Another annoying surprise: unwanted downloads

Discussion in 'Front Desk' started by Col Mustard, Feb 6, 2020.

  1. Col Mustard

    Col Mustard Well-Known Member

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    So this is a new feature of this website which is very annoying
    and even a little scary:

    When I click on a page number to read more in a thread...
    as soon as that page comes up, something jumps into my downloads.
    I don't know what it is, because I immediately delete it. This is a
    "new" development to me, because I have been a member since 2009
    and never had any unwanted downloads appearing on my hard drive.

    (Or if I did, they never appeared this way before).

    On my Mac, I see it jump into my downloads because this computer animates
    that action. So I open my "downloads folder" and there is something I didn't
    intentionally download that is named "index."
    It looks like a website, the way my computer displays it.

    When I joined up here, I'm sure I agreed to allow cookies.
    If that's all this is, okay. Maybe one of the admins can explain what is
    happening. I'm writing this on a 2015 Mac Book Air, running OS 10.14.

    These days, we can't trust anybody, or anything. Especially online.
    So I'm reporting this 'new thing" publicly, hoping someone knows what it
    is. If it's some kind of marketeering spam bot, let's squash it
    and boycott its clients.
    If it's spyware, let's take it down, strip it down, and neutralize its secrets.
    If it's malware, let's reverse it on its creator(s).

    If it's harmless ETSG functions, I hope admins can figure out a less annoying
    way for it to work. Right now, I'm going to be very cautious if I return to
    this site. I don't like to feel paranoid, which is one reason I am a Mac user.
    My computers have had very little trouble in the last twenty years... but that
    doesn't mean it can't happen.
     
    Chubbles likes this.
  2. Chubbles

    Chubbles Well-Known Member

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    Well said.
     
  3. DrBGood

    DrBGood Well-Known Member

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    Apple ... nothing on my PC.
     
    dub-setter likes this.
  4. donepearce

    donepearce Well-Known Member

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    Likewise, just get the wanted pages on my PC
     
  5. Worblehat

    Worblehat Well-Known Member

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    I quickly checked on a MacBook with MacOS 10.15 and Safari (I am usually using Firefox). No problems.
    It's probably not malware or something like this. When you enter a website (or rather a URL) in you browser (e.g. Safari), it's up to your browser to decide whether the resource this URL is pointing to is something you want to display or download. Somehow your browser does not recognize the resource as a website it can display and therefore downloads it. Then you end up with something like a 'index.html' file on your hard drive.

    Hard to tell what's causing the problem here. Either your browser is acting weird (have you tried another one or emptied its cache?) or the server is sending wrong/corrupted files. This sometimes also happens when your internet connection is flaky and parts of the website get lost on the way to you.
     
  6. Biddlin

    Biddlin Well-Known Member

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    I don't have that issue, either. However I do have concerns over the security with this and sister sites.
     
  7. donepearce

    donepearce Well-Known Member

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    Unfortunately insecurity is built into this site by its failure to use https. Never use a password here that you also use for anything important.
     
    Worblehat and Biddlin like this.
  8. Col Mustard

    Col Mustard Well-Known Member

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    thanks for the responses,
    I had never seen this particular behavior before,
    and it sort of spooked me.

    Also, I have seen spam bots operating on this site
    in the past. Sure and they were Imperial Probe Droids...
    ProbeDroid-TSWA.jpg
     
  9. donepearce

    donepearce Well-Known Member

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    To add to my earlier post. I have received a number of emails demanding money as blackmail. The emails reveal the password I use here (and only here), and threaten to tell my colleagues that I have a porn habit. Obviously I realised at once what was going on, and where they had found this password. So I'll advise once more - passwords here are visible and readable in net traffic, and crooks are always trying to intercept data to any insecure site of this kind where people log in.

    If you don't see https: in the address, either give it a miss, or use a unique password.
     
  10. Worblehat

    Worblehat Well-Known Member

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    You are 100% right. Unfortunately too many people don't take this serious. There was a thread about the HTTPS issue some time ago and the admin said he was working on it...but sadly nothing changed.
     
  11. Col Mustard

    Col Mustard Well-Known Member

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    That's a good point, thanks for posting. I have received threats like that too, but the criminal had hacked my password on Linked in, and only that one. So I changed
    that password, but I still see one of those "scary" Gangnam style emails occasionally, still threatening to spill all my evil
    secrets if I don't pay. *laughs

    The ones I see are still threatening to use the old password...
    ...so, scary but not too bright. And if you don't have a lot
    of illegal activity on your computer, not too scary either.

    I never use Linked In for anything, I'm retired. So I should just delete
    that account. I wonder if it would disappear, or be preserved in (cyber) space
    like a wrecked and obsolete spacecraft, docked in a graveyard of such things.
     

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