Spyware alert. December 24, 2008 8:54 AM   Subscribe

FPP link leads to spyware.

I didn't (and still don't) have this problem on my own PC/browser set up (running AVG now just to double check), but my link to an article on The New Republic is starting up a spyware ad for some folks. (Explained by Doctor Zed here--removal instructions helpfully included).

Mods emailed earlier, plenty of warning in the thread at this point, but wanted to notify here as well.
posted by availablelight to Bugs at 8:54 AM (30 comments total)

I don't really see why it was necessary to delete the whole post. Why not just replace the tnr link with the google cache link?
posted by sonic meat machine at 9:01 AM on December 24, 2008


The problem isn't any actual virus is happening direct from their website. Someone, somehow, injected javascript payloads into their site. This is either by hacking their web server or one of their many ad servers. Every little advertising box you see on a mainstream publication comes from a different web server run by an advertising company and they tend to get hacked from time to time.

So someone injects some javascript that after five seconds redirects to some BS page about "oh noes! your computer is infected!" and it launches a javascript alert. If you actually believe it and install the software suggested (on a windows PC), you will be willfully loading god knows what into your system.

The big annoyance is that the warnings are fake (I'm on a mac) and deceptive, trying to fool people into loading software on their computer that someone with enough ethical problems to fake their way onto your computer would write, which could be a million times worse than a simple virus.

I don't want to promote that or annoy thousands of members and readers here, so I removed it. It seems like the entire post hinges on that story, so I took the post down since there don't seem to be other sources for the story (also, holocaust denial talk on xmas eve skeeves me out a bit).
posted by mathowie (staff) at 9:12 AM on December 24, 2008


This is the text-only cache of the story, mathowie. It's ugly, but it's serviceable.
posted by sonic meat machine at 9:16 AM on December 24, 2008


Alternately, I think the print layout on their site is also free of the bugbears.
posted by sonic meat machine at 9:17 AM on December 24, 2008


holocaust denial talk on xmas eve skeeves me out a bit

ditto. mildly interesting story, bad link, bad timing.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:18 AM on December 24, 2008


Thanks for removing the link, mathowie-- unfortunately, the entire post does hinge on that story so far, and I haven't found any other sources yet to replace that link with.

If you check some of the article excepts I eventually posted in the thread, though, this isn't a "skeevy", "Holocaust denial" story...no one denies that Rosenblat spent time in the camps (fact checkers actually interviewed others who were imprisoned with him), just that it would have been impossible for the schmaltzy love story to have happened as described:

"The most tragic part is that [Herman's] embellishments have no impact at all on the essence of the story of his suffering," Lipstadt told me me via email. "He invented a love story to go with it. I am not excusing him for doing this--of course this could be a false memory incident--but I am cautioning a note of sadness as opposed to some of the 'gotcha' things that are floating around."

posted by availablelight at 9:23 AM on December 24, 2008


[also, post was timed by the article release--12/25/08--not by a holiday observed by some, not all, MeFites. I didn't realize it would be construed as "bad timing" to not hold it until after the 25th.]
posted by availablelight at 9:26 AM on December 24, 2008


sonic meat machine, if you click "next" in your link, you're sent to the spyware page.
posted by desjardins at 9:32 AM on December 24, 2008


Agree with deletion due to spyware. The cache version is not a good substitute because the next page link goes back to TNR.com.

But holocaust denial? WTF? Challenging one person's holocaust story is not holocaust denial. And Christmas Eve has nothing to do with anything.
posted by grouse at 9:37 AM on December 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


Yeah, desjardins, realized that after I looked at it more closely. Not sure why google caches don't substitute cache links for internal linking. The print layout page seems fine, though.

Honestly, everybody should run NoScript anyway. :-\
posted by sonic meat machine at 9:38 AM on December 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


So, how come I didn't get re-directed to the spyware page? (FF 3.0, Windows XP)
posted by rtha at 9:42 AM on December 24, 2008


That was a great post actually, if a clean link can be found I vote for it being reinstated or reposted. I'm always down for a little game of Let's Crucify The Fake Memoir! (what? oh. Er, Happy Holidays!)
posted by Potomac Avenue at 9:43 AM on December 24, 2008


If you check some of the article excepts I eventually posted in the thread, though, this isn't a "skeevy", "Holocaust denial" story...no one denies that Rosenblat spent time in the camps

Challenging one person's holocaust story is not holocaust denial.

I read the links and I feel like I pretty much understand the general thrust of the article. I know that on the surface it doesn't seem skeevy. However, just like many many other "hey here's a little bit of a Holocaust story that we can poke some holes in" this sort of thing becomes part of a larger fabric of Holocaust denial that hate groups use against Jews to this day. I have a hard time believing that the 12/25/08 timing is coincidental, perhaps I'm just looking for controversy where there is only coincidence and taking too postmodern a reading on this.

