Beta

Slashdot: News for Nerds

×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

FTC Shuts Down Pop-Up Extortion Firm

CmdrTaco posted more than 10 years ago | from the thats-just-crazy dept.

The Almighty Buck 472

An anonymous reader writes "The FTC has shut down D Squared, a company that's been spamming via the Windows Messenger Pop-Up Service. In some cases, ads would pop-up every 10 minutes, and only advertised a $30 product that disabled similar pop-up ads. The FTC is slamming the extortion gauntlet on them. Interestingly, the FTC only caught onto all this because one of their own commissioners was among those getting spammed."

cancel ×

472 comments

Mozilla does the same thing (-1, Offtopic)

Ridgelift (228977) | more than 10 years ago | (#7410897)

From the article:

"POP-UP ADVERTISING is a fact of life," said Howard Beales

Uh, no it's not Howard. I use Mozilla with pop-up supression [mozilla.org] as do thousands of others. $30? Try free.

Re:Mozilla does the same thing (0, Offtopic)

RobertB-DC (622190) | more than 10 years ago | (#7410961)

Don't forget Opera [opera.com] , which has configurable pop-up options built in -- accept, refuse, open in background, open requested only. I always run with "open requested only", so I have yet to see a Pop-Up I didn't like.

Except when my wife is running her virus portal, I mean IE browser.

Re:Mozilla does the same thing (1)

johndoesovich (691840) | more than 10 years ago | (#7410963)

And this popup supression you have on Mozilla will stop messenger popups? Damn, tell me how you did that? I run IE with google popup blocker, it has yet to block any messenger popups.

No it doesn't (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7410966)

JESSICA LYNCH TOOK IT UP THE ASS FROM A BUNCH ON IRAQIS.

If you don't know what I'm talking about, read this [go.com]

Turns out the Iraquis have a little Kobe Bryant blood in them. They like the old corn hole, too.

Five minutes after Lynch was captured, they're passing her around like a pack of smokes, fucking her in the ass, turning her into their own personal goatse man.

Sweet

*_l_y_n_c_h_s_e_x_*_l_y_n_c_h_s_e_x_*_l_y_n_c_h_*_
l_______________________________________________l_ _
y_/_____\_____________\____________/____\_______y_ _
n|_______|_____________\__________|______|______n_ _
c|_______`._____________|_________|_______:_____c_ _
h`________|_____________|________\|_______|_____h_ _
s_\_______|_/_______/__\\\___--___\\_______:____s_ _
e__\______\/____--~~__________~--__|_\_____|____e_ _
x___\______\_-~____________________~-_\____|____x_ _
*____\______\_________.--------.______\|___|____*_ _
l______\_____\______//_________(_(__>__\___|____l_ _
y_______\___.__C____)_________(_(____>__|__/____y_ _
n_______/\_|___C_____)/IRAQIS\_(_____>__|_/_____n_ _
c______/_/\|___C_____)__LOVE_|__(___>___/__\____c_ _
h_____|___(____C_____)\THE_HOLE_//__/_/_____\___h_ _
s_____|____\__|_____\\_________//_(__/_______|__s_ _
e____|_\____\____)___`---~()~--'_____________|__e_ _
x____|__\___________________________________/_|_x_ _
*___|______________/_____________\____________|_*_ _
l___|_____________|_______________\___________|_l_ _
y___|__________/_/_________________\___________|y_ _
n___|_________/_/___________________|__________|n_ _
c__|_________/_/________|____|_______|_________|c_ _
h__|__________|_________|____|_______|_________|h_ _
*_l_y_n_c_h_s_e_x_*_l_y_n_c_h_s_e_x_*_l_y_n_c_h_*_


Important Stuff: Please try to keep posts on topic. Try to reply to other people's comments instead of starting new threads. Read other people's messages before posting your own to avoid simply duplicating what has already been said. Use a clear subject that describes what your message is about. Offtopic, Inflammatory, Inappropriate, Illegal, or Offensive comments might be moderated. (You can read everything, even moderated posts, by adjusting your threshold on the User Preferences Page) If you want replies to your comments sent to you, consider logging in or creating an account.

Important Stuff: Please try to keep posts on topic. Try to reply to other people's comments instead of starting new threads. Read other people's messages before posting your own to avoid simply duplicating what has already been said. Use a clear subject that describes what your message is about. Offtopic, Inflammatory, Inappropriate, Illegal, or Offensive comments might be moderated. (You can read everything, even moderated posts, by adjusting your threshold on the User Preferences Page) If you want replies to your comments sent to you, consider logging in or creating an account.

Important Stuff: Please try to keep posts on topic. Try to reply to other people's comments instead of starting new threads. Read other people's messages before posting your own to avoid simply duplicating what has already been said. Use a clear subject that describes what your message is about. Offtopic, Inflammatory, Inappropriate, Illegal, or Offensive comments might be moderated. (You can read everything, even moderated posts, by adjusting your threshold on the User Preferences Page) If you want replies to your comments sent to you, consider logging in or creating an account.

Re:No it doesn't (-1)

Ads are broken (718513) | more than 10 years ago | (#7411016)

This is actually rather well done. Notice the missing cock and the customized 'lynchsex' border. Very timely too -- the story just broke. Well done AC!

Re:Mozilla does the same thing (1)

Saint Aardvark (159009) | more than 10 years ago | (#7410967)

Windows Messenger service != pop-up browser windows. How did this get modded informative?

