Site Maintenance Thread

I realize some of you have been getting pop-overs or autoplays or something similar, though I’ve never gotten one (and I’ve checked when not being logged in, on different browsers, etc).

Just in case it is Sitemeter doing it, I’ve change the Sitemeter setup so it doesn’t run any scripts. If anyone experiences a pop up in the next day or so, please post it here. I’ll be checking this thread periodically to see if Sitemeter was the problem.

Also, if you’re running Windows, there are thousands of malware programs that can be infesting your computer and causing pop-ups. There are dozens of anti-malware packages — here’s the official Microsoft contribution to the advancement of technology. I’m sure others will disagree (and, boy, is this is the thread for you), but I always recommend the standard Microsoft anti-malware and anti-virus software. It is unobtrusive, it updates automatically in the background, and it is pretty good (none of the computers I’ve installed it on have become infected).

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51 replies
  1. 1
    cleek says:

    yes indeed, the MS AV stuff is far more polite than any other i’ve tried.

  2. 2
    shelley says:

    I’m still getting someone screaming ‘We will never surrender!”

  3. 3
    amk says:

    I always recommend the standard Microsoft anti-malware and anti-virus software.

    +1. Have had it for over 4 years. No issues. The only thing m$ got right.

  4. 4
    Locagirl says:

    Startled the crap out of me yesterday and again this a.m. I surrender!

  5. 5
    Ruckus says:

    You know if you just buy a ………..

    OK now that’s out of the way, I tend to agree with you, MS does seem to know their way around the AV forest. When I had MS products I tried many different programs and found that MS did work and was the most unobtrusive.

  6. 6
    JGabriel says:

    mistermix:

    Also, if you’re running Windows, there are thousands of malware programs that can be infesting your computer and causing pop-ups. There are dozens of anti-malware packages — here’s the official Microsoft contribution to the advancement of technology. I’m sure others will disagree (and, boy, is this is the thread for you), but I always recommend the standard Microsoft anti-malware and anti-virus software. It is unobtrusive, it updates automatically in the background, and it is pretty good …

    I agree, and I always recommend it to Windows users too. That said, it’s not quite as good as some others, so I also recommend getting the free edition of Malwarebytes Anti-virus and running a system check with it, say, once a week or once a month or at bootup – whatever the user is most comfortable with.

    In other words, MS AV is pretty good, but don’t rely on it solely. Do a hard drive check with something else once in a while too.

    Edited to Add: Or, you know, switch to Linux – especially if you don’t need to rely on Windows functionality for 3D games.

  7. 7
    Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism says:

    Sitemeter has a history going back several years of hijacking pages to an ad server. The adverstitial hijack was the tip-off for me. I was concerned that they were also starting to hijack the AdSense iframes, but….

    (Sent some of this in an email to mistermix before I saw this post.)

    Messed around with the autoplay ads this morning. Here’s what’s happening.

    The videos are coming from TubeMogul. They are definitely autoplay and not play on mouseover.

    It starts with a pre-roll ad and then immediately starts playing a video from one of their clients. I’ve hit multiple PopSugar video fashion articles (whoever Kendall and Kylie are, PopSugar is obsessed with them) and one on the new Planet of the Apes movie (PopSugar, but served from FemDaily).

    The only solution is to get into the AdSense settings and tell it no videos. That’s assuming that TubeMogul isn’t injecting the autoplay without Google’s collusion. Unfortunately, I don’t think that’s possible while John is incommunicado.

    I haven’t had a chance to try blocking tubemogul.com at the firewall or the hosts file, but that should also work.

    ETA: One other possibility. Stop serving the 300×250 ads. I haven’t seen the videos in the other ad boxes.

  8. 8
    TaMara (BHF) says:

    It was getting pretty bad. Because another site had set all its videos on auto-play, I blocked all plug-ins and enable as needed or unblocked on sites like YouTube. (I’m on Chrome) That stopped all issues here. I also just ran the MS Anti-Malware and none was found. I run a pretty robust anti-virus.

    Also, I think it’s been mentioned, but until I blocked the plug-ins Balloon-Juice was getting hijacked daily to an ad page and my only option was to reload the B-J several times to be able to read it.

  9. 9
    Roger Moore says:

    @JGabriel:

    Or, you know, switch to Linux – especially if you don’t need to rely on Windows functionality for 3D games

    Now that there’s Steam for Linux, even that is a less powerful excuse than it used to be.

