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Monday, September 14, 2009

Hours of my life, wasted by The New York Times

After encountering this a couple of times over the weekend, I concluded that I had a computer virus. I performed all sorts of scans, and even downloaded and ran some extra anti-malware programs, to see what the problem was. It turns out, my computer was fine. The problem was occurring only when I was browsing through The New York Times, and it was they who were infected. Their mistake -- my hours.

The scam was a rogue popup that tried to sell a worthless security program by informing the viewer that his or her computer had been compromised. I wonder how many readers fell for it, and what, if anything, the Times will do to make them whole.

Meanwhile, I had turned off automatic Windows updates back in May, because they were annoying me, and I had neglected to turn them back on. When I went into diagnostic mode over the apparent virus, I discovered that there were about 50 updates of one thing or another that I had missed. I went ahead and installed them all -- another lo-o-o-o-o-ong down stretch with no discernible benefit. Maybe the updates will come in handy someday, and this episode will be revealed as a blessing in disguise. But certainly I have fallen further out of love with all things Windows.

Comments (15)

You read the Times? The Times? The Times. Well, yes, I suppose um...well yes, reasonable people read...The Times? NPR, too, huh.

I don't do much NPR.


That sounds like what I got a few days back.. it happened when I went to a linked NY Times article... I ran all the security scans I have installed and restarted my computer, so far it hasnt returned...

My Antivirus program...Avast, caught it as soon as I opened a page at the NYT. It said it was a "trojan horse" and blocked the ad right away. I never even saw what the ad was. No harm, no foul. Not bad for a free anti-virus program. I recommend it.
I havent had a single virus incident since I have been using it. (A couple years now.)

As a system administrator for a large deployment of Windows workstations, we have to deal with this on an incredible scale. Luckily, Microsoft has given the enterprise customers some tools to make it much easier. Either way, once a month (Patch Tuesday) we have to tell our Windows Software Update Server to download all the new patches, test them to make sure they don't break any of our existing software, and then release them to the 2000+ workstations under our perview.

We've set them to check in at 2:00a so it doesn't annoy our users.

My machine was infected by the virus on Saturday--I had to take it to the local "PC Doctors" on MLK to have my hard drive disinfected.

The geeks told me my Avira antivirus was too weak, and sold me ESET NOD32 Antivirus/AntiSpyware for an additional $40.

Maybe it's time to go Apple?

None of those problems on my Mac...

I had the same thing happen to me as well this past weekend when I was on the NYT site. Luckily I figured out that it was a scam after a few minutes, and I got out of it by shutting everything down and rebooting.

Apple isn't the answer either. I got my first Mac about 25 years ago. One of Apple's biggest games is planned obsolescence. Steve and his buddies have been doing this for a long time now. They suck you in with very cool technology then keep "updating" and dropping support so that you're trapped into buying new software. Oh! Surprise! It won't run on your old computer so you need to buy a new one--as little as a grand.

Again, the supposed regulators in Washington aren't doing a thing for us.

Don gets first prize for the day in the non-sequitur category.

so thaaaaat's what it was.

Yeah, it visited my screen, exactly as you told, Jack. I detoured for about 30 minutes as I thought to get around it. Yet my nerves remained on edge as I returned to my browse mainline.

If I go to NYT directly (instead of indirectly thru bojack), I get no problem. Folks can copy-n-paste this -- NOT 'click on' it -- as one sort of test.


(Folks may realize in the browser address field it is optional to include, and may be omitted, the "h t t p : / /" prefix ... and also the "www" prefix in most instances.)

Jack, slowly slowly it seems dawning that venerable 'security-blanket' Brand Names in American commerce -- such as NY Times, CBS News, Microsoft Windows, Google, McDonald's, Wells Fargo, Disney, ... you get the idea -- all ARE, if not your enemy in full-face confrontation, at least ARE antipathetic and antagonistic to your continued existence ... as in, your living your life. Give 'em all your money and die, that's their motto. And they're winning.

Whatcha gonna do about it? In a small step for you, man, end Windows, start Open Systems (a.k.a. Linux).

The big step for humankind is de-legitimizing the USGovt. In a series of uncertain steps which I call the Movement to a U.S. Consti2tion. Or: Constitutional Law, Release 2.0

Mainly, chuck it all -- the whole USA-rag enchilada, and just start over. Seems like one early step is to revert to 50 separate sovereign-border areas, so that everything which has the word 'national' or 'federal' or an equivalent basis in its entitlement is }poof{ non-existent, disestablished. Like, the Brand Name commercial enterprises doing business coast-to-coast. They could re-apply for business licensing on a state-by-state basis.

And States could re-ordain themselves in various leagues together and regional working groups, and so on -- like the way the 'balkanized' USSR is going on. Maybe the "Original 13" States would rejoin in a kind of an Oldies-Goldies remake 'heritage' of the E.Seaboard group ... although the other regions don't have to honor the paper-money currency (or the NY Times) circulated in that Seaboard region.

And so on ...

Don, I had my last Mac for 9 years. I only switched because I wanted a laptop. The friend I gave it to is doing fine with it (a bit pokey, but fine). That is not really planned obsolescence for computers.

It is sad to see people have to go through this kind of pain with viruses.


Play around with this for a week and you'll never go back to Windows or Mac, I promise.

And don, the "supposed regulators in Washington" are not there to protect you from making bad purchasing decisions. If you did your research before buying a Mac you would have discovered their business practices and spent your money elsewhere if you didn't agree with them. If you expect the government to protect you from yourself then you are going to be disappointed.

MSFT (25.30 + 0.10) appears to be allying with the victims of "malvertisements" by pursuing the varmints in court:

I've had no problem reading the NYT online via Safari on an iMac.

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