Re:Mozilla does the same thing (1)

sharkey (16670) | more than 10 years ago | (#7410968)

Mozilla can suppress the Windows Messenger service?

RTFA (2, Insightful)

Paulo (3416) | more than 10 years ago | (#7410969)

They are talking about "Windows Messenger", which has nothing to do with web browsers.

Re:Mozilla does the same thing (1)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 10 years ago | (#7410973)

This is a COMPLETELY different thing, this has nothing to do with popups on browsers.

This is using DOS's NET SEND command to make dialog boxes pop up on machines that have the messenger service enabled on the internet.

Re:Mozilla does the same thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7410984)

A clever individual, you are. I use Lynx to avoid all the other toxic waste that comes with web pages. I am more leet I guess.

Re:Mozilla does the same thing (1)

ForestGrump (644805) | more than 10 years ago | (#7411071)

leet?
don't you mean 1337?

Re:Mozilla does the same thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7410986)

They're talking about Pop-ups through the Windows Messenger Service, not web based browser pop-ups.

Mozilla or not, you'll get them if you have WinNT, Win2K, WinXP with the messenger service enabled and are not firewalled in some way.

No, it does not (3, Informative)

wowbagger (69688) | more than 10 years ago | (#7410987)

This is not about Javascript pop-up ads, this is about the Windows Messenger service, which is a service that listens to a different port, and will pop up a dialog box when it receives a message from the wire.

This is similar to the service that Novell used to have, and the purpose is for local sysadmins to send out messages like "Server going down in 5 minutes, save your work and log out".

You could have your browser closed, and be doing nothing, and these will still come through.

Now, why the HELL do ISPs allow these packets on the wire, as they are a LAN service only, is beyond me (no, it is not - I understand all too well the stupidity and laziness of most ISPs).

Re:No, it does not (2, Insightful)

Pompatus (642396) | more than 10 years ago | (#7411082)

Now, why the HELL do ISPs allow these packets on the wire, as they are a LAN service only, is beyond me

Not that I totally disagree with you in this instance, but one could also say, "why the HELL do users allow these packets from the internet, as they are a LAN service only, is beyond me". I'd rather have the freedom to decide what I can do with my connection than have someone else "secure" it for me.

Re:No, it does not (3, Insightful)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 10 years ago | (#7411122)

We use them over the 'net all the time, we just have our firewall allow only from trusted sites.

The NET family of commands are more useful than just popup messages.

It's not up to the ISP to block ANYTHING. What's inside those TCP or UDP packets is none of their fucking business.

MOD PARENT DOWN! ITS OFFTOPIC AND DIDNT RTFA! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7411015)

They aren't talking about those kind of pop-ups you assgerbil, they are talking about the windows messenger service ok cocksniff. Now go read the article.

Re:Mozilla does the same thing (2, Informative)

(H)elix1 (231155) | more than 10 years ago | (#7411027)

Uh, no it's not Howard. I use Mozilla with pop-up supression as do thousands of others. $30? Try free

Not sure about XP, but if you do a default Win2K install, the 'messenger' service is set to Automatic - meaning it is up and running when you start your computer. What is key here is this is essentially a windows application, not anything to do with the far too frequent HTML popups everyone is use to.

On Win2K, go to Administrative Tools > Services, find the messenger service with the description "Sends and receives messages transmitted by administrators or by the Alerter service.", stop it, and disable it so you don't have to deal with the (messenger based) pop ups again.

Re:Mozilla does the same thing (1)

ForestGrump (644805) | more than 10 years ago | (#7411120)

no, im using xp and its on by default
and when i started getting them, I turned off the service.
A simple fix without requring me to sintall AOL 9.0 optimized.
-Grump

Great American HERO: Budweiser salutes mr Troll! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7411045)

Wonderful troll, sir!

First post and score +4, informative!

Looks like you've got all the bases covered!

Re:Mozilla does the same thing (1)

Ridgelift (228977) | more than 10 years ago | (#7411069)

Oh, and I'm using Linux...hmmm, guess pop-ups are completely foreign to me. I can see why I misunderstood the article.

(sigh) Guess I'll go back to my serene computing life.

Re:Mozilla does the same thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7411089)

no its doesnt, this article is talking about the Windows - Messenger Service, a service turned on by default in Windows 2k and XP

It's a temporary restraining order.... (-1, Redundant)

i_want_you_to_throw_ (559379) | more than 10 years ago | (#7410898)

not permanent (but let's hope it stays permanent).
Now on the other hand because I have ridiculously high karma and believe in giving credit where credit is due, I would also suggest that M$ should pay a penalty as well for leaving this service on by default.

Ok Redmond disciples, mod me down now.

Re:It's a temporary restraining order.... (1)

jcr (53032) | more than 10 years ago | (#7410931)

I would also suggest that M$ should pay a penalty as well for leaving this service on by default.

Contributory negligence?

Sounds plausible to me.

-jcr

Re:It's a temporary restraining order.... (1)

Xentax (201517) | more than 10 years ago | (#7411049)

I might agree if they're talking about XP Home Edition -- since that's obviously targeted at users/machines not on a corporate network.

But I'd disagree when it comes to XP Pro (or 2k, 2k server, server 2k3, etc.), since they're targeted at corporate users but have non-trivial numbers of home users as well. It's perfectly reasonable to have the service on by default if you expect most of the product's users to be in a corporate environment where the service was intended to be useful (and reasonably shielded from external attackers like this extorting spam company via firewalls).

It's not clear whether MS is turning it to 'off by default' for Home, Pro, or what, or whether it was already off by default for Home.

