A Parent's Question

Shaun

Regular Member
Messages
67
Likes
0
My Location
Hampshire, UK
#1
A while back after my kids had been surfing the net, I noticed a strange ICON on my computer which looked like it had been downloaded from an adult website. I immediately deleted it and from what I could tell, my kids had no knowledge of its existence. Today however I got my BT phone bill (my ISP is NTL, however this service is provided via a BT pone line) and saw a charge for a premium rate number. I checked this with BT and it appears its a number associated with an adult website. When I rang NTL, they told me about automatic diallers which can quite often get downloaded without the user's knowledge. This raises a few questions.
1) I'm looking to see how I can protect my kids from accessing such websites in the first place. NTL recommends, Net Nanny. Does anyone know if this is effective and whether it slows down the computer?
2) If I bar premium rate calls with BT, will this prevent automatic diallers from dialling such numbers in the future?
3) How can an automatic dialler dial a BT number anyway while my computer is connected to the internet? Surely my telephone line is engaged?
Any assistance would be much appreciated.
Thanks.
 

rolfw

Believe it when I see it Admin.
Staff member
Messages
37,688
Likes
1,283
My Satellite Setup
Technomate 5402 HD M2 Ci, DM7000s, Transparent 80cm Dish, Moteck SG2100 DiseqC motor, lots of legacy gear. Meters: Satlook Digital NIT, Promax HD Ranger+ spectrum analyser.
My Location
Berkshire
#2
A good fire wall and pop up stopper will go some way to stopping these things being loaded Shaun, there are also some other programs which can find them and delete them, Spybot search and destroy is one, Adaware another. The Dialer will connect whenever it has a chance, some of them will even re-install themselves if you don't find the registry entry.

You can also make changes in your Internet Explorer advanced settings and prevent these items from being installed.
 

drag0nfly_69uk

Regular Member
Messages
160
Likes
0
My Location
essex boy
#3
there is no stopping dialer to install and dial itself! that's a nasty piece of work. the only way to stop are:

bar premium number
dont use modem at all (install broadband)

antivirus cant detect dialers because they are not virus
firewall cant stop because it does not "surf" the net
popup stopper cant stop because it's not a popup
internet advance cant help much, if you stop active x and java from running then you dont have much fun surfing the net, most of shockwave and sound wont run
as to shaun point
1: you dont have to surf those sites to get a dialer, dialers are sometimes hidden in adverts, links from search engines, game sites, music, lyric sites etc.
3: dialer dials at random intervals some modems can be set to dial by itself without pc being on (some modems has memory for voice mail etc)
 

Channel Hopper

Suffering fools, so you don't have to.
Staff member
Messages
24,893
Likes
5,487
My Satellite Setup
A little less analogue, and a lot more crap.
My Location
UK South
#5
I would have to agree with Dragonfly and suggest broadband if you only use the PC/laptop at home.

The costs of the dialup via the modem and any of the deliberate charges as a result of a dialer, will quickly be recouperated within the monthly flat rate offered.

Besides its quicker

By the way how much did the addtional calls come to ? Ive heard os some people end up with a Compuserve type four digit bill a month after surfing because of these little blighters.

CH
 

Shaun

Regular Member
Messages
67
Likes
0
My Location
Hampshire, UK
#7
Thanks m8's for the information. The additional cost on my bill was about £16 so it looks like I got away lightly. Also, there have been no re-occurrences of this number since I deleted the ICON in February. I did remove something suspicious last night from a list of diallers on my computer, but I don't really know what I'm looking for. Anyway I got BT to bar premium rate numbers and I downloaded a 15-day free trial version of Net Nanny, so hopefully there'll be no further re-occurrences. One last thing, I rang the regulator and made a complaint against this particular number and they weren't really that interested. In fact, since my loss was less than £20 I had to be insistent to even get them to record my complaint. Surely, such numbers employing underhand methods should be locked out from the telephone network all together. When I spoke to my son, he told me he just couldn't close the popup window. In fact it seems that it was when he hit the 'X' square that it invoked the adult website.
Once again, thanks all.
 

drag0nfly_69uk

Regular Member
Messages
160
Likes
0
My Location
essex boy
#8
@rolfw: that's safesurf anti dialer can only protect against "installed" dialers, it does not offer protection on "registry" hacked dialers, those are the most nasty ones, they are only a set of registry keys, therefore cant be detected by antivirus or anything at all. we cant make registry file read only as windows os needs to write values to the registry keys all the time.

@shaun: there are dialers will dial an international premium number to bypass barring attempts. you will have to bar international numbers as well!!
 

drag0nfly_69uk

Regular Member
Messages
160
Likes
0
My Location
essex boy
#9
@shaun: if you open up control panel, dial up networking, the legitimate one will say aol, freeserve, etc and if you click on them, you will see a recognised phone number ie 0808....; 120; 0800...; 08457 etc. naughty dialers sometimes have the number blanked out or looking like **********.
 

Shaun

Regular Member
Messages
67
Likes
0
My Location
Hampshire, UK
#10
Thanks all.
@drag0nfly_69uk, I found dial up networking under programs Start>Accessories>Communications. In there I found "Make New Connection" (no number specified), Dellnet and ntlworld so it looks like I'm OK.
I think I shall send a complaint off to BT and the regulators. If BT allow this scum to connect their premium lines to BT's telephone network, then BT should take some of the blame. After all, its BT who are trying to charge me for this call. When I spoke to my kids it seems they were tricked into trying to close the popup window using a false 'X' in the top right hand corner of the window. So I don't see how BT can justify their demand for this payment.
Anyway, I've now got Net Nanny running, so I shall see how it goes. One of the options in Net Nanny is to disable pop-ups, but this option seems to cause one or two problems so I've not got it selected.
Once again, many thanks all.
 

