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Census Reference check

Discussion in 'Key features of the LostCousins site' started by Bryman, Jul 28, 2017.

  1. Bryman

    Bryman LostCousins Megastar

    About a week ago, I entered a new reference for the 1881 census and clicked the arrow to check that I had the reference correctly specified. Within seconds I received a message telling me that I was unable to connect to the ad.doubleclick.net web site, which might be temporarily down or perhaps have moved to a new web address.

    I repeated the check several times over about 15 minutes and eventually it worked as expected. I tried both Firefox and Chrome as the browser but that did not seem to make any difference. One suggestion was that the site might have been busy but I would not expect that to continue for more than a moment. I notified Peter who told me that he was not experiencing a problem so I assumed that it was just a temporary glitch.

    A few hours ago, a similar situation occurred and it was over 20 minutes before things went back to normal.

    Has anybody else experienced anything similar?
  2. Heather

    Heather LostCousins Member

    Hi Bryman, I tried 1881, 1841 and 1911 and they all worked fine.
  3. Bob Spiers

    Bob Spiers LostCousins Star

    I just caught the words 'doubleclick' and knew instantly therein lay your problem. I had similar problems (in a different web browsing context but the same message) and eventually traced it back to the artful (I am being kind) advert website known as ad.doubleclick.net. Whilst a (so called) legitimate advertising service it gets used and abused as a redirect when browsing the web which will in time result in constant 'cannot connect' messages.

    It is not something one welcomes and needs removing as it quickly takes the form of a virus however seemingly benign. I removed it with 'Malwarebytes Anti-Malware' although others will be up to the task. You can read what it is and how to remove it here: doubleclick

    In my case it first appeared in Chrome (and one of the reasons I stopped using the browser) but eventually Firefox was similarly affected which is when I took steps to do something about it. Sadly it can and probably will reappear in time so keep looking for ad.doubclick.net when a new browser window opens. Sooner or later it will become a nuisance.

    PS Regarding the advice in the link provided, I found Malwarebytes quite sufficient but can also recommend Hitman Pro.
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2017
  4. peter

    peter Administrator Staff Member

    And I can recommend not using any of these add-ons. Doubleclick is a perfectly respectable site which belongs to Google, so please ignore the scare story on the page that Bob linked to.

    Although I don't allow Google to put advertising on the LostCousins site I do use Google Analytics to track how many visitors come to the site, how long they stay, which pages they visit etc, all valuable statistics - so I'd much rather LostCousins members didn't start blocking Google. Indeed, as most of the problems reported to me are related to Firefox or Firefox add-ons I wish everyone would switch to a different browser.

    I've personally never experienced the problem that Bryman reported, so it's probably to do with his Internet connection (unless he's using Firefox, of course).
  5. Bob Spiers

    Bob Spiers LostCousins Star

    With great respect Peter, I disagree entirely, not about Firefox being holier than thou -because it isn't - but about extolling the virtues of Chrome/Google as entirely virtuous. Sadly, 'doubleclick' is just one testament to its invasive ploys. It performs as a 'trojan horse' in the Greek sense (not the virus sense, although not a million miles away in that sense either). At first innocuous, but host to hidden undesirables taking you to were they want to go, and preventing or delaying with error messages when you try to go elsewhere. As soon as spotted -and it does reappear from time to time - I remove it and have lost count of the number of times I have read about its invasive practices on Geek sites and through web searches. It is second only to intrusive adverts which I also go out of my way to block.

    Incidentally I read that Chrome is soon to introduce a built-in Ad-blocker which I will welcome, although something tells me certain Google inspired ads will escape, or am I being cynical?

