Tuesday, November 11, 2014

In-Your-Face Ads & Spam

This blog has nothing to do with satellite, but everything to do with the Internet:  It’s about yet another irritating method of putting ads in your face, called in-text advertising! And, it’s about a much nastier form called text-enhance!

Let me backtrack a bit ... 

My husband was browsing the Internet a couple of weeks ago and he started seeing random key words double-underlined in color.  If he hovered over the link it would bring up a message box and links to sites that wanted to sell him something!

He decided to check out our web site, MobileInternetSatellite.com, and “lo and behold” the double underlined links were there, too!

Double-underlined keywords and popup ads
Double-underlined keywords and popup ads

But, WAIT A MINUTE!  I didn’t give any advertisers permission to change my web site! 

What in the heck are those nasty ads doing popping up on my site????

I was incredibly annoyed, to say the least, so we set out to determine what was going on and to eliminate it!

In-text Advertising

We learned that one form of this is called in-text advertising and it is very common. There are several advertising networks that provide in-text advertising and information services.
The double-underlined word is actually a keyword embedded within text of a web page. The keyword is intended to provide consumers with information that is related to what they are reading ... whether they want it or NOT! The real intent, of course, is to sell something.

If you hover your mouse over the keyword, a popup ad is displayed with a preview of the ad the text links to. This works by having webmasters insert JavaScript code into web. This script scans the web page and dynamically modifies keywords an advertiser has targeted on the page and double-underlines them. The words and the double-lines under them are usually blue, but they also appear in other colors like red or green.

In-text advertising is a form of contextual advertising commonly used to promote business and generate revenue, each time a website visitor clicks on an in-text ad. This is referred to as Pay Per Click (PPC). Advertisements from in-text ads also help to generate targeted traffic to a website and improve their natural search engine ranking.

Getting you to use in-text advertising.
Luring you to use in-text advertising

Most companies which utilize in-text ads have an opt-out procedure listed in their privacy statements or on the “learn more about” page. But, be careful!  Unless the web site is one you know and trust, opting-out on an advertising web site is NOT recommended.

Clearly, In-text advertising as described above is NOT what was displaying the links we saw on our own web site.


Just say no to text-enhance
Just say No, to text-enhance!

Text-enhance is a form of bundled flash adware that attaches to Internet browsers as an extension and cookie without user consent. 

The primary web site for text-enhance does not allow users to download their extension, nor can their extension be found in any browser’s add-on database. Although an affected browser will display in-text advertisements, text-enhance is not really an in-text advertising service.

The owners behind text-enhance generate income by providing advertisement services (adware platform) to cyber criminals and unethical third parties, as well as possibly compromising and selling personal information. Text-enhance pays third parties each time their adware platform is installed onto a victims computer, this is why Text Enhance is often bundled with third party apps. 

For instance, when viewing a streaming video on a website, the visitor may me told that an unnecessary Codec is required to view the video properly. When a visitor clicks to install the Codec, text-enhance installs along with it. Or, perhaps the web site offers to make your PC run faster if you install their utility, but text-enhance installs too!

Tricking you into installing text-enhance
Tricking you into installing text-enhance

Text-enhance is designed to track data, crawl data, sell information, and spam advertise. It is considered a virus by many internet users, though it is categorized as a browser hijacker.

Note: Text-enhance is not javascript code embedded in a web page. It is resident in a hijacked user browser.  If you see text advertisements on every web page you view, then your browser is the problem, not the website. 

How To Remove Text-enhance (And Third-Party Malware)

First, clear your browser’s cache and cookies. Then, chose a removal option from the list below: 

  1. Block and/or disable and remove the extension(s). Make sure you follow the removal instructions for each browser installed on your computer. Go to the BotCrawl web site for a list of extensions and more details about removal.
  2. Disallow Third Party Flash Storage.
  3. Manually remove it, which includes deleting the directory files and registry entries.
  4. Use antivirus and anti-malware software.
  5. Use Symantec’s FixTDSS Tool – This will restart your computer and show results upon rebooting.
  6. Restore your computer to a date and time before infection

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