Malware on dotTech, Part 2: Possible solution – need feedback please!

As mentioned earlier today, I have gotten numerous complaints by dotTechies about “malware being on dotTech”, specifically related to advertisements and/or page redirections. Since I have not been able to reproduce these problems myself, I have diagnosed these problems to the best of my ability and have applied a possible solution. So what I need now is the help of all dotTechies. As I mentioned, I have not experience any malware problems myself so I don’t know if my solution has worked or not. So, please, please tell me if from now on your anti-virus or anti-spyware or anti-malware or whatever security software comes up with a warning when you visit dotTech. Please tell me if you are redirected to any other page (scumware page or otherwise) when you visit dotTech. Please tell me of any other unusual behavior when you visit dotTech.

Furthermore, if you are one of the people that experienced malware/redirection problems when visiting dotTech, please make sure your computer is clean because it may be that your computer is infested and dotTech is just an innocent bystander. So, do a full computer scan with your computer software; if you don’t have security software, get some. Also, clean your browser cache and cookies with CCleaner. Both these steps should mitigate the chance of the problem being on your end.

On a similar note, me and a few other dotTechies have noticed dotTech hanging/loading slowly/lagging recently. If the hanging and malware problems are related, dotTech should no longer be lagging. If you still experience slow loading, please let me know.

If all the problems stop happening, then we know that all the problems are from the source I suspect. If the problems still occur, then I am wrong and will continue to try to get this fixed.

Thanks for everyone’s help and understanding.

Take care,
Ashraf

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52 comments

  1. cybergeek

    i have never had a problem on dottech, but i can’t seem to post and have it stick on gaotd. frustrating when one has something of value to say and it seems to be censured. i wouldn’t put it in the censorship category, but it seems odd that i can type everything into the field, but when i click the submit button, it seems to go into oblivion never to be seen by anyone or even to be retrieved by me by clicking the back button. what’s up with that? i was using another account, but changed login and it is still happening. i actually got a message through earlier, but now it is gone. i was looking to find others with the same problem. any help would be greatly appreciated. any very good free antimalware would be appreciated. my trial of kapersky is up so i’m with ms right now.

  2. Ashraf
    Author/Mr. Boss

    You guys are brave waiting 2-5 minutes for this page to load to let me know. I myself am getting dismayed by the load times LOL!

    After couple of hours of trying to get some troubleshooting down, it finally dawned on me to ask for a reboot. Hopefully things should be back to normal now.

  3. Ashraf
    Author/Mr. Boss

    @Everyone: Ya I have experience these slow loading problems (again) today. I am in the process of troubleshooting what is up. Worse comes worse, if it is a webhost problem I will have to switch to another webhost.

  4. MikeR

    Ah. Hmmm.

    Despite my earlier post at #16, things don’t seem to be back to normal as hoped.

    I saw the informaive posts from Mags and Rocky in my email messages, so instead of linking from there, instead cleared my browser cache and everything else on this computer using CCleaner and jv16powertools.

    So I’ve just landed here with a ‘clean’ PC.

    Access time to home page, fully loaded:

    2 minutes 14 seconds.

    Access time to this page fully loaded, using link from home page:

    1 minute 25 seconds.

    I don’t have the world’s fastest broadband connection but even by the standards of what I’m used to, that’s almost too sl-ooooo-w to be manageable.

    Is it a webhost problem? Or WordPress related?

    ‘Tis certainly strange that I’m not experiencing any remotely similar slow down in the case of other websites I’m currently accessing.

  5. Mags

    Very strange……….

    Up until today I’ve not experienced any problems with your site. No malware/spyware/scumware etc. no redirection, no lagging with your site.

    Even early this morning there wasn’t any problems.

    Then……… the second time I visited your site, there was a lag in trying to get to your site.

    This is my fourth attempt, and I timed the lag this time by reloading the page. It took approx. 2 min to load.

    Strange………………..