  10. 10
    Bill Murray says:

    I had a fairly bad popup ad problem a couple of months ago and Avast! took care of it and has kept it away. Plus, it makes every day Talk Like a Pirate Day

  11. 11
    WaterGirl says:

    @JGabriel: I use Malwarebytes on all computers I support. It completely eliminates what I like to call “pop-up box hell”.

    I have never bothered to try Microsoft products for this since Microsoft sucks at so much else.

  12. 12
    FlyingToaster says:

    Something fairly funky is going on, although I’ve been unaffected (my work box here has a LOT of sites’ content blocked), I’m also no longer seeing blogads. Which is annoying because I generally like blogads and they’re whitelisted in Firefox/NoScript/Ghostery.

    There’s definitely something whack about googleadservice; it’s delivering stuff outside of parameters which I see over on Chrome (and mostly on other sites). Autoplays, pr0n, The Truth about Charlie Baker incessantly, etc.

    The browser kept hanging on loading work sites so I ended up blocking googleadservice and googletagmanager on Firefox so I could get shit done.

    Note: I’m on Mac. I never saw an adverstital hijack on either browser. But I did see unexpected autoplays in half-a-dozen places where googleadservices was serving up content.

  13. 13
    WaterGirl says:

    In case it provides a clue, I use both AdBlock and ClicktoFlash, and I have not seen any of this annoying stuff.

  14. 14
    Valdivia says:

    I had the pop up hell problem three months ago. Malwarebytes took care of it.
    The never surrender auto play thing–isn’t that coming from the Ted Cruz video on a post from Thursday? That’s where I heard it and could be the source of one problem.

  15. 15
    MattF says:

    Just got an audio squawk, “We…” I assume. System and browser are OS X and Safari, Safari has the ClickToPlugin extension, so that’s being bypassed, somehow. Maybe Ted’s being cached.

  16. 16
    Ruckus says:

    @Valdivia:
    Maybe little teddie being an ass all the time everywhere will backfire on him. One can only hope.

  17. 17
    gnomedad says:

    Sure, sure, blame the victim. So Republican.

  18. 18
    Valdivia says:

    @Ruckus: my feelings exactly!

  19. 19
    different-church-lady says:

    Two data points for you:

    * I have experienced pop-overs on my Mac. There was a period when I was getting them pretty regularly, but I haven’t seen one for at least a few weeks now.

    * I have Flashblock installed (in Firefox) and have never experienced an autoplay.

  20. 20
    Keith G says:

    @WaterGirl: Like you, I use Malwarebytes. I actually use the paid version. That and Kaspersky Antivirus has kept me safe for quite some time (looking around for some wood to knock on).

  21. 21
    WaterGirl says:

    @Keith G: I use the paid version, too. Well worth it. Something like 30 bucks for a license for every 3 machines.

  22. 22
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    I use AVG 2014 and it works just fine, thanks. AdBlock is doing a splendid job keeping Chrome in line on ads. The Ted Cruz thing was set, when I first saw it, on no audio, I had to click to hear the annoying squeak of that vile fascist shitstain’s voice, so that worked just spendidly.

  23. 23
    Arclite says:

    This happened to me about once a week (visit a couple times a day), so glad this is being addressed. I’ll post here if it happens.

    No I don’t think it’s malware, it happens on both work and home machines, and the work machine is pretty locked down.

  24. 24
    Rand Careaga says:

    Using a Mac/Safari; got the audio “never surrender” blast. This can be damned embarrassing when it happens at work.

  25. 25
    MoeLarryAndJesus says:

    How about getting rid of that Newsmax trash?

  26. 26
    FlyingToaster says:

    @MoeLarryAndJesus: No, keep taking their money, and mocking them in the center column :)

  27. 27
    Charlieford says:

    Yeah, getting some auto-play ads for Tide and Dawn that can’t be turned off. Hard to believe their people actually think that’s the way to create affection for the brand.

  28. 28
    kabiddle says:

    What is with this Freedomworks Justin Amash thing? I realize you guys need funding but this is almost obscene. Its like the guy is in my bedroom regardless of his politics or policy. Daily Kos, Baloon Juice, on and on, this twit is in my face. What is the deal? I live in Michigan BTW and Amash is a tea party person I’d rather not see every day. He’s connected to the DeVos group who wants to teach our children that Jesus came to save us or something so we will buy more soap. Even Atrios. You guys gotta get a better PR deal.

