I'm sure you've already seen one or two of them -- the new pop up spam. It uses the Messenger Service of your computer to send you spam.
I already got a few of those messages. This was the reason I started working on my firewall again. Unfortunately, events overtook that endeavor and I put it on hold while I'm studying. I'm really thinking hard about reserving some time to complete that project this weekend.
I don't want to stop or disable my Messenger Service. And I don't want to receive their spam. The only way to satisfy both requirements is to put up the firewall. Filter, filter, filter...
For those of you who might be interested - Coffee Cup Software puts out a "Direct Ad Blocker" for only $10. You may have seen this Press Release on Yahoo News... I've used Coffee Cup's Image Mapper and Firestarter software. A good company that's been around since '96, it has a reputation for decent, inexpensive and useful software.
As for myself... Currently, I'm logging on only when I'm actually using the Internet for some purpose. When I'm working offline or not using the computer, I disconnect. Once I get my firewall in place, I'll be able to stay connected again (with the NetBIOS ports filtered).
This is only the first step. I can already see what's coming down the pike... Just like email - first there's text messaging, then there's text with pictures, and then comes code being run on your computer. Perhaps it won't all happen through Messenger, but it will happen. People constantly push for more functionality from their devices. Manufacturers and software developers rush to provide more and more... while haxors and spammers find new ways to exploit each new technological advance. Macros were a great idea. Do you know anyone who uses them? Most people can't -- because they're turned off to prevent the execution of malicious macros (like the Melissa Macro Virus).
Firewalls are not plug and play. Firewalls are not for everyone. But, you might want to reconsider virus protection software and a subscription to update the definitions. It won't make your computer bullet-proof (or stop Direct Ads), but it will prevent most (if not all) viruses from wreaking havoc on your computer (if you keep the software updated).
Good luck, stay safe, and don't click on any shady-looking links....
Posted by BlueWolf on October 29, 2002 10:10 PM