  6. Bill

    Hi Ashraf,

    I visit the site every day without a problem, I use Avast, Malwarebytes and Ccleaner regularly but bare in mind I am ancient and lagging to some people could be the blink of an eye to me. Keep up the great work.

  7. Someguy

    I also have lag (loads around 4 sec) but I’ll run a couple antiviruses and see if any of them have relation to website.I’m very good with registry and stuff like that:). So if i find anything related to this side, I’ll tell you.

  8. MikeR

    @ Giovanni:

    Il suo inglese è perfetto!

    And yes, I agree, if Ashraf can find some time from making $millions from this website of his, a review of Avast would be much appreciated.

    Ciao, Giovanni!

    :lol:

  9. Giovanni (King of Freebies...LOL!!)

    Hi Mike!!

    Thanks for your comment and sorry for my (poor) English in comparison with yours and that of the other Dottechies readers of course…arghhh…LOL!!!!!

    As for my (maybe too long) above comment frankly I don’t think that it was so OT…LOL!

    Ashraf has released an article here showing a possible solution to deal with malware problems surrounding his website right now.

    He said, I quote, “So, do a full computer scan with your computer software; if you don’t have security software, get some”.

    But in his previous review, where he talked about FREE SECURITY PROGRAMS, he didn’t suggest to download neither AVAST nor SUPERANTISPYWARE PORTABLE VERSION as tools to prevent and remove spyware from an infected PC, maybe because he didn’t know them in depth at that time and still didn’t try them as instead I did a couple of days ago.

    Now AVAST 5 has definitely overtaken AVIRA (see AV COMPARATIVES report for more information) as best FREEWARE AV available on the market now and SUPERANTISPYWARE PORTABLE VERSION is at present probably the best malware removal tool out there.

    I think that if dottechies readers had installed on their PC the new version of AVAST, with the WEB SHIELD GUARD option enabled, the chances to get a virus or spyware here from nasty ADS would actually be close to zero!!!

    What do you make of it??

    So a review of “Avast! Free Antivirus 5.0.377 Final version” could actually be th best solution to solve the current issue mentioned by Ashraf in this article…

    In other words a new REVIEW of the last version of AVAST, as well as SUPERANTISPYWARE portable version as spyware removal tool, is needed….get the drift Ashraf?? LOL!!

  10. MikeR

    @ Giovanni:

    D’you know, the fact that you’ve gone so spectacularly off-topic doesn’t bother me at all. :P

    No-one has produced more enthusiastic posts than you have on dot.tech and I for one am thankful!

    Now then. Avast AV. . .

    Like presumably (though I keep making a right mess of things with my presumptions nowadays), like presumably countless thousands of other Avira AV users out there, I too have finally chucked in the towel over the updates situation.

    You can only go so long, screaming at the frozen updater and weeping for the return of the Avira nag screen. Or, well, maybe.

    I’ve replaced Avira with Avast. And the verdict is. . . Good Gawd, what have I been doing all this time, using any AV other than Avast?

    You’re right, Giovanni. It’s a fantastic product (and yes, the background scanning “Live Shields” — much to my surprise — do indeed work.)

    Freebies really don’t get much better than this. Well done, Avast!

  11. Giovanni (King of Freebies...LOL!!)

    Hey Ashraf!!

    If this problem is caused by some nasty ADS you added on your site, then I suggest you download this nice Firefox addon:

    http://www.sitetruth.com/downloads/adrater.html

    Have you already tried it?

    As for the on-demand antispyware scanner my suggestion is to use A-SQUARED 4.5 (free or paid version) along with the portable version of SUPERANTISPWARE which seems to me far superior to detect malware than other similar app such as Malwarebyte’s antimalware:

    http://www.howtogeek.com/howto/9283/superantispyware-portable-is-the-must-have-spyware-removal-tool-you-need/

    With this terrific tool you don’t even need any internet connection to scan your infected PC sonce the scanner already contains the latest definitions.

    For better results please use both tools in SAFE MODE after disabling the SYSTEM RESTORE POINT.

