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Fixing IE security risk blocks AdSense
webquest




msg:1354821
 5:13 pm on Jan 11, 2005 (gmt 0)

"Microsoft is recommending that users turn off the 'Drag and drop or copy and paste files' option in Internet Explorer and set security levels to high for the Internet zone."

This is the message in news articles all over the Web. Security is the #1 priority, I understand -- but the unintended consequence is that AdSense ads will not be displayed for users who set their Internet Zone security to "high."

Obviously not all Internet users will read these articles and even less will follow the instructions, but I'm betting that quite a few will.

What if a future security update that was delivered to millions of machines via automatic updates changed the default security to "high" for everyone? As someone who depends on AdSense revenue, I find this very concerning.

 

ogletree




msg:1354851
 6:43 pm on Jan 12, 2005 (gmt 0)

For the most part this is a non-issue. It will be a problem if it start showing up on new computers or if it becomes part of an auto update.

paybacksa




msg:1354852
 6:45 pm on Jan 12, 2005 (gmt 0)

Last Year:
it doesn't make a difference if 98% of the users use IE.

This Year:
it doesn't make a difference if 90% of the users use IE.

Next year:
it doesn't make a difference if 83% of the users use IE.

Jan 2007:
it hardly makes a difference if 75% of the users use IE.

Jan 2008:
does it make much difference more than half of the users use IE?

zeus




msg:1354853
 6:56 pm on Jan 12, 2005 (gmt 0)

This is only the begnnig wait till longhorn comes, I bet the google desktop and Yahoo dossent work anymore, then they have to rebuild there software and microsoft have some time to intruduce the new MSN on there desktop and manny will use that, Google will get troubles.

Jon_King




msg:1354854
 7:12 pm on Jan 12, 2005 (gmt 0)

paybacksa, 2008 is a long way off in browser time. We shall see; I still like MS's pocketbook as a predictor.

Beside said,
>>on the highest security setting IE blocks all javascripts, it's not a decision for safe browsing... ms doesn't find right ways to protect the user, so get firefox and be happy.

This an important point IMHO, imagine browsing and getting the IE browser window 'lighting up' with an 'error' on many, many sites due to the presence of just a javascript!... I'd try something else if that happened (unless of course you knew about the security settings remedy). I do acknowledge it had to be done given the extreme vulnerability in this case.

Man that is detrimental from a short-term marketing standpoint... so maybe, this is a sign of good things to come, long-term from MS.

walkman




msg:1354855
 7:22 pm on Jan 12, 2005 (gmt 0)

You're kidding, right? Google and many small site owners can survive until 2008 to hope that they make 50% of what they're making now? Google's stock price will not survive a few quarters if this is the case.

If MSFT makes this a default option, other than a small % (techies) everyone will leave it as it is and let Bill "update" their computer automatically. They make money too from MSN, but they could take a fall on that just to bring Google down if they feel like it. MS has a million other sources of revenue, Google has one. I doubt they could even sue like Netscape did and if they do it will be settled 15 years from now.

**********
Last Year: it doesn't make a difference if 98% of the users use IE.

This Year: it doesn't make a difference if 90% of the users use IE.

Next year:
it doesn't make a difference if 83% of the users use IE.

Jan 2007:
it hardly makes a difference if 75% of the users use IE.

Jan 2008:
does it make much difference more than half of the users use IE?

Jon_King




msg:1354856
 7:31 pm on Jan 12, 2005 (gmt 0)

>>If MSFT makes this a default option, other than a small % (techies) everyone will leave it as it is and let Bill "update" their computer automatically.

No worries, everything is exactly as it was and has been.

The 'fix' is kaput. It has nothing to do with the 'update'. The 'fix' was offered before the 'update' was finished as an emergency response.

The new 'update' does not default to 'high' as the Internet Security default... it defaults to 'medium' as it has in the past.

Now that the new 'update' is being applied, 'Blocking AdSense' is a non-issue IMHO.

walkman




msg:1354857
 8:16 pm on Jan 12, 2005 (gmt 0)

I think you missed the entire point. The fix was released and it defaults to "medium" because Microsoft decided to do so and in such way. Next time they might wait longer or change the settings if netscaping Google becomes a priority.

************
The 'fix' is kaput. It has nothing to do with the 'update'. The 'fix' was offered before the 'update' was finished as an emergency response.
The new 'update' does not default to 'high' as the Internet Security default... it defaults to 'medium' as it has in the past.
Now that the new 'update' is being applied, 'Blocking AdSense' is a non-issue IMHO.

Vespasian




msg:1354858
 8:31 pm on Jan 12, 2005 (gmt 0)

If Microsoft did change that security setting to "high" and cut off javascript, the ensuing legal action would make the Netscape lawsuits look pale in comparison. And I think Microsoft would lose big on this one, not just get nicked up a bit.

mark1615




msg:1354859
 8:40 pm on Jan 12, 2005 (gmt 0)

Vespasian - I couldn't disagree with you more. MSFT could turn up the default security to cut-off javascript and plausibly say that it is to protect consumers. There is a basic truth to the statement. And consumers could be plainly and pro-actively advised how to reduce the security settings - but most still wouldn't do it. Not only wouldn't MSFT get battered by litigation, they could easily win plaudits for taking action to stem the rising tide of spyware. And, oh yeah, did I mention that Google gets about half their revenue from Adsense and that blocking java would block Adsense? Sorry, but there is a price for protecting the public... It seems like a no-brainer. Besides, Google, could fix the problem easily enough with an API instead of the javascript.