On a more general note, consider the possibility of culpability simply because the service doesn't care who pushes messages through it. There are parallels to SMS and (to a lesser extent) Bluetooth.

In general, I'd argue against implementors/providers of these services being culpable for negligence damages, because it would weigh a little too heavily on the 'stifle innovation' side of the spectrum (with 'stifle innovation' on one end and 'protect the consumer from malicious users of a service' on the other).

Xentax

Re:It's a temporary restraining order.... (4, Insightful)

ERJ (600451) | more than 10 years ago | (#7411013)

Not Redmond disciples...all software developers.

No offense, but I don't want to be partially responsible when someone abuses something I have written. Sure, you will say, "write better software" but the thing is, even perfectly written software, when used for something it was not designed for, can have bad effects. Should we blaim the person who wrote ping if it is used in some sort of denial of service attack?

Re:It's a temporary restraining order.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7411094)

Should we blaim the person who wrote ping if it is used in some sort of denial of service attack?

No, we should blame the person who wrote the spell-checker.

Re:It's a temporary restraining order.... (1, Insightful)

i_want_you_to_throw_ (559379) | more than 10 years ago | (#7411172)

The people who wrote ping do not have the ability to prevent it's abuse in the same way that Microsoft IS responsible for leaving this abomination on by default. There's a difference.

I wonder what their email addresses are... (3, Funny)

delirium28 (641609) | more than 10 years ago | (#7410904)

Maybe we can get them to shut down the spammers next...

Re:I wonder what their email addresses are... (0, Troll)

wed128 (722152) | more than 10 years ago | (#7410943)

let 'em spam the windows users...it'll encourage them to make the switch...

Re:I wonder what their email addresses are... (1)

gabacho (578642) | more than 10 years ago | (#7411090)

Yeah, let's unsubscribe him from the spam we all get. Maybe they will get a clue.

one of their own commissioners... (4, Insightful)

Threni (635302) | more than 10 years ago | (#7410906)

"Interestingly, the FTC only caught onto all this because one of their own commissioners was among those getting spammed."

There's a lesson for us all, there.

Re:one of their own commissioners... (4, Funny)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 10 years ago | (#7411000)

Yep, so much for government of the people, by the people, for the people. It's only when their self-interest gets nicked that they move their lardarses. Lets hope some of them lose money on $CO..

Re:one of their own commissioners... (1)

jazman_777 (44742) | more than 10 years ago | (#7411132)

Yep, so much for government of the people, by the people, for the people. It's only when their self-interest gets nicked that they move their lardarses.

Right. For example, check kiting is fraud, and you may get prosecuted. Counterfeiting, while it's the same thing (if done in a small way), will bring the whole freakin' thing down on top of your head.

Re:one of their own commissioners... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7411010)

Why do FTC commissioners have their Windows machines connected directly to the Internet?

Script kiddies, the United States Federal Trade Commission is all yours.

Re:one of their own commissioners... (1)

andrew_0812 (592089) | more than 10 years ago | (#7411088)

Very doubtful that the security would be that lax. I imagine that this was probably on the commish's home machine.

GNAA DOESN'T USE MS MESSENGER SERVICE (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7410907)

GNAA (GAY/HOMOSEXUAL NEGRO ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA) is the first organization which
gathers GAY/HOMOSEXUAL NEGROS from all over America and abroad for one common goal - learning to better manage their particular sexual desires.

GNAA is the only GAY/HOMOSEXUAL NEGRO support association in the country with its own TOLL FREE number! Call us any time at 1-888-633-3446. We now have bilingual support as well, in both English and Spanish.

Did you know that millions of people throughout the United States are trapped in homosexuality? Your generous gift to the GNAA will help these people in many ways. In addition, we are a strong supporter of minority rights.

Are you GAY/HOMOSEXUAL [porn-free.org] ?
Are you a NEGRO [rainbowpush.org] ?
Are you a GAY/HOMOSEXUAL NEGRO [truthminers.com] ?

If you answered "Yes" to any of the above questions, then GNAA (GAY/HOMOSEXUAL NEGRO ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA) might be exactly what you've been looking for! Just call us 24/7 at: 1-888-633-3446
Join GNAA (GAY/HOMOSEXUAL NEGRO ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA) today, and enjoy all the benefits of being a full-time GNAA member.
GNAA (GAY/HOMOSEXUAL NEGRO ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA) is the fastest-growing GAY/HOMOSEXUAL NEGRO community with MILLIONS of members all over United States of America. You, too, can be a part of GNAA if you join today. Don't delay, act now to learn to control your sexual desires.

Why not? It's quick and easy - only 3 simple steps!

First, you need to give us a call at 1-888-633-3446 and apply for membership.

Second, you need to succeed in posting a GNAA "first post" on slashdot.org [slashdot.org] , a popular "news for trolls" website

Third (optional), you may join official GNAA irc channel #GNAA on irc.mozilla.org, and talk about membership.
However, to sign up, YOU MUST CALL US AT 1-888-633-3446

The GNAA is an outreach to help this particular demographic, and provide community and other support to them. Donations are tax deductable and may be sent to:
GNAA Donation Center
977 Centerville Turnpike
Virginia Beach, VA 23463


If you have mod points and would like to support GNAA for the betterment of the GAY/HOMOSEXUAL NEGRO and similar communities, please moderate this post up. BY MODERATING THIS UP AS UNDERATED, YOU WON'T BE METAMODERATED!!!

