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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Pornography On Friendster?

I recently saw a flurry of Friendste postings in my "Notice Board" regarding different users who suddenly found themselves confronted with pornography sites appearing in their Internet browser. Several of the postings ranted and raved against Friendster for allowing such inappropriate advertising. Now I have to ask, Do you really think Friendster would consent to porn being advertised? Does it make sense that Friendster would turn away users who would be offended? Friendster is a major Social Networking site, that is supposed to be family friendly, at least for those who are over the age of 13 years.

About three weeks ago, I too experienced the sudden appearance of a pornography site in my Internet browser (I use Internet Explorer 7) while surfing Friendster. After recovering from the initial shock, I immediately began researching possible reasons for this unacceptable intrusion. It turns out, my Internet browser settings had been hijacked. Yes, hijacked! Unknown to me, a malicious virus had infected my computer. This particular virus, some people call it malware, has the ability to redirect your browser to another site... thus the pornography appears without warning.

This virus has a couple of nasty tricks that you should be alert to! First, it places itself in more than one location in you computer. It is not easily detected by many anti virus programs and can be difficult to remove. Many anti virus programs may detect it and "clean" it, but the problem is that only one of its locations is cleaned... when you restart your computer, the virus reinstalls itself from the 2nd location in which it is hiding and the problem repeats itself all over again!

So how do you get rid of this nasty bug? Well, I contacted a couple of different anti virus program experts and learned some valuable information. The experts recommend that you do not rely on any single program to protect your computer. Every anti virus program has its strengths and weaknesses. You should use at least two different programs to help protect your computer; which brings up another challenge, compatibility. If you have more than one anti virus program on your computer, you should make sure that they are compatible with one another. If they are not, then you could render both ineffective and remain unprotected. You have to do a little research to determine if two different programs are compatible with each other; check with the vendors before you purchase.

Back to my story of the users who were ranting against Friendster. I sent a message to one of my "Friends" explaining the phenomenon of the malware and offered the solution to the problem. You know what I got back as a response? A reply that made it clear that I was not to be believed and that it was clearly the fault of Friendster! That user is no longer in my "Friends" list.

Using two different anti virus programs, I was able to successfully remove the malware from my computer and all is well again, at least until the next nasty bug is released to the world!

For those of you who may not have the financial resources to afford a top name anti virus program (Norton, McAfee, etc.), here are a couple of free programs that are worth checking into:

Spybot Search & Destroy

Avast! Home Edition

You may also be interested in a comprehensive solution (Anti Virus, Registry Cleaner, Optimizer, etc.) offered by iObit:

Advanced System Care V3

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