    Enjoy!!

    Giovanni

    P.S. Breaking News!! Hey Ahraf, have you seen the last AV comparatives report, that, as everybody knows, is one of the most respected antivirus comparison tests in the world??

    Well believe it or not but according to them AVIRA ANTIVIR is no longer the best FREE AV out there because of its high FALSE POSITIVE detection rate which is too high when compared with other FREE Antivirus applications such as AVAST HOME EDITION for instance that is at present the BEST FREE AV out there, according to AV COMPARATIVES of course.

    Please note that the last FREE version of AVAST (vers 5) includes a set of great feautures that any other freeware AV out there (including AVIRA) is able to provide free of charge, such as the “File System Shield” option, the “Web Shield” feature for scanning all visited web pages checking all files, pages and java scripts downloaded from the web, the “P2P Shield” and “IM Shield” to check files downloaded using P2P programs or those downloaded while using instant messaging or “chat” programs and above all the “Mail Shield” option to scan all incoming/outgoing e-mails for malware including SSL communication (gmail.com).

    Even the award-winning shareware AVIRA PREMIUM doesn’t provide such great features altogether, does it?? LOL!

    And it’s not an accident that GOOGLE has recently chosen this product for inclusion in Google Pack (did you know it, Ahraf??).

    You can find a very detailed review of Avast 5.0 here:

    http://www.virusbtn.com/files/Avast-Jan2010.pdf

    On SOFTPEDIA (see link below) the previous version (4.7) got an overall “excellent” rating from SOFTPEDIA EDITOR but vers 5 fixed all the bugs detected in the previous one, meaning that the new version is more than excellent and probably close to perfection.

    http://www.softpedia.com/reviews/windows/Avast-Home-Edition-Review-33200.shtml

    So, as matters stand, I think you’d better review your nice article about the best FREWARE Security applications you wrote here a few monts ago, taking into account the last “developments” in this field.

    At present I’m trying a new revolutionary and very promising indeed (FREE) AV that seems even better than AVIRA, AVAST and/or MSE itself as far as the MALWARE DETECTION RATE and resource consumption are concerned.

    But, given its great features mentioned above, I’ll probaly migrate to “Avast! Free Antivirus 5.0.377 Final version” soon.

    Say goodbye to AVIRA false positives and UPDATES problems once and for all!!

    ADIOS AVIRA….LOL!!

  12. MikeR

    @ #20, Ozzie: oh dear.

    Seems I really have been been infected with the assume_wronglyTrj, evidence of which is manifested by the number of instances a victim proceeds from false premise to erroneous conclusion within a short period of time.

    In my case, it’s getting serious. . .

    :oops:

  13. Helen

    I’ve had no problems either with load times or with redirects. I run Firefox with Ad Block Plus but it’s disabled for dottech. I’ve just scanned with Avira and with SuperAntiSpyware and found no problems.

  14. Kakym

    @karen:

    I wished I had found your comments concerning file minimizer it would have saved a few hours! However, upon reflection one of the occasions when I was redirected by this site was when trying to look through the forums whilst trying to resolve this problem.

  15. future hacker

    I hadn’t had any problems with DotTech recently. It never lags and none of AVG (I update daily) or PC tools firewall Plus are detecting a problem with your site. I also made a full scan to my computer and found no sign of threats. I hope you solve this mystery…it’s creeping me out and giving DotTech a bad reputation.
    Oh! By the way, from now on I should call you Mr ashraf, I’m too young to call you Ashraf.

  16. karen

    @Kakym:

    I posted something about this in the forums. That Balazio (???) Picture Minimizer caused me lots of problems trying to do Run as Administrator … from the right context menu. It was as if the developer did not pay for a third-party tool which was used to modify context menus, so the end-user got stuck with this annoying nag message.

    Uninstalling it (and rebooting) did fix that problem.

  17. MikeR

    Whoops: old age and amnesia overwhelm again.

