's pop-up blocker hasn't failed me yet.  If your ISP doesn't offer a pop-up blocker, you can do an Internet search.  The Google Toolbar is a popular way to block pop-ups.  Alternatively, some browsers, like Mozilla (available for free), have pop-up blockers built in.  These blockers will stop pop-ups cold.

  • Get that adware & spyware off your computer.  There are some applications that are free & very popular for this purpose:

  • Prevent adware & spyware from being installed on your system in the first place. Here is a free application for doing that:  SpywareBlaster (http://www.javacoolsoftware.com/spywareblaster.html)

  • Follow the instructions with these applications, keep the definitions up date, and run them often (2-4 times a month).  Run them all -- each catches bad guys that the other misses. 

Note:  while each of the applications recommended here are "free", all request donations.  They deserve it.  I've donated to them all.  Will you?