2old4this

Honorary Admin
Messages
1,658
Likes
0
My Location
Cloud Cuckoo Land
#11
@Shaun -
one other word of warning...
you mentioned a couple of times that you deleted the icon. Don't forget: an icon in your start menu is not the program itself, but merely a shortcut to the program. The program is stored somewhere else iin your computer. And an icon on the desktop will also (almost always) be just a shortcut (most software gets installed in such a way that a shortcut appears on the desktop, with the actual program being stored somewhere else within your computer's directrory structure).

It is the program that is doing the dialing, not the shortcut to it. If the program is already installed and active (eg set to auto-dial periodically, or perhaps even defined as a startup program in Windows) then deleting just a shortcut to it will not help. You should ideally check the "properties" of the icon to determine whether it is indeed merely a shortcut, and if so what is the actual location on your computer of the dialer program that it is pointing to - so you can delete that.

2old
 

Shaun

Regular Member
Messages
67
Likes
0
My Location
Hampshire, UK
#12
Thanks 2old4this, I did remove the file too. I can't find any traces of the dialler any more, also there have been no re-occurrences. I've now got the Net Nanny website filter, a ZoneAlarm firewall, Norton Anti-Virus and barred Premium calls. Is there anything else I need to do?
 

2old4this

Honorary Admin
Messages
1,658
Likes
0
My Location
Cloud Cuckoo Land
#13
Only other precaution I can advise is this: when/if you get screens popping up which you did not expect and which require a response (typically require you to hit a yes or a cancel button), don't hit any of the buttons. Close the screen using the "x" at top right. This avoids inadvertently hitting the "wrong" choice in the case of foreign-language prompts, and also circumvents the risk of the question having been deliberately misleading. It *is* possible that in closing down a box, some other window or process will be started anyway, but most such underhand activities will be blocked by a good popup-killer and firewall.

Be aware that popup killers can not easily distinguish between "good" popups and "bad" ones. So if you leave it active, you may be preventing"good" ones as well - this may (eg) prevent certain info screens appearing from certain websites, and can even prevent online bookings/purchases if they use popups. I find I have to regularly disable mine to get around such problems (the re-enable it after I've completed the desired action).

Zone-Alarm also takes some setting up to use effectively. One must separately authorise programs to access the web or act as servers. I once had a virus attack, and although Norton repaired the damage, it did so by "disinfecting" the infected programs. IE it removed the bits of viral code from the executables. Next time I tried to use email, browser, etc., the firewall blocked the access as it now detected that the exes were not the same as had originally been authorized.

All in all, it becomes quite an administrative overhead trying to keep on top of things. And let's not even talk about adware...

2old
 

rolfw

Believe it when I see it Admin.
Staff member
Messages
37,688
Likes
1,283
My Satellite Setup
Technomate 5402 HD M2 Ci, DM7000s, Transparent 80cm Dish, Moteck SG2100 DiseqC motor, lots of legacy gear. Meters: Satlook Digital NIT, Promax HD Ranger+ spectrum analyser.
My Location
Berkshire
#14
I use popup stopper pro, it pops up a message and makes a sound when blocking a popup, you can then use the control button and refresh the screen if you wish to see the popup window, works well.
 

Shaun

Regular Member
Messages
67
Likes
0
My Location
Hampshire, UK
#15
Zone-Alarm also takes some setting up to use effectively. One must separately authorise programs to access the web or act as servers.
I'm now finding that out. Has anyone got any idea what the QMgr is?
 

rolfw

Believe it when I see it Admin.
Staff member
Messages
37,688
Likes
1,283
My Satellite Setup
Technomate 5402 HD M2 Ci, DM7000s, Transparent 80cm Dish, Moteck SG2100 DiseqC motor, lots of legacy gear. Meters: Satlook Digital NIT, Promax HD Ranger+ spectrum analyser.
My Location
Berkshire
#16
Lokks like its a part of MSN Messenger Shaun, see HERE
 

Shaun

Regular Member
Messages
67
Likes
0
My Location
Hampshire, UK
#17
Thanks Rolf much appreciated, I did install MSN messenger recently, but then decided to de-install it. It seems the MSN messenger de-install did not get rid of this spy program. Any idea on how to delete it from my machine? By the way Net Nanny wouldn't let me access the forum you mentioned, so I had to disable it. Wonder why?
 

Shaun

Regular Member
Messages
67
Likes
0
My Location
Hampshire, UK
#18
No problem, I've just found out how to disable QMgr. You know my biggest problem is not the security of my computer, its more knowing how to grant my kids greater freedom and still ensuring that they are protected. Learning to let go... the age old parental dilemma I guess.
 

rolfw

Believe it when I see it Admin.
Staff member
Messages
37,688
Likes
1,283
My Satellite Setup
Technomate 5402 HD M2 Ci, DM7000s, Transparent 80cm Dish, Moteck SG2100 DiseqC motor, lots of legacy gear. Meters: Satlook Digital NIT, Promax HD Ranger+ spectrum analyser.
My Location
Berkshire
#19
Never easy shaun, there is always someone out there with a mind to exploit surfers. If you still want to use a messenger service, you could try Trillian, it does everything that MSN does, but also ICQ, AIM and Yahoo, it is also not as intrusive as Messenger.
 
Top