  29. 29
    Mart says:

    Have autoplay e-surance, sprint, etc ads going now on Firefox.

  30. 30
    MomSense says:

    @Mart:

    And soda stream.

  31. 31
    patrick II says:

    My computer had both Microsoft and McAfee and I was still having all kinds of problems with popup window ads and even surveys. The popups were sophisticated enough to use the name of the host sight (for instance: survey of Balloon Juice users — age, home town, etc.) Anyhow, I knew something was wrong so I added AVG antivirus and it found the Malform virus, but some other program was regenerating it even as AVG was deleting the individual virul “cells”. It was more like a computer cancer than a virus. It turns out it did more than popup ads, it is a russian malware that attempts to collect information to use in ID theft. I ended up refreshing the whole machine, changing various passwords, etc. For now I am running three antivirus programs, although I plan not to renew McAfee, because it seems that no single one can keep track of all of the crap on the innertubes anymore.

  32. 32
    Arclite says:

    @MoeLarryAndJesus:

    How about getting rid of that Newsmax trash?

    I’m just going to drop a little Sun Tzu here:

    If you know your enemies and know yourself, you will not be imperiled in a hundred battles

  33. 33
    gogol's wife says:

    I’m still getting audio autoplay ads, on a Mac, in both Firefox and Chrome.

  34. 34
    gogol's wife says:

    @Arclite:

    Right, same here.

  35. 35
    efgoldman says:

    I routinely have my sound turned off, so if something autoplays, if it’s not on the screen, I don’t see it. I know the video at the top of Maddow Blog autoplays. I ignore it.
    I’m running Win7 with an older version of Firefox (I don’t like the newer configurations.)
    I have the whole MS security suite installed, as well as free Avast! and paid MalwareBytes. Yes, I know it’s redundant, and I know it slows the machine down, but I’m not a power user and I don’t play games. Better safe….

  36. 36
    Lee says:

    Another vote for MalwareBytes. I’ve run it in both the free and paid version and it is really good.

    For AV I’ve run the MS product and it is also very good.

  37. 37
    constitutional mistermix says:

    @Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism: I removed the 250×300 ads. We’ll see if that takes care of the problem. If anyone is left who doesn’t run ad block, that is.

  38. 38
    johio says:

    I’m on an android tsblet, getting the never surrender thing. This is the fidst time I’ve had that happen.

  39. 39
    KBS says:

    I’ve been getting some kind of autoplay from here the last few days, even though I don’t usually. I get a ton of them in Talking Points Memo too. I probably need to look into some malware blockers. :(

  40. 40
    Bobby Thomson says:

    I run the Microsoft stuff and have been getting this annoying autoplay. It’s not a popup. It’s people talking in the background, very loudly (think Garrett Morris’ report for the hard of hearing). Not at the moment, but it comes and goes.

  41. 41
    Betsy says:

    @shelley: me too. When I have the site open, not even a particular thread. On iPad.

  42. 42
    dance around in your bones says:

    @patrick II:

    It is a very bad idea to run more than ONE anti-virus on a machine, as they will end up fighting each other. Install only ONE and make sure all remnants of any other antivirus that may have been installed (even those “free trials” that came on your computer when it was new) are uninstalled. Most antiviruses have a dedicated uninstaller to clear out remnants – use that, and don’t just rely on add/remove programs. Then use Revouninstaller to be sure.

    Put Malwarebytes AntiMalware on your machine and update its database every time before you use it. Once every couple of weeks is ok. SuperAntiSpyware is also good, though for me it mostly clears out tracking cookies.

    Use SpywareBlaster to help block malware from even getting on your computer in the first place. You just have to update its database once a month or so, it just sits there in the background doing it’s thing.

    Both MSE and Avast! are available in free versions which are perfectly suitable for most users, as are the above programs.

    Sorry about the non-ad revenue I’m not generating, but I can’t speak highly enough of AdBlock Plus, Ghostery and NoScript (I’m on Firefox 31.0 but most browsers can use these) and it really keeps you safer from all this malicious adware/malware/bad things! that can infect your computer.