    I meant to add: in addition to assuming that the slow load phenomenon was down to the webhost or a WordPress glitch, I also made another unthinking assumption.

    That the recent intensive attack on Ashraf’s reputation in GOTD’s own comment section was a, er, coincidence. . .

  18. MikeR

    Of course, had I but a quarter of the brain-power of Karen, Ozzie and several other dot techies, I too would’ve commented on the fact that dot.tech loading has been s-l-ooo-w recently.

    However, I think I took the view (only “think”, because it wasn’t a conscious decision) that this was most likely attributable either to the webhost or WordPress.

    Anyway. . . Having read of others’ experiences, I’ve just re-booted and used CCleaner on the crap cache. I’ve also run jv16powertools’ History cleaner, because it invariably finds stuff that CCleaner doesn’t.

    As was the case just now. Anyway. With everything cleared, I’ve come direct to dot.tech from my Links tab in IE (not via Google search results, as some others have done) and yes: the loading time is certainly faster than it has been.

    Hope this helps.

    * Quick note to Ozzie if he’s around yet: some pretty darn good detective work of yours on that other thread.

    ;-)

  19. Kakym

    Recently started visiting your site and have had two instances of redirection in which both attempted to coerce me into installing software no doubt of a malevolent nature. Using internet explorer through sandbox with avira which indicates my system is clean as does secondary scans with security essentials.

    Whether related or not I took advantage of a GOTD called Picture minimizer which I believe brought with it an unwanted installation of “Context Menu Platinum” which recently requested, in an anoying locking up the computer kind of way, registration. Nothing lists this software as being installed and I’m normally quite diligent in reading the blurb before clicking anything which leads me to believe the aforementioned installation to be the likely culprit.

    I’ve uninstalled the picture/file minimizer software and waiting to see how things go.

  20. haakon

    Never had any problems on this site- and visit more than once a day.
    None of my antivirus, malware or spyware apps detected anything…. Maybe I have just been lucky- OR what is reported did NOT come from dottech?
    Thanks Ashraf for all your work!!

  21. Ozzie

    Eek, just did a Trojan Killer scan and have found a number of trojans on my system. Don’t know how that happened as it was clean last week. Curious, as I don’t visit dodgy sites (that I know of, at least). I’m not saying it’s related, of course … just coincidental. Better get going cleaning them up …

  22. Locutus

    I… *looks around* use AdBlock Plus. Don’t tell the other web sites I visit.
    I… *looks around* also do something that’s not so nice but improves load time… increase my number of connections.

  23. Ashraf
    Author/Mr. Boss

    @Rocky: Thanks for the feedback. It is greatly appreciated it.

    @joa1: True the cookies are somewhat of a problem, although it is impossible to server ads without them now. The thing is, though, I don’t think all these complaints and redirections and/or malware is related to cookies. Thanks for the feedback nonetheless.

    @Aang: Hmm. I know Online Armor blocks ads not necessarily because they are malware but rather because they can be malware. So an Online Armor block does not necessarily mean an infected ad. However, it is very interesting to know Online Armor/a-squared was blocking some ads on dotTech. Thanks for the feedback; greatly appreciated it.

    @David Roper: Thanks for the feedback. I am also unable to replicate the problems but I have too many complaints to just ignore it.

  24. Aang

    I think your site is now clean, my friend.
    For some time ago my Online Armor and a2-squared AM (both with real-time guard function is enabled) for some reason always blocking some of your ads, and I always agreed to block it.
    Now it seems no more warnings on my computer about anything suspicious of your ads.
    Hopefully this can be a significant input.

  25. joa1

    I visit when I get your emails, and have had no problems with redirections. However, ZoneAlarm does clean up both technocrati and doubleclick ads’ cookies, etc., when these are found on my browser’s cache… but this is not a problem with dottech, it is just general… i did find some worms and trojans trying to sneak into my machines lately, but honestly, cannot track those back to dottech either. hope this helps! All the best, and glad to see you back.