February 23, 2005 2:46 PM PST

Spyware infiltrates blogs

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spyware and prompts them to click the ad to protect themselves. Clicking the ad launches a download that infects a machine with spyware.

At least one Blogger visitor has charged that his computer was hit by an automatic download that did not require him to click on anything to become infected.

The alleged victim, an attorney at Mallory & Tsibouris, has published a cautionary note on the company's Web site: We do "not endorse the use of the 'Next Blog' at the upper right hand corner of this blog."

Edelman said that one major culprit of malicious code was a service called iWebtunes.com, which lets people add music to the Web sites in the form of a couple lines of JavaScript code. Bloggers using Blogspot might embed the iWebtunes code into their template and then pass on the spyware unwittingly to visitors to their site.

iWebtunes will likely get a fee each time it spreads the spyware or it might benefit from the sale of advertising. The bloggers, on the other hand, will get nothing.

Attempts to contact iWebtunes were unsuccessful. The company does not publish contact information on its Web site and uses a third party to protect its identity in the Whois database, the public registry of Web site owners. The company provided a phone number in its Whois registration, but the number was busy for several hours on Wednesday morning.

Google is hardly the only one to blame in this scenario. Microsoft has long been criticized for security weaknesses that let code writers take advantage of its Internet Explorer, the most widely used Web browser.

"You could blame users for clicking on the pop-up, blame Microsoft for designing the insecure software installation system, blame iWebtunes for delivering the pop-ups, or you could blame the blog's author for embedding iWebtunes," Edelman said.

Webroot's Stiennon advises people to switch to the Mozilla Foundation's Firefox Web browser for reading blogs. Either do that, or change IE security settings to deactivate ActiveX or JavaScript in the Web browser, he said.

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yes, I have experienced unwanted spyware and cannot find a program to remove it. The spyware has changed my desktop icons to have a botton arrow attached. I have several good programs to remove hackers but my icons still have an ugly arrow attached. I think this is comming from Earthlink.net
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