(c) 2003 SHAA enterprises. You are permitted to copy and distribute verbatim copies of this document, but changing it is not allowed. Our statement of belief. [ub.org]

fuck FCC (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7410915)

fuck Powell JR. housenigger for Bush.

Important!! Please try to keep posts on topic!! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7411024)

The other day I had to take a major shit. Late for a meeting I hung my pimply ass out the window and spewed butt dumplings along the cardoor, then a cop pulled me over and ripped a yield sign from the ground and hopped on teh spoke - about that time George bush rained down "shock and awe" on the car filling me with a desire to deepthroat the stickshift. I raced along wagging my engorged nipples at the crippled schoolkids until my passenger vomited partially masticated corn-nuts on a wandering gay rights leader...

Not quite right. (4, Insightful)

Delphix (571159) | more than 10 years ago | (#7410917)

"POP-UP ADVERTISING is a fact of life," said Howard Beales, Director of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection. "But one company has taken pop-ups beyond annoyance."

No it's not. I use Safari (Mac OS) and Mozilla (Linux/Windows) for all my web browsing. And I use Trillian, Gaim, or Fire for IM.

So no, POP-UP Advertising is deifnetly not a fact of life. It's just that too many people are unaware how easy it is to get away from.

Re:Not quite right. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7410995)

how the fuck is that redundant?

In case of slashdotting... (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7410919)

Nov. 6 -- The Federal Trade Commission on Thursday accused a California advertising company of digital-age extortion. D Squared Solutions allegedly hijacked Internet users' computers by bombarding them with Windows Messenger pop-up ads -- as frequently as every 10 minutes. The ads hawked $30 software that promised only to stop future pop-ups from the company. Buy Life Insurance MSNBC Hot List Yellow Pages expedia.com Shopping "POP-UP ADVERTISING is a fact of life," said Howard Beales, Director of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection. "But one company has taken pop-ups beyond annoyance." To consumers, Windows Messenger service works just like familiar Instant Messenger software, though it was actually built into Windows by Microsoft for use by network administrators in corporate networks to send quick bulletins to users. (MSNBC is a Microsoft - NBC joint venture.) According to the FTC, San Diego-based D-Squared tapped into this bulletin feature to barrage consumers with pop-up advertisements hawking their software -- which promised only to stop the pop-up ads. That, Beales said, was extortion. "Advertising that says only 'I'll stop advertising if you pay me' is an easy case," he said. D Squared operated a handful of Web sites devoted to advertising their software, including Blockmessenger.com, Endads.com, SaveYourPrivacy.com. and Fightmessenger.com. D Squared did not immediately return e-mails sent to its San Diego office. The telephone number listed on the domain registration information for the company's Web site wasn't operational. The company made "hundreds of thousands of dollars" in the alleged scam, Beales said. The firm also sold software to third parties enabling them to send out automated pop-up advertising, according to the complaint. On its Web site, the firm said the software could beam 135,000 pop-up ads at consumers every hour, and claimed to have a database of over two billion Internet addresses, according to the FTC. At least one other firm was using the software, Beales said. Advertisement Part of the reason Windows Messenger pop-ups caught the attention of the FTC is that one of the agency's commissioners received one of the advertisements at home, Beales said. But the FTC also received numerous complaints from consumers. Karen McKechnie of Annandale, Va., a consumer who complained to the FTC about D Squared software, said the pop-up messages covered every inch of her computer screen. "People sending messages are infringing on my rights and everyone else's rights to use their computer," she said. In October, Microsoft released a security patch for a flaw in Windows Messenger that allows computer hackers to take control of a Windows computer remotely. But the firm now says Windows Messenger probably isn't necessary for home users, and future versions of its Windows software will come with the service turned off. America Online spokesman Andrew Weinstein said his company began disabling Windows Messenger for AOL users automatically last month, "so most AOL members are already protected." More than 15 million users have had the service shut off by AOL, he said. Hacks, Viruses, Scams & Spam Rewards set on virus writers Who falls for e-mail scams? Alleged phone crammer sued by FTC Microsoft made news earlier this week when it announced creation of a $5 million fund to help authorities catch computer hackers and virus writers. As much as $250,000 will be given as a reward to anyone helping catch those responsible for writing the MSBlaster and SoBig computer worms, which wreaked havoc on the Internet this summer. Beales recommends that current Windows users manually shut the service off to protect themselves from unwanted pop-ups. To disable Messenger: Click Start, and then click Control Panel (or point to Settings, and then click Control Panel). Double-click Administrative Tools. Double-click Services. Double-click Messenger. In the Startup type list, click Disabled. Click Stop, and then click OK. Further instructions are available from Microsoft at its Website

Thats what we get for tolerating advertisements (5, Insightful)

Accord MT (542922) | more than 10 years ago | (#7410922)

Shame on us! We are intruded upon every day and no one complains. Hour by hour, our eyes and ears are bombarded with advertisements, but we accept it all as a fact of life. Why do we allow this tresspass into our daily lives? Why is it considered acceptable to allow companies to push products in our faces every second of every day? Why don't we have laws against advertising?

If someone dumps raw sewage in the streets, the cops will take them away. If someone plays their boom-box too loud in my neighborhood, they will eventually be fined. So why do we allow billboards, huge store signs, and ads on cars, busses, and park benches to pollute our visual environment?

I should be able to go for a walk or ride my bike outside without having to endure constant sales pitches, without having huge logos and brand names all over the place. Don't you agree? Is some corporation's desire to sell a product really more important than our desire of a peaceful environment?

