Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Malware and free E-cards

Update: Check out my new website dedicated entirely to Bad Sites to Avoid.
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Tonight I was looking for Valentine’s Day ecards to send to my online friends. I googled ‘free Valentine ecards’ and got pages and pages of results. Unfortunately, out of the 28 I checked, only 8 of them were acceptable as far as the risk I would take using their site.

It’s ridiculous that security or lack thereof has gotten so out of hand. But, let me tell you this - the majority of the problem lies with the website itself. They ALLOW the malware. Because they are free sites, the costs for maintaining the sites are such that the owners have no choice but to allow advertisers access to their readers. This permission just opens the door to all kinds of havoc. Once a webmaster, host, or site owner allow companies access to their databases, it’s a free-for-all! But, why? I NEVER click a website ad! Do you? I go to the ad’s home page instead!

Here are the bad and the good I have found so far:


BAD
  • 123greetings.com
  • all4love.net
  • Greet2k.com
  • usagreetings.com
  • Funny-ecards.com
  • americangreetings.com
  • Care2.com
  • scenicreflections.com
  • 1lovecards.com
  • higreetings.com
  • bluemountain.com
  • funpunch.com
  • cardfountain.com
  • superlaugh.com
  • Greetingsnecards.com
  • Free-e-cards-online.com
  • Valentinesdaycards.net
  • Greetings.com
  • Marlo.com
  • Freewebcards.com
GOOD
I checked them all with Firefox’s WOT add-on and with McAfee’s Siteadvisor. Most on the “bad” list were “red;” but, some I had to use my judgment on because they had pop-ups that I know have been trouble in the past, such as tribalfusion.com, fastclick.com, and doubleclick.com.

Tracking cookies might have been prevalent, and although they aren’t that harmful, they are super annoying and slow your computer down terribly. Who wants to have to run Ad-Aware or other cleaner after visiting every site just so your PC won’t turn into a snail or a turtle?


I may be wrong about some of these, but, after spending a ton of money for professional off-site help cleaning my computer in the past, I’m not taking any chances anymore! The logical (and drastic) solution would be to stop using the Internet and I don’t see that happening!


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