The fact remains that, as a business propostion, Google remains highly risky and highly vulnerable. They have one product and one source of revenue. If they stumble they might not get back up. And MSFT would be negligent if they didn't toss a couple of banana peels in their path.

balam




msg:1354860
 8:44 pm on Jan 12, 2005 (gmt 0)

> If Microsoft did change that security setting to "high" and cut off javascript, the ensuing legal action would make the Netscape lawsuits look pale in comparison.

Gee... Poor Microsoft - damned if they don't, damned if they do. (Hypothetically speaking on security issues...)

<added>

> The fact remains that, as a business propostion, Google remains highly risky and highly vulnerable. They have one product and one source of revenue. If they stumble they might not get back up.

(Or if given an "unintentional side-effect" push...)

A good warning about putting all your eggs in a Google basket if I've ever seen one...

twist




msg:1354861
 9:07 pm on Jan 12, 2005 (gmt 0)

I live in a more rural town of about 60,000 people. I have yet to talk to one person outside of the tech field that even knows what a browser is. In fact, most people have no idea what a homepage is or how to change it. Every computer I have ever worked on is set to the default homepage, whether it be AOL, MSN, or whatever. When I ask someone to get online over the phone the first thing they say is "You want me to turn on AOL?"

As for windows update, I might as well be speaking another language. I have yet to have one person know what windows update is. So if micro$oft decides to make it's auto-update feature on by default, foget boutit, no one will disable it. I will just be happy when I see someone have less that 20 items in their System Tray (or Taskbar Notification Area as they now call it).

My only concern about blocking javascript is this means there is no protection to stop people from framing your site. This could create a lot of problems.

brixton




msg:1354862
 9:13 pm on Jan 12, 2005 (gmt 0)

"Macro has it right, get firefox"
who you ,we the webmasters? or the milion of end users-the market-who they dont even know what is a firefox...this advise is like sending emails to your self if you are lonely :)

balam




msg:1354863
 9:21 pm on Jan 12, 2005 (gmt 0)

> Would there be any way for webmasters to identify which browsers are blocking their Google Adsense ads and in turn, block them from viewing the webpage?

I'm not sure if there's a definitive answer in there, but here's one example of a thread you may be interested in:

[webmasterworld.com...]

josephp




msg:1354864
 9:47 pm on Jan 12, 2005 (gmt 0)

Why does setting the security level to high, block out 'AdSense'?

icedowl




msg:1354865
 9:49 pm on Jan 12, 2005 (gmt 0)

I will just be happy when I see someone have less that 20 items in their System Tray (or Taskbar Notification Area as they now call it).

Be happy! I typically run with 4 items in my system tray plus my internet connection icon when online. I have to admit that two of those items aren't really needed (I just like them).

mediafrenzy




msg:1354866
 11:24 pm on Jan 12, 2005 (gmt 0)

>>>Why does setting the security level to high, block out 'AdSense'?

As i understand it, the google ads are javascript based, and because IE's High security setting blocks Javascript from running, the ads are killed.

Please correct me if I have misunderstood the issue.

Jenstar




msg:1354867
 1:05 am on Jan 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

I haven't checked in on this thread since this morning, and it appears there are a whole lot of conspiracy theories and "Microsoft is doing this to Google on purpose" which is actually not the case at all.

When this IE vulnerability hit the headlines in the past few days, it was actually a security firm Secunia (http://secunia.com/) that announced it. They were also the ones who suggested the fixes - drop IE for an alternative browser, or use a workaround which included setting the internet security level to high.

Microsoft is not the one who made the suggestion to change the security level to high for this fix. What Microsoft has said, is that they will have a patch available soon (if it hasn't been already).

So Microsoft is not doing this as a way to get people to stop viewing AdSense at all, or to do this in any kind of run-up to any kind of Microsoft version of AdSense that may or may not be on the horizon.

And setting the security settings to high is not something that is exclusive to blocking AdSense. What the high security setting does is block javascript from executing. With the inability to execute javascript, this results in not only AdSense disappearing, but also any javascript-based function to be disabled on all viewed pages.

So there is nothing in this that is a Microsoft versus Google or anything at all that is anti-Google. It is simply an independent security company that recommends changing the internet security setting at high, and one of the consequences of the change is it prevents the AdSense script and all other javascripts from being executed.

ownerrim




msg:1354868
 3:38 am on Jan 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

"I live in a more rural town of about 60,000 people. I have yet to talk to one person outside of the tech field that even knows what a browser is. In fact, most people have no idea what a homepage is or how to change it. Every computer I have ever worked on is set to the default homepage, whether it be AOL, MSN, or whatever. When I ask someone to get online over the phone the first thing they say is "You want me to turn on AOL?"