If I stood outside your house all day shouting "Buy My Product!!!" over and over you'd get kind of angry wouldn't you? So why don't you get angry when corporations do the same thing via huge billboards? What exactly is the difference?

Difference between billboards and you shouting: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7411020)

Simple. I can effectively tune out billboards and do all the time. If you were in my living room shouting, I'd have to do other things to "tune you out". duh.

Re:Thats what we get for tolerating advertisements (1)

wed128 (722152) | more than 10 years ago | (#7411025)

"I should be able to go for a walk or ride my bike" why would you want to? you can get bombarded with similar messages at the comfort of your desk!

Re:Thats what we get for tolerating advertisements (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7411041)

The difference is, the huge billboard isn't set up in your front lawn.

I don't like money. I should be able to go in to stores and just take things without the annoying payments that we put up with.

Come on. It is ridiculuous to expect we could get rid of advertising completely.

Re:Thats what we get for tolerating advertisements (1, Informative)

ed333 (684843) | more than 10 years ago | (#7411044)

Advertisements are a necessary part of a free-market economy. Without ads, there would be no broadcast TV or radio. People would not be aware of new products and services that are available for them. Without ads, there would definately be no free internet. The point is, that nothing is free. Someone has to pay for it, and this usually comes in the form of advertising. If companies were not allowed to go around blasting their wares in your face all the time, our economy would collapse. YOu don't want the economy yo collapse, do you?

Re:Thats what we get for tolerating advertisements (3, Funny)

kfg (145172) | more than 10 years ago | (#7411054)

. . .ride my bike outside without having to endure constant sales pitches, without having huge logos and brand names all over the place.

Actually, this is a pretty good description of the appearance of most of the bike riders I see these days.

KFG

Re:Thats what we get for tolerating advertisements (3, Insightful)

dillon_rinker (17944) | more than 10 years ago | (#7411093)

What exactly is the difference?
1. Humans have free speech
2. Corporations are legally human
3. ???
4. PROFIT! (Seriously. If you can declare a personal income of several billion a year, YOU TOO can engage in free speech.)

Re:Thats what we get for tolerating advertisements (1)

Jesrad (716567) | more than 10 years ago | (#7411096)

Advertising borks capitalism. Why should the company with the biggest Communication budget get the benefit of increased sales ? It should only come down to the product's quality and price (the offer), and the customers' needs (the demand).

Re:Thats what we get for tolerating advertisements (3, Insightful)

Quasar1999 (520073) | more than 10 years ago | (#7411145)

Your argument is flawed. I am not forced to look at ads on billboards, or even tv... I am forced to listen to you yelling buy my product, and a boombox, etc...

The difference with pop-up ads, is they are unwanted, and cannot be ignored... If I go to a website with pop-ups, and I don't like them, I can never come back... but with this pop-up advertising, they were there, without any action on my part, and directly interrupted me.

Criminal charges? (0, Troll)

Carnildo (712617) | more than 10 years ago | (#7410928)

I wonder if the same logic could be applied to charge spammers advertising spam blockers with extortion? How about HTML popup ads for popup blockers?

AOL reconfigures your system... ok, fine (4, Interesting)

RobertB-DC (622190) | more than 10 years ago | (#7410930)

You know, when I saw in the article that AOL was automatically turning off users' Messenger Service, I wondered if that was stepping over the line. After all, we Slashdotters *hate* it when someone messes with our configuration without our permission!

Then, I read the process, and remembered doing the same thing to turn off the oh-so-obvious "Your print job is complete" messages from the laser printer in the next cube. It would be so easy for a non-geek to either screw up or freeze like a deer in the headlights:

Beales recommends that current Windows users manually shut the service off to protect themselves from unwanted pop-ups.
To disable Messenger:
* Click Start, and then click Control Panel (or point to Settings, and then click Control Panel).
* Double-click Administrative Tools.
* Double-click Services.
* Double-click Messenger.
* In the Startup type list, click Disabled. Click Stop, and then click OK.


Not to stereotype AOLers, but considering what their tech support [rinkworks.com] would face if newbies were given those instructions, I think they did the right thing to shut off a service that nobody uses anyway.

I'm trying to think of why the Messenger Service was a good thing in the first place. I recall way back before Win95, we used to prank each other with dire "system messages". Was that all it was ever good for?

Re:AOL reconfigures your system... ok, fine (4, Interesting)

TopShelf (92521) | more than 10 years ago | (#7410994)

The merits of Messenger Service may be debatable, but the fact that it is activated by default in Windows installs is downright absurd...

Re:AOL reconfigures your system... ok, fine (1)

deadcasuals (74571) | more than 10 years ago | (#7411053)

c:\> net send coworkers_machine Lunch?
c:\> net send coworkers_machine Smoke break?
c:\> net send coworkers_machine Beer night?

That's about all I've ever used it for...

Nothing hampers a programmer's creativity as much as a compiler.

Re:AOL reconfigures your system... ok, fine (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7411081)

It's good for Network Admins. Let's say you're going to reboot the Mail server because of some problem that requires you reboot it now (as opposed to a maintenance window). Well, "net send /domain:whatever The mail server is being rebooted. Your e-mail usage will be temporarily interrupted."

That way, you only get calls from the 50% of the people who are so stupid as to click "OK" without reading the message, instead of the 100% of the people in your building you are too stupid to understand that glitches occasionally happen and e-mail might not be available for 1 minute of the day.

