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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 had the same problem, though much more rarely, with SmackJeeves.)


How to protect yourself if you use FireFox:
A good ad-blocking plugin will do it. "Ad-block Plus" and "Noscript" are two popular alternatives; 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:
I haven't confirmed yet that Chrome is even vulnerable to this sort of thing in the first place. However, ~OHCF was kind enough to point out that there is a Chrome version of [AdBlock], plus an [additional extension] that adds the AdBlock button to your browser bar. I've also found "AdThwart", another ad-blocking plugin that supposedly uses the same kind of filter and has (according to some of its reviews) slightly better performance.

I intend to experiment more with Chrome, "one of these days".

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. Now it's [avast!] all the way!

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 if you don't have it already; this is for a good reason! You should update to the newest version (but not 9!) even if IE is not your primary browser.

Also, IE should not be your primary browser! I strongly recommend you use an alternative browser. Right now I'm using [Firefox 4] and I love it!

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 and FF) to block them all. I strongly recommend using this 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 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!
Add a Comment:
MiffTheFox 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 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 Sep 23, 2012  Student General Artist
Or you could install Adblocker and forget about ads ANYWHERE YOU GO!!! EVEN YOUTUBE!
StevenRoy 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!
I'll keep this in mind.
PictureOnProgress 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 Aug 14, 2011  Student General Artist
Wonderful advice along with some pictures to help us better understand. GJ!!
Fixzitt Aug 14, 2011  Student General Artist
:iconyoucanhasitplz: :iconsaysplz: Lul stoopd ads no get m nao.
got internet security 2011 today. tiard of them saying they are going to do something it's bs.

kaspersky is ausome as well, but ive been without a job for more than a year.
Here, you're implying that the ad itself is a virus - which is not always the case; it's the changes that the ads make, as far as I've noticed.

Using this, the only problems I get from ads, using Google Chrome and this [link] is tracking cookies and other cookie jazz (I'd have to disable my blocked cookie list entirely to get a screenshot of my anti-virus catching a crapload of them).

Mind pointing me to an antivirus screenshot so I can see what you're talking about? Maybe our cases go hand-in-hand.
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