    I understand you view things differently (and perhaps zealously) as a web site owner but you need not fear as people will continue to use the browser with which they are most comfortable. I use Chrome more than I used to, whilst continuing with Firefox & Edge. All I warn it to be alert to their hidden agendas, out to promote their own interests. That goes for Amazon and Microsoft as well.
  6. peter

    peter Administrator Staff Member

    Bob, I didn't say that Google were 'totally virtuous', but you provided a link to an article headed:

    How to remove Ad.doubleclick.net redirect (Virus Removal Guide)

    A lot of people will be concerned when they see that, and unnecessarily so. Sure, if they read all the detail below they might become less concerned, but many will simply follow the instructions.

    By the way, I suspect that you get far more problems as a result of installing the various add-ons that you tell us about than I do my installing none of them (which wouldn't be difficult, as I have zero problems - thanks to Kaspersky, which costs me about £4 per year per computer).
  7. Bryman

    Bryman LostCousins Megastar

    I am beginning to sense a slight aroma. I have only encountered this problem twice and both times were when checking LC census references. Otherwise, everything seems normal in between occurrences, regardless of the browser being used.

    Several months ago, my son installed a donated Raspberry Pi as my Domain Name Server (instead of the standard router function) which checks all page requests against a table of about 100,000+ undesirable 'advert' sites. Currently, about 10% of page requests are blocked/discarded which speeds up the display and makes everything look much less cluttered. Don't worry Peter, your LC adverts are not blocked. If this had been installed only recently then I might have been more worried by a strong smell but I am pretty sure that is not a decaying fish or smouldering computer cable.

    BTW, a possible word of warning. I don't object to the collection of LC stats but please take some of them with a pinch of salt. I often have several pages open at the same time and sometimes even use multiple browsers, not just tabs. I am also frequently 'distracted' (hauled away) to do other things and do not return to continue for possibly hours. Perhaps this might even make it obvious and easy to remove me from the data collection.
  8. Bob Spiers

    Bob Spiers LostCousins Star

    I would accept all that except I too have Kaspersky on ALL my computers and an excellent product it is and Norton not far behind. Neither will warn of 'doubleclick' and that applies to other invasions which are not outright viruses. Yet one of my add-ons (Hitman Pro) reacts immediately it detects same and suggests it be removed for its invasive qualities. The funny thing is once remove Chrome (and other browsers) perform as before. You are lucky to have zero problems because I even have them often and none are down to add-ons, and if they were they too would be removed.
  9. peter

    peter Administrator Staff Member

    There are no statistics for individual users, and like you I have many tabs open so I'm aware of potential issues. No individual user is going to affect the conclusions, not even one as prolific as you.
  10. peter

    peter Administrator Staff Member

    Of course not, because there's nothing to warn about!
    You say you have no problems with add-ons but you also say that Hitman Pro thinks there's something wrong with Doubleclick!

    It seems to me that, like the article you linked to, these add-ons exaggerate the dangers in order to 'prove' their worth.
  11. Bob Spiers

    Bob Spiers LostCousins Star

    You may have a point about proving their worth, but I know how my computers behaved with doubleclick operating behind the scenes and how normality was restored with it gone. Any Malware detection software worth its salt will recognise nuisance invasions even those identified as low risk. If I cannot see a reason to keep it, then it goes; simple as that.

    We'll just have to agree to disagree Peter.
  12. peter

    peter Administrator Staff Member

    Doubleclick is NOT malware. To describe it as 'low risk malware' is misleading and unhelpful.
  13. Rhian

    Rhian LostCousins Member

    In my opinion, for what it is worth, anything that wastes my time and bandwidth downloading anything I do not want to see is malware. Doubleclick falls squarely into that category and Ghostery ranks it and most Google spyware, together with hundreds of other items, as highly desirable to block. I do not need to go through doubleclick to get from LC to FMP and have written a widget to extract the referral link from the doubleclick link so if I purchase anything Peter gets his pot of gold still.