Yeah, you geniouses, tell me glitches don't happen "if you're a good sysadmin". Great, thanks. Would it sooth the super-geeks I had said "glitches occasionally happen when using M$ servers"? Fine, pretend that's what I said.

Re:AOL reconfigures your system... ok, fine (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7411113)

AOLers wouldn't get instructions like that though. They'd get:

  • Go to http://www.aol.com/popupblocker
  • Select "Open" (or "Run", or whatever the AOL browser does)

That's it. The problem people had with AOL doing it wasn't that they used software to do it automatically, it was that the user hadn't given consent or was even notified about it.

AFAIK (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7410932)

AFAIK, the only product that can send these messages is a commercial windows program that checks that your registration hasn't been used on another computer every time it starts up. I wonder why noone has written a light implementation of this hole yet... how about an extension to the linux/unix "talk" command?

Re:AFAIK (1)

Bagels (676159) | more than 10 years ago | (#7410977)

Nope. All that's required is a command prompt and the IP address of the person you want to spam... I believe the command used is called "NetSend." It was actually designed for admins to use to send out critical messages to computers on their network, but it's obviously been exploited horribly. Fortunately, nothing depends on the "Messenger" service involved, so it can be shut off safely.

Re:AFAIK (1)

netsharc (195805) | more than 10 years ago | (#7411074)

The command is "net", which can be used to do a lot of things in Windows, "net services" can list, start and stop services.. I wonder, why doesn't someone start spamming the simple folks with the directions to stop the messenger service... open Command Prompt and type NET MESSENGER STOP .. although, it will probably be restarted at the next reboot. Wonder if NET SERVICES can turn off the autostarting of services as well.

Re:AFAIK (1)

andrew_0812 (592089) | more than 10 years ago | (#7411147)

yep, it is simply "net send (name or IP) blah blah blah."

Also, you can send messeges to Windows machines via Samba: "smbclient (IP) -M" -Enter advert for blocking these messages here - ^D

These are annoying (3, Informative)

Pingular (670773) | more than 10 years ago | (#7410935)

The popups are annoying, but they can easily be blocked by installing Zonealarm [www.http] , or any other good firewall.

Re:These are annoying (1)

raodin (708903) | more than 10 years ago | (#7410985)

Or turning off the service. You should have a decent firewall, anyway, though.

Re:These are annoying (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7411037)

Or, instead of clicking on you non-working link to install a pile of shit annoyance on your already resource-choked Windows machine, how about just disabling the Windows Messenger service?

You don't have precious seconds to waste by clicking the preview button, but you're reading Slashdot?

Re:These are annoying (3, Informative)

Pingular (670773) | more than 10 years ago | (#7411137)

The incorrect link was a typo, anyone reading the link would be able to go to the right address themselves. If you think you should disable the messenger service instead (although this would still leave you open to attacks from hackers, and I strongly recommend the use of a decent firewall aswell) the following steps can be taken:

Windows 2000

1. Click Start-> Settings-> Control Panel-> Administrative Tools->Services
2. Scroll down and highlight "Messenger"
3. Right-click the highlighted line and choose Properties.
4. Click the STOP button.
5. Select Disable or Manual in the Startup Type scroll bar
6. Click OK

Windows XP Home

1. Click Start->Settings ->Control Panel
2. Click Performance and Maintenance
3. Click Administrative Tools
4. Double click Services Scroll
5. down and highlight "Messenger"
6. Right-click the highlighted line and choose Properties.
7. Click the STOP button.
8. Select Disable or Manual in the Startup Type scroll bar
9. Click OK

Windows XP Professional

1. Click Start->Settings ->Control Panel
2. Click Administrative Tools
3. Click Services
4. Double click Services Scroll
5. down and highlight "Messenger"
6. Right-click the highlighted line and choose Properties.
7. Click the STOP button.
8. Select Disable or Manual in the Startup Type scroll bar
9. Click OK

Windows NT

1. Click Start ->Control Panel
2. Double Click Administrative Tools
3. Select Services-> Double-click on Messenger
4. In the Messenger Properties window, select Stop,
5. Then choose Disable as the Startup Type
6. Click OK

In all other versions of windows the service cannot be disabled.

Re:These are annoying (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7411103)

Fun for sysops.

we set up in one of the cable headends a machine designed to capture these "popups" and decide where they were coming from. we then set up 5 linux boxes on cable modems that were uncapped to mercilessly attack every host that did the popup-job on them. corperate was refusing to disable the accounts so we took matters in our own hands...

works great.

Free removal utility for mom and dad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7410937)

The article outlines the steps to remove it. There is also a free utility [spam-slammer.com] that does it for you, but fake registration is required.

Pop-Ups? (0, Offtopic)

dukeluke (712001) | more than 10 years ago | (#7410960)

Well, I personally use the ZoneAlarm Pop-Up Stopper...very handy and nice prog. Works like a charm.

So, to pay $30 for a pop-up stopper that's already incorporated in another prog you bought? - I'd say is ludicrous...

But, to pay for a prog at all - when you can go Open-Source and get better results is just as insane...

I use M$ for school (VS.net) - and games. Other than that I would use Linux exclusively!

Mozilla (0, Offtopic)

BoomerSooner (308737) | more than 10 years ago | (#7411127)

It's free. I haven't had a non-requested pop-up in over a year since I switched. And as an added benefit none of my code (web development) needs to be tested for Netscape (I do have to test for IE but since most of the people who use my software use IE, I hear errors first from them).