Let me say again, I do not think that you meant anything negative by posting this availablelight.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:45 AM on December 24, 2008


It's also worth noting that the people who have worked the hardest to bring this story to light are prominent Holocaust historians--one of whom (Deborah Lipstadt) is a specialist of sorts in writing about Holocaust denial. Whether or not this was a great FPP, it was made in reference to other literary memoir scandals (linked), and not meant as a "LOL FAKE HOLOCAUST STORY AMIRITE MERRY XMASS" post.
posted by availablelight at 9:46 AM on December 24, 2008


...and if a post date of 12/25/08 for this story is anti-Semitic, you've got a bone to pick with TNR, not me. (And given that their masthead isn't exactly crowded by WASPish names, they may find that amusing.)
posted by availablelight at 9:48 AM on December 24, 2008


This should definitely be reposted once the link problem is fixed. The core issues about memoir vs. fiction vs. history are well worth discussing as are the problematic and potentially incendiary implications of "Holocaust literature," as opposed to testimony.
posted by FelliniBlank at 9:56 AM on December 24, 2008


Ok, I reinstated it with the print version linked, so hopefully no more virus/adware trickery with this version.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 10:01 AM on December 24, 2008


if a post date of 12/25/08 for this story is anti-Semitic, you've got a bone to pick with TNR, not me.

Correct, I do.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 10:12 AM on December 24, 2008


Thanks, mathowie.
posted by sonic meat machine at 10:24 AM on December 24, 2008


I know that on the surface it doesn't seem skeevy. However, just like many many other "hey here's a little bit of a Holocaust story that we can poke some holes in" this sort of thing becomes part of a larger fabric of Holocaust denial that hate groups use against Jews to this day.

With all due respect, and I respect you more than just about anyone, this is completely wrong. The problem isn't the hole-poking, the problem is the liars who create demonstrably false stories; it's the demonstrably false stories that are the fodder for hate groups. Is everyone supposed to pretend that every cute story that some egotistical asshole cooks up to get attention, using the Holocaust to give it pizzazz, is true because to poke holes in it would give aid and comfort to deniers? I'm sure you don't think that, but that's what your objection seems to imply.
posted by languagehat at 11:34 AM on December 24, 2008 [5 favorites]


<inserts swastika cartoon>
posted by ryanrs at 12:33 PM on December 24, 2008


Uh, Metatalk is new to me, so maybe I am missing the introspection of the paradigm, but FWIW:

Firefox + NoScript = Win at the internet

It really is that simple.

Oh, and my smug anecdote: my business partner always ran FF+NoScript because I made him do it. Then he got lazy and decided NoScript was too annoying to deal with every time he made a *first* visit to some website. So he decided to forgo NoScript.

One day, clicking a link on his favorite linky-blog, he was made the unwilling recipient of a drive-by malware script. After two days of wrestling with the thing, he gave up and decided to format his entire hard drive. He did have backups, so he didn't lose anything vital. However, he lost over an entire week messing with it. If that had been billable time, would have been over $4,000. Fortunately we were not on deadline.

He uses NoScript now.
posted by Xoebe at 1:55 PM on December 24, 2008


Wait a minute... are you saying that javascript can fuck over your machine from within Firefox?
posted by ryanrs at 2:00 PM on December 24, 2008


are you saying that javascript can fuck over your machine from within Firefox?

Nope, re-read my first comment in this thread. You have to download their "virus remover" to get infected with the spyware, but it's a dumb confusing web hack that gets a lot of people to download crap.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 2:21 PM on December 24, 2008


Re-read the comment above mine.
posted by ryanrs at 2:25 PM on December 24, 2008


FPP link leads to spyware.

I can see what y'all are doing and you should be ashamed!
posted by deborah at 5:14 PM on December 24, 2008


Just wanted everyone to know that last night I had nightmares about going to nytimes.com and having spyware pop up.

It was a pretty lame nightmare.
posted by odinsdream at 7:35 AM on December 25, 2008


And then, the bug-me-not login failed. Boo!
posted by ryanrs at 6:15 PM on December 25, 2008


MetaFilter: holocaust denial talk on Christmas eve.
posted by fourcheesemac at 5:01 AM on December 26, 2008


I read the links and I feel like I pretty much understand the general thrust of the article. I know that on the surface it doesn't seem skeevy. However, just like many many other "hey here's a little bit of a Holocaust story that we can poke some holes in" this sort of thing becomes part of a larger fabric of Holocaust denial that hate groups use against Jews to this day.

Woah, what? The answer is that people shouldn't fabricate stories about the Holocaust, not that we should believe every holocaust story uncritically.
posted by delmoi at 6:43 PM on December 27, 2008


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