    I do not have any problems with virus' as I use linux and do not need antivirus software, my system all run smoothly and are 100% ad free unless it is an inline link in an editorial. The only slow point I have is the satellite internet connection and as the local council have now started to lay 25,00 Km of glass fibre so every house has a 50Mb connection to the front door that will be solved soon.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  14. Bob Spiers

    Bob Spiers LostCousins Star

    I did not intend to comment further but this headline changed my mind. 'Google Responds to DoubleClick Malware problem' dated May 2015. (about the time I too was experiencing problems) and Google at that time admitted to receiving over 100,000 complaints 'since the beginning of the year'; i.e. Jan to May!

    The gist of the article was Google's recognition their DoubleClick advert software was being hijacked to distribute Malware and how they were working to combat same. There is also a Google Security Blog on the subject. It is very wordy but to summarise -and as I maintained when I said that DoubleClick was being used as a Trojan horse- the infection is caused by "others" hijacking DC with what are known as 'Ad injectors'. These were picked up in various ways, some quite innocent. Clicking on certain Chrome extensions for instance, or accessing certain websites and downloading from same. Once on the PC it affects all browsers that employ DC.

    The main purpose of the injected malware is to simply divert the user to view specific client adverts or web sites. If the user resists they will experience delays and constant 'cannot Access' messages. (as I often experienced).

    So in a sense you are right DoubleClick is not Malware, but sadly even the mighty Google have to admit others are out to get them and they, to their credit, are working constantly to combat the nuisance of ad injection and intrusive malware. I think that about wraps it up.
  15. peter

    peter Administrator Staff Member

    Exactly - and if we got rid of all the code that malware might potentially employ we would end up with nothing on our hard drive. I don't use Outlook because as a Microsoft program it is inevitably targeted by hackers - but that doesn't mean that Outlook is malware.

    Most of the people who suffer incursions have brought them on themselves by visiting dodgy sites, downloading free software, or opening email attachments.
  16. peter

    peter Administrator Staff Member

    I remember people used to say that about Apple computers....

    I came across this article, admittedly from 2010:

    Myth Busting: Is Linux Immune to Viruses?
  17. Bryman

    Bryman LostCousins Megastar

    So where does this leave me? I have done none of the above and have a new (Apr2017) HP Probook laptop running 64-bit Windows 10 Version 1607 confirmed as being fully up to date status.
    Creators Update Privacy Settings has been successfully installed (twice) in mid-May and mid-Jul but the CU update has not yet arrived.

    There are no messages from either AVG or Windows Defender that there is any infection and yet I have experienced two DoubleClick intermittent lockouts recently. That suggests to me that any problem does not reside on my system and I am trying to find out where it might be and what effect it might have in the future.
  18. Rhian

    Rhian LostCousins Member

    I am aware of these potential threats, but clamav has not detected any virus in the last 15 years, email attachments are checked by a remote smtp server so never get to me, the weekly summary tells me 90% of suspicious emails come from Outlook users. There are silly things Linux users can do to make themselves susceptible to attack but I know of only one way to install anything without knowing the administration password and that does not work online.
  19. Bob Spiers

    Bob Spiers LostCousins Star

    Similar comments apply to life in general as we are taught such axioms as "look both ways before crossing the road". Sometimes guidelines are forgotten and treaties to follow good practices ignored. That in a nutshell is life and I'm sure it will always be so!
  20. peter

    peter Administrator Staff Member

    I'm sure you don't have an infection. The problems you have experienced are almost certainly down to your Internet connection - like many of the other problems you have reported over the past year or so. (I assume you are now using Chrome as your browser.)

    But you should certainly consider upgrading from AVG, which I gave up on many years ago - I don't know why anyone would want to settle for anything less than the best when it comes to Internet security, and Kaspersky consistently tops the tables (sometimes Norton is equal first, but I also dumped Norton some years ago because it slowed down my system).

    As far as Windows Defender is concerned, the latest Computer Shopper review of security software put it at the bottom of the list, because it let through 10 of 84 threats (Kaspersky & Norton blocked all of them). It also slows down your system more than the best programs, and it could also conflict with AVG (the advice I read on the AVG site said this could happen under Windows 10).
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