Full FTC press release (4, Informative)

John3 (85454) | more than 10 years ago | (#7410971)

is here [ftc.gov] .

One down ... (1)

JonKatzIsAnIdiot (303978) | more than 10 years ago | (#7410974)

but how many to go? This is a good step, but the legal system is too slow and too regional to deal effectively with Internet-age criminals. The solution to spammers and domain name squatters is going to have to come from the Internet community itself.

Link P0rn, I Know it When I See It (1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 10 years ago | (#7410978)

"Advertising that says only 'I'll stop advertising if you pay me' is an easy case,"

I think a lot of them should be easiler than the FTC would like to admit. I know unwanted junk advertising when it invades my computer, and it doesn't have to be as obvious as above!

Targets (3, Insightful)

rf0 (159958) | more than 10 years ago | (#7410979)

Well this is like the story a few days ago about an FBI agent who was spammed about a credit card scam and got the women arrested. Prehaps things like the FTC should have one individual who they try to get on every mailing list / get target by spammers. Least that way something could be done

Rus

2 billion.. hmmm (4, Funny)

nyet (19118) | more than 10 years ago | (#7410988)

"On its Web site, the firm said the software could beam 135,000 pop-up ads at consumers every hour, and claimed to have a database of over two billion Internet addresses, according to the FTC."

2^32, minus subnets and netmasks, minus 10, 127, 192.168, etc...

Re:2 billion.. hmmm (1)

bigjocker (113512) | more than 10 years ago | (#7411133)

Well, I happen to have a 4.294.967.296 IP database. Wait a few years and I'll have a 3.40282366920938e+38 one.

Re:2 billion.. hmmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7411143)

notice the word 'claimed"

Okay... (4, Funny)

Saint Aardvark (159009) | more than 10 years ago | (#7410996)

"But the firm now says Windows Messenger probably isn't necessary for home users, and future versions of its Windows software will come with the service turned off."

I gotta know. Who ported cluestick to Windows? :-)

Hmmm.... (0, Flamebait)

hookedup (630460) | more than 10 years ago | (#7410998)

Spammer gets arrested for spamming an FBI agent.
FTC has shut down D Squared for spamming one of their commissioners.

Something isnt right here.... why is it _only_ when something starts affecting those in power, they decide to do something about it..

So...do we have to wait for George W. Bush's pc to lock up while playing solitaire for the govt to move away from windows? (besides pentagon use)

Messenger spam? (1, Redundant)

big_groo (237634) | more than 10 years ago | (#7411001)

net stop messenger

This is a problem?

Why, oh why... (1)

Fnkmaster (89084) | more than 10 years ago | (#7411007)

Why does it seem like government regulatory agencies and enforcement agencies only give a shit once it happens to whoever is in charge of them? Baah, well, let's make sure to sign up the commissioner of the FTC to a bunch of spam lists while we're at it, then maybe they'll see fit to pursue some of those scumbags too.


Also, what about all those TV ads for reprehensibly misrepresented products. Why doesn't the FDA or the FTC go after the dozens of companies flagrantly running ads making miraculous health claims, many of whom have become so brazen as to not even bother with the little disclaimer at the bottom of the screen saying "this product is not intended to treat or cure any medical disorder or disease".


The one bright light I've heard about recently was the Q-Ray (www.qray.com if you're curious). The founder of the company apparently had his personal assets ordered frozen by a judge, to be used to pay back duped customers, after the FTC cracked down on them hard. Note that they no longer make most of the fraudulent deceptive claims about their product, they just vaguely hint about it balancing your chi, ionic energy, and so on. They used to pretty much flagrantly imply that it cures arthritis, makes your joints stop aching, and so on.

Pop ups (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7411018)

See, the problem here is encryption and keying. We need keys and certs to not allow anonymous messages to be transferred across networks.

Secondly, since windows is coded in mostly visual basic and cobol, it has a harder time keeping the network code that sits on the kernel in tune. It must run a c library to offer these features.

The windows messenger service needs keying. Bottom line.

How long before linux is affected? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7411030)

It has come to my attention that there is a is a program called "kdialog" on most distros (since KDE is the dominant gui), since there are a lot of incecure boxen out there, how long will it take before some one writes a program to exploit this.

If you think I'm lying, press ALT+F2, then paste the following into it.


kdialog --msgbox "Your computer is broadcasting a IP Address, please go to purplemonkeyse.cx to download a security fix for only \$129"


To see if you computer is vulnerable, press ALT+PRINT SCREEN+B at the same time.

Did Microsoft ever give a good reason... (0)

Wun Hung Lo (702718) | more than 10 years ago | (#7411033)

why they have Messenger Service enabled by default anyway? (I believe they've changed this with the next service pack for 2003. Better late than never!)

Every 10 minutes? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7411034)

"In some cases, ads would pop-up every 10 minutes"

Obviously, this company had imagined a beowulf culster of such pop-up ads

However, Given the Way Microsoft is Going... (1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 10 years ago | (#7411035)

It is pointed out that Windows Messanger may be safely shut off, and will soon default to off for home users -- as if why wasn't it always this way to start with?

How long though before MS integrates it in as an essensial feature ala Internet Explorer. Isn't MS still on a drive to create the ultimate MOS (Monolothic Operating System)?

Re:However, Given the Way Microsoft is Going... (1)

OutRigged (573843) | more than 10 years ago | (#7411106)

Isn't MS still on a drive to create the ultimate MOS (Monolothic Operating System)?

No, they accomplished that task eight years ago.

