Friday, March 11, 2005


Sorcery, n. The ancient prototype and forerunner of political influence

A friend reached out to me to help resolve a spyware issue today (ma nishtana ha lailor hazeh) and I've got him working through the first round of diagnostics and defenses as I write this. Needless to say that puts me into a bit of a foul mood as it pertains to spyware, and as I perused a few web sites today, I happened to check Drudge. Ordinarily, I take Drudge with the same grain of salt I take Debka, but occasionally there's something amusing or interesting enough to warrant a look. Drudge's site is notorious for pop-ups, but usually Pop-Up Stopper and SP2's updates to IE are enough to deal with it. However, I'm using my work laptop, which must be kept to the Corporate Standard, which doesn't yet permit SP2, nor any non-approved software (there are enough corporate snooping things on here to make me very circumspect in how I use or configure this machine. Using an unauthorized packet sniffer in the office is a hanging offense). As soon as the page loaded from Drudge's site, a couple of attempted drive-by downloads started up, and boy, was I ticked. I can understand an ad server pumping out a few feeble attempts to get your attention when you try to load a page (my local paper, The Jams And Jellying Fishwrapper has an annoying redirect for its web site that tries to load an ad every 60 seconds) but I can easily defeat that stuff. A drive-by download is another story though. That's open warfare. Fortunately, I do have enough defenses on this machine (while it is nominally to corporate spec, I'm also not stupid) that intercepted same and prevented excessive grief (our Helpless Desk would merely reformat and reinstall, but it would take days to get through the process, also, it's the weekend, and I'm still not totally mobile yet, so even getting the machine to the Helpless Desk would be a bit of a pain).

I'm not especially ticked at Drudge, but if whoever is doing their ad serving is listening, you've caused me to stop going there, at least when I'm on a machine that isn't fully up to my specs when it comes to spyware prevention.


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