As for windows update, I might as well be speaking another language. I have yet to have one person know what windows update is. So if micro$oft decides to make it's auto-update feature on by default, foget boutit, no one will disable it. I will just be happy when I see someone have less that 20 items in their System Tray (or Taskbar Notification Area as they now call it)."

Exactly and well said. I've run into clerical employees at tech companies who didn't know how to change their monitor resolution. If the auto update is on by default...it won't bode well. Ultimately, google needs to build a browser, buy one (mozilla), or get real friendly with one (again, mozilla)

Conard




msg:1354869
 3:51 am on Jan 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

I thought this thread died yesterday.
It should have as MS issued a patch on Tuesday that fixed the problem and the patch does NOT block any ads.

HarryM




msg:1354870
 3:57 am on Jan 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

MS stop Javascript executing? Never happen.

MS is a global company and js is used all over the world for many things, not just Adsense. Why would they want to annoy their customer base?

ownerrim




msg:1354871
 5:49 am on Jan 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

from a cnn.com article:

Shares in McAfee and Symantec Corp. , the two largest computer security software vendors, fell sharply after Microsoft announced it would release its own anti-spyware software. Since then, McAfee is down 7.5 percent and Symantec is off more than 6 percent.

This is just another validation of google's pressing need to develop, or very heavily push, a google friendly browser. actually, it wouldn't be bad for them to consider OS development, but that's probably reaching. Pushing a browser, though, is much more doable. The same way they hawk adsense on the google main page, they should be hawking firefox

balam




msg:1354872
 7:11 am on Jan 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

> a google friendly browser

Why is IE not a "Google-friendly" browser? It's pure FUD to suggest that Microsoft would disable JavaScript by default. Jenstar has managed to separate the wheat from the chaff by noting that...

> Microsoft is not the one who made the suggestion to change the security level to high for this fix.

It was temporary work-around that has been superceded by a patch that, as noted by Conard, does not block AdSense.

Google has publicly poo-pooed [webmasterworld.com] the idea of developing a browser. (Granted, that's what they say...)

And if Google did develop a browser, what kind of quandary would that put the FF crowd in?

jardin




msg:1354873
 11:31 am on Jan 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

I don't understand the point of blocking text based ads. I can see those annoying blinkings banners, or popups, but why text based? A lot of time banners are cleverly placed and actually add to the appeal of a layout.

I've seen anti-add-blocker sites, that have their images or content in a common ad format. (Example, the image is [site.com...] so if the ad blockers kill the ads, it also kills the content. Pretty clever, and not a bad idea either :0)

zygomar




msg:1354874
 11:43 am on Jan 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

It does block Adsense ads.
And the future doesn't look bright with security as the number one issue on the web. People are sensitive to this.
I get 75% of my business through Adsense. Though I am trying to develop other incomes in order to diversify. This is a serious issue for my business.
I don't know what to do but I know that I have to do something.
The best thing would be Microsoft to change its policy. But who am I to lobby Microsoft. Nothing. No chance.
The second best thing is to advise IE users of my web sites to change to Mozilla, in order for them to take full advantage of the website (!). But it will take time, though may be quite effective.
I don't know, what do you plan to do yourself, if you do?

contentsiteguy




msg:1354875
 2:25 pm on Jan 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

On top of that, in terms of direct experiences, as more average joes suffer directly from troublesome elements, the more this will impact further. For example, only last week a very non-technical friend had to pay for diallers on his phone bill - he now has a very protected machine.

All too often though when a nontechnical person starts having problems with things related to the internet, it turns them off from using the whole internet altogether. In many ways, the online industries are fighting themselves for no good reason at all.

ownerrim




msg:1354876
 3:19 pm on Jan 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

"All too often though when a nontechnical person starts having problems with things related to the internet, it turns them off from using the whole internet altogether"

It really does have that effect. I've known several people, typically older individuals who were clueless in every way re: popup blockers, antispyware programs, even the most basic things like how to clean out temp files. When they ended up with fifteen or more hijackers and toolbars they stopped using the net, except for rarely.

"Why is IE not a "Google-friendly" browser?"

Rampant security problems and a public fed up with malware would seem like a decent justification to many for microsoft to implement security protocols in future browser editions that negate everyone's contextual ads but theirs. Yes, they would get sued, but if they were ordered by a judge to ship subsequent OS versions with a fix (as a legal remedy), that would still mean that there were tens or hundreds of thousands of computers out there (for years) for which google and yahoo ads might be phantoms. MS might even weigh it out and decide that a heavy court fine would be worth putting the knife to G and Y's necks. The only way to be safe is to control the browser or better yet control the OS---and currently MS does both.

adfree




msg:1354877
 4:21 pm on Jan 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

As I indicated before, the day MS will start doing their own Adsense stuff, they would be in trouble doing some such for various reasons.

The contextual ad market has been recognized by the big three as something to fight fierce battles over in the near future.

They will certainly not even try to think fighting it this or any similar way like blocking each others programs. They will compete with what they have invested for: the contextual ad delivery systems as their money makers for their SE technologies.

MS will fix this and look forward to compete in this market, you'll have more ads to run off your pages soon.

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