Daddy, what's a "pop-up"??? (1)

advocate_one (662832) | more than 10 years ago | (#7411039)

something Microsoft Windows users had to put up with all the time when they were browsing the web back in the nineties and noughties...

Daddy, what's Microsoft Windows???

a database of internet addresses.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7411050)

"On its Web site, the firm said the software could beam 135,000 pop-up ads at consumers every hour, and claimed to have a database of over two billion Internet addresses,"
not a very hard claim...

for(int i=255;i >=0; --i)
for(int j=255;j >=0; --j)
for(int k=255;k >=0; --k)
for(int l=255;l >=0; --l)
printf("%i.%i.%i.%i\n",i,j,k,l);

should pump out all the addresses, but it will hit some broadcast addresses and network addresses... probably should add some logic to skip 127.0.0.1 and the 10.0.0.0/8 (etc...)

Not until it bothers me... (3, Interesting)

zbowling (597617) | more than 10 years ago | (#7411057)

I posted this on an ASK Slashdot a while back.
::History:: [slashdot.org]

Its funny how the goverment doesn't seem to care until they get experience it for them selves? That fast against the messanger pop up stuff.

Wooooo..

How long will it take until they can't stand spam in their email and they decided to finally decide to take care of it. How about all of us legimate email users get together and spam the FCC and maybe we can piss them off anough to do something about it.

What took so long? (4, Insightful)

thedillybar (677116) | more than 10 years ago | (#7411062)

This is ridiculous. I understand why it's difficult to block spam: the sender makes an effort to be anonymous and unknown. They aren't recognized as legitimate companies and many of them are overseas and not subject to many laws.

Read the title. "FTC Shuts Down Pop-Up Extortion Firm" This is a firm in the United States with one heck of a business model. If what they're doing isn't illegal, it needs to be. The idea that a company could do this for so long and scam so many people certainly doesn't prove the effectiveness of our system to me. Something needs to change.

I hope we all do some research and think twice the next time we hit the polls. Matters like these are the responsibility of many various lawmakers. Let's hope they can earn all those figures and get some work done at the same time. Sure it's difficult, but suck it up for once.

POP ! (0, Offtopic)

Ignis Flatus (689403) | more than 10 years ago | (#7411065)

...goes the weasel. LOL!!

FTC Consumer Complaint Form (0)

bcolflesh (710514) | more than 10 years ago | (#7411075)

A resource waiting to be used:

"Use this form to submit a complaint to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Bureau of Consumer Protection about a particular company or organization."

https://rn.ftc.gov/pls/dod/wsolcq$.startup?

Get a load of their customers ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7411076)

From their web site [fightmessenger.com] under "Customer Testimonials" there is a picture of 2 guys with the text ...
Me and my boyfriend Simon made the switch from mac to pc and the first thing that popped up were these annoying popups for x-rated websites and to other messenger stoppers that dont even work, thanks to Messenger Fighter we no longer receive any popups (Michael Paris, OH)
LOL!!!!

Re:Get a load of their customers ... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7411146)

Are you surprised that the two fags were Mac users?

Because I'm not.

2 billion Internet addresses? (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7411085)

The article said the company boasted a database of "over 2 billion Internet addresses". Heh, I can imagine their database looks something like this:

mysql> SELECT * FROM InternetAddresses;

+-------------------+
| InternetAddresses |
| 1.1.1.1 |
| 1.1.1.2 |
| 1.1.1.3 |

(Yes, there should be another row of pluses and hyphens after the header row, and of course the ones at the bottom. The ones at the bottom were left out intentionally; the lameness filter took care of the other header row ones.)

Re:2 billion Internet addresses? (0, Redundant)

zbowling (597617) | more than 10 years ago | (#7411134)

more like...
0.0.0.0
0.0.0.1
0.0.0.2

Reminds me of my time in Russia (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7411091)

I was a Mormon Missionary in Russia in the early 90's. One of the missionaries knocked on the door of the Minister of Religion for the city we were in. Suddenly we weren't allowed to knock on doors any more. Back to the streets with us.

Annoyances are acted upon quickly only when those in charge are annoyed.

(I'd like to point out that Mormon Missionaries don't try to extort money from you to stop knocking on your door.)

Re:Reminds me of my time in Russia (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7411104)

Who let you back into the US ?

Goddamn cultists.

Those ads were heinously annoying (1)

192939495969798999 (58312) | more than 10 years ago | (#7411118)

I got spammed by a few of those, and it must have been the most annoying 5 minutes or so that I have ever spent on a computer... and it really, really made me despise the company or individual sending them. It is 100 times worse than e-mail spam, because they interrupt work or other important activities!

I wrote this really amusing application a time ago (4, Interesting)

Eudial (590661) | more than 10 years ago | (#7411164)

I wrote this really amusing application a time ago, it listened to the ports used for MS win msg, and if it received a valid message, it replied once every 5 seconds, 600 times with the same message + the text "\nQuit spamming ffs!". Quite efficient.

Why? Well, my son is a student at a computer college, and he was sickin tired of people thinking that broadcasting MS windows messenger popus was fun, so he asked me for a tool to repent the spammers.

M$ has changed their tune (3, Interesting)

El (94934) | more than 10 years ago | (#7411165)

Last time I checked, I seem to recall they said "You really shouldn't disable Windows Messenger; buy a firewall instead." (Followed by instructions on how to disable.) Now they seem to be admitting it wasn't necessary in the first place here [microsoft.com]
Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...