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Why you get viruses from dA... by StevenRoy Why you get viruses from dA... by StevenRoy
...and how to block them.

I hope I've made the screenshot sufficiently self-explanatory. Basically, I caught dA's banner ad system in the act.

There were even a couple of months (admittedly quite a while ago) where I got this sort of thing at least once a week.

So, I blocked the first two sites involved, "" and "", by editing my "hosts" file (anyone wanna learn how?), and that solved the problem. (It's a more extreme and tricky step than is necessary, but it works for me.) Blocking the latter also apparently fixed the problem with some ads appearing in the wrong places and completely screwing up dA's layout.

You gotta be more careful, deviantART! You gotta be more careful about where you get your ads from!

And the rest of us all better have good virus protection! (I like [Free AVG], but even McAfee is better than nothing... maybe.)

(Incidentally, I've also noticed the same problem, though much more rarely, on the SmackJeeves site.)


How to protect yourself if you use FireFox:
A good ad-blocking plugin will do it. I strongly recommend [Ad-block Plus], although [Noscript] is also a popular alternative; either one will work great here.

How to protect yourself if you use Internet Explorer:
[Please read this.]

How to protect yourself if you use Google Chrome:
There are now versions of [Ad-block Plus] for Chrome, Opera, Safari, and other browsers.

Do you need a good free Antivirus program?
Some years ago, some company ran some comprehensive tests that rated several free AV programs based on their effectiveness, their user interface, and their impact on system performance. AVG got third place, behind avast! and Avira.

(Microsoft Security Essentials was also part of this test. It didn't do well!)

I already liked AVG at the time, and it rated highest for user-friendliness, so that's the one I recommended to everyone. However, this was before AVG 2011, which seems less effective and hopelessly bloated to me. Lately, I've been recommending [avast! free]!

Other steps you should take:
If you use Windows, "Automatic Updates" must always be enabled. Also note that [Windows Update] will list "Internet Explorer 8" as a high-priority update on Windows XP systems if you don't have it already; this is for a good reason! I recommend that all Windows users keep IE updated to the newest version available, because this updates system components as well.

Also, IE should not be your primary browser! I strongly recommend you use an alternative browser. Right now I'm using [Firefox] and I love it! Google Chrome is also a popular alternative.

Some of these viruses infect your computer by using "malformed" PDF files. To protect yourself from those, you should ensure that you have the newest version of Adobe Reader. (That's version 10.0.1 as of April 28, 2011.) [Get it here.] (Alternatively, you can remove all PDF support, but that's less easy and less practical.)

Also, make sure you have the newest version of Flash. Adobe provides [this page] which will tell you which version of Flash Player you have installed, and which version is current. (That's version as of April 28, 2011.) If you don't have the current version, you need to upgrade.

(In general, you should always check all Adobe software for updates frequently, because they're sloppier programmers than Microsoft.)

I also recommend "SpywareBlaster". It is not an antivirus program and does not remain in memory or use CPU resources, but it contains a huge list of evil and "restricted" sites, ActiveX controls, and tracking cookies, and reconfigures your browser's security settings (in IE, FF and Chrome) to block them all. This provides an additional layer of protection, best used in addition to a memory-resident antivirus program (such as AVG avast!) and a good ad blocker.

Also worth having: "Malwarebytes Anti-Malware". The free version does not offer memory-resident virus protection, but can be used alongside other antivirus software to periodically scan for (and remove) viruses that your other software may miss.


I hope this helps make the internet a slightly safer place. Spread the word; knowledge is power!
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Hexaditidom Featured By Owner Jul 20, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Hmm, so I've been using MSE for a while. I'm not too attached to it, so I'll probably get Avast if it's better. Both of those are memory-resident?

Having also used Windows 7 and Chrome for a while, I also do scans once a month with SpywareBlaster, SS&D, occasionally MalwareBytes... and they never find anything! I suppose that's a good problem to have, but doing all these scans can take all day. And for all I know, I'm not doing them often enough. What are your thoughts?
StevenRoy Featured By Owner Jul 20, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Yes, Avast is memory-resident, and it's generally considered much better than MSE. I strongly recommend it. (Just make sure you uninstall MSE before installing Avast, to avoid any possible conflicts.)

Also, as long as you have good resident protection (such as Avast) and good browser protection (such as AdBlock Plus for Chrome), you shouldn't need to run additional scans very often. Once a month should be more than adequate.
MiffTheFox Featured By Owner Mar 12, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
This is a ever-useful resource I link people to, but I think it should be updated now that ad blocking exists in IE 9 and later, under the banner of "tracking protection". All you need is a third-party list file called a TPL. Fanboy's list at [link] is one of the suggested filter lists for Adblock Plus that can also be installed into Internet Explorer as a TPL.
StevenRoy Featured By Owner Mar 12, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Internet Explorer finally catches up to decade-old Firefox technology yet again? Wonderful!

Seriously, though, this is good information. Thanks!
TheFictionWriter Featured By Owner Sep 23, 2012  Student General Artist
Or you could install Adblocker and forget about ads ANYWHERE YOU GO!!! EVEN YOUTUBE!
StevenRoy Featured By Owner Sep 23, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Exactly! There's a reason why Ad-Block Plus for Firefox happens to be the very first link in the description here.

It's not even really about blocking the ads themselves; I wouldn't mind the ads nearly as much if they were safe! But whenever one of these internet ad companies isn't careful about the kinds of HTML code they accept and distribute, this sort of thing can sneak in, and suddenly the town is overrun by parasprites!
ShawnSkunk Featured By Owner Jul 10, 2012
I'll keep this in mind.
PictureOnProgress Featured By Owner Nov 13, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
Ads drive me insane :pissed:
Whenever I see a page full of these, I just tell them :stfu:
Thanks for the useful info
Fixzitt Featured By Owner Aug 14, 2011  Student General Artist
Wonderful advice along with some pictures to help us better understand. GJ!!
Fixzitt Featured By Owner Aug 14, 2011  Student General Artist
:iconyoucanhasitplz: :iconsaysplz: Lul stoopd ads no get m nao.
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