    I always read these posts about weird ads taking over your screen and autoplay videos and sounds playing out of nowhere with bemusement because I have LITERALLY NEVER had that happen to me on Balloon Juice or any other site because I take keeping my computer safe and functional a priority over looking at stupid ads. Even Newsmax headlines do not appear – I get a little box that says Newsmax headlines and nothing else. I rely on y’all to tell me what stupid headlines they are generating.

    Here’s a link to Best Practices – Anti-Virus and Anti-Malware software if you want to learn more. Now that this is a dead thread and nobody will read it, Ha!

    Really, people, it’s like putting a big condom over your computer – mostly it works.

  43. 43
    dance around in your bones says:

    Yes, I prolly used bemused in the wrong sense – though I am bewildered AND amused that people don’t take the time to investigate the protections that are available to them for FREE.

    Oh! I forgot to mention that when you are installing ANY software, pay close attention to the things you are clicking on – i.e. it may automatically install toolbars or Chrome or other things that are automatically checked unless you uncheck those boxes. Pay attention!

  44. 44
    jay Noble says:

    @shelley: Just had that here

  45. 45
    JGabriel says:

    dance around in your bones:

    It is a very bad idea to run more than ONE anti-virus on a machine, as they will end up fighting each other. Install only ONE and make sure all remnants of any other antivirus that may have been installed (even those “free trials” that came on your computer when it was new) are uninstalled.

    It’s a bad idea to have two anti-viruses running at the same time, as they chew up cpu resources. But it’s perfectly fine to have two or three anti-virus programs installed – one running in the background to check everything in memory in real time, and another one or two for hard drive checks every once in while, just in case the real-time av misses something.

  46. 46
    JGabriel says:

    Addendum to the above comment: In fact, on Windows 8 & 8.1, Windows Defender is part of the operating system – so it’s pretty much impossible to install another anti-virus program if you follow the “only one anti-virus program” advice.

  47. 47
    dance around in your bones says:

    @JGabriel: From the link I provided:

    IMPORTANT NOTE: Using more than one anti-virus program is not advisable. Why? The primary concern with doing so is due to Windows resource management and significant conflicts that can arise especially when they are running in real-time protection mode simultaneously. Even if one of them is disabled for use as a stand-alone on demand scanner, it can affect the other and cause conflicts. Anti-virus software components insert themselves deep into the operating systems core where they install kernel mode drivers that load at boot-up regardless of whether real-time protection is enabled or not. Thus, using multiple anti-virus solutions can result in kernel mode conflicts causing system instability, catastrophic crashes, slow performance and waste vital system resources.

    Now, if you’re talking about online on-demand anti-virus scanners, I agree that one can run them with your (ONE) anti-virus installed.

    I’m on Win 7 and have disabled Windows Defender because of its poor reputation. I know that it’s a whole different ballgame in Win 8 and purportedly does a good job. Which I have only read about since I do not have Win 8.

  48. 48
    patrick II says:

    @dance around in your bones:

    The thread wasn’t quite dead since I came back for one last look. Thanks for your advice — I will do some of the reading you advised.

  49. 49
    Arclite says:

    @constitutional mistermix:

    If anyone is left who doesn’t run ad block, that is.

    I never run adblock. I know you guys need the money, so I let em run, even if I get annoying redirects or autoplay vids. You guys deserve it.

  50. 50
    Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism says:

    @dance around in your bones: As someone up above said, how Republican of you.

    Yes, yes, I agree that people should be more careful. But not everything is client-side malware.

    And I’m not gonna fault people for wanting to support the sites they use.

    I intentionally went looking for the autoplay ads. Had to reload the front page several dozen times before the first one showed up. Virtual machine, new browser install. Multiple virus scans before and after. Registry audit. The only thing I haven’t done yet is check in with an uber-geek friend of mine to see what she’s heard, and that’s only because she’s in Las Vegas shooting zombies.

    Sitemeter’s adverstitial redirects have been a known problem for years. I’m very confident that part of it came from their javascript. The rest I’m still looking into, but I haven’t been able to get the video ads to show up since mistermix removed the 300×250 boxes. I think that’s adequate for a first response.

  51. 51
    Bobby Thomson says:

    Planet of the Apes autoplay (“The Buzz”) running on the front page right now, but not on this page – right now.

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