WinAntiVirus Attack

A couple of nights ago, my computer got afflicted with the WinAntiVirus malware.

It started out innocently enough: I was using Windows Media Center to watch TV, and I had IE open pointing to a portal site. As the TV program was about to end, I heard a couple of beeps. I didn’t think much of it at the time (actually by that time it was probably already too late). After the program ended, I closed Windows Media Center, and started noticing that the computer was really busy. A couple of minutes after that, I start seeing the following:

  • Popup windows, popup windows, and more popup windows.
  • A program called WinAntiVirus asking to see if it can install itself.
  • The computer remained extremely busy.

At this time, it was obvious that I got hit by the WinAntiVirus malware (isn’t it annoying that it disguises itself as a anti-virus software?) My first job was to figure out what I can do to get rid of it. So, I went to the search engine and found a couple of sites, all of them recommending elaborate steps for removing this trouble maker.

“There must be an easier way!” I thought… I am always leery about downloading more software and going into the registry, and then I remembered Windows XP has this System Restore function that would restore the system configuration to a previous time. So, I tried this route. Lo and behold, it worked!

In addition to that, I went into the Temp folder and got rid of all the files that were created after the system first became unstable. Hopefully these steps have saved my computer from this dreaded malware.

One thing that makes me wonder is how the malware got into my computer in the first place. I was not viewing any dubious web pages, and I haven’t opened any strange email attachments. Obviously figuring out what had happened is important because I want to be able to plug that hole so that this doesn’t happen in the future. A search on the internet, however, didn’t reveal anything. If anyone has any thoughts on this, please let me know!

The Importance of Diversification

We often hear about someone making such and such amount of money from one particular form of advertising, or from one particular web site. This is all great. However, assuming that publisher does not have another income stream (whether it be a different website or a different method of income), that publisher does run the risk of having that single site / single monetization mechanism taken away from him/her. What if someone outranks you in search engines and you lose half of your traffic? What if the program you have been relying on all of a sudden decide to cancel your account? Or simply disappeared? Do you have a way to react to these types of events?

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New Wrinkles in Adsense Reporting

I noticed a couple of things in Adsense reporting:

1. Under “Advanced Report” in the Year dropdown box, the selections now range from 2001 to 2037. Not quite sure why this happened, as Adsense was first started in 2003 and it’s now 2007. The extra 30 years post 2007, as well as 2001 / 2002, just don’t seem necessary. This is perhaps related to the introduction of Referrals 2.0?

2. If you have Adsense Referrals 2.0 enabled and you have selected a group of ads to display (perhaps a category or ads or keyword-based buckets), you’ll find a) the list of products that you can select is now much bigger — you can track performance at the individual product/advertiser level, something that was not possible with Adsense For Content, and b) it now takes much longer to load the page, especially if you are promoting many of the Referrals 2.0 products.

TopCat’s Experience and Thoughts on Adsense Referrals 2.0

Google announced Adsense Referrals 2.0 three days ago. I am now writing about it three days later because I want to talk about my experience with it, rather than just repeat what Google said.

Not all Adsense publishers will see Referrals 2.0 right away. Once your Adsense account is upgraded (Google is upgrading accounts as we speak), you’ll be able to tap into the greatly expanded Referrals inventory. As we know, previously only Google products were on the Referrals inventory list.

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Browser Market Share, June 2007

Here is the browser market share for June 2007, based on traffic to my top site:

IE: 65.12%
Firefox: 31.33%
Opera: 1.94%
Safari: 0.73%
Mozilla: 0.57%

For the first time since we started reporting browser market share numbers, IE increased market share (+0.23%) and Firefox lost market share (-0.09%). The biggest loser for June, however, was Opera, which lost 0.18%. Safari gained 0.10% during June, with Safari on Windows accounting for most of the gain (0.07%).

It appears that Safari on Windows has not made much inroads into the IE/Firefox duopoly in the browser market. It is currently only an alpha product, with bugs to be worked out, so I don’t expect much change in the browser landscape before Safari on Windows is officially in production.