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  1. #1
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    How to get rid of double-underlined ad links

    Running Win 7 Pro, FF 24.0

    Recently, I've had a greater than usual number of those double underlined ad links show up while browsing. These are the links that pop up an ad if you pass over them with the cursor - damned annoying! It happens a lot lately - even in links that I go to from this forum. Also, I notice that a significant number of them are ads for Xfinity (Comcast), which is my ISP. I hardly ever use IE (running IE 8 on this machine), but I assume that they'll pop up there too.

    The question is, what can I do to STOP them (either from showing up or from popping up the ads)?

  2. #2
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    I often see those from some toolbar or add-on that is installed in the browser. Try going to the same page in IE or Chrome, and if you don't see the same ad links then you know it's got to be something in FF. If that's the case, start by disabling every add-on in FF and see if that stops the ad links. If it does, then reenable the add-ons one by one to see which one is the culprit.

  3. #3
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    Thanks, dg1261. I'll do some testing.

  4. #4
    3 Star Lounger
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    OK, I compared FF with IE. I get the ad links in both, when I go to the same sites. Mainly, they are the same links (i.e., the links are associated with the same words in the same paragraphs), but there also appear to be links associated with words on the IE site that are not the same words on the FF site.

    In any case, the problem extends beyond just FF. Next, I'll try running FF in safe mode to see if the problem goes away. Stay tuned.

  5. #5
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    Well, the ads remained even in FF safe mode, so I guess the add-ons weren't the problem.

    But an interesting thing happened on the way to this forum. I signed in to post this message, and clicked on the Third-party Browsers link. All the threads appeared (as they should), but within a second, they disappeared and FF indicated that it was waiting for either Facebook or double-click to load (they never did). Happened a couple of times, until I finally gave up and re-booted. Then things looked as they should.

    I ran full scans using AdAware, Malwarebytes, Spybot, and Avast, with no problems found. Also ran SFC /scannow, and again, no problems found.

    This is puzzling.

    Next, I think I'll try an ad blocker add-on in FF to see if that rids me of these ads unless you have any other ideas).
    Thanks.

  6. #6
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    I still think it's an add-on. It's not technically malware so the malware scanners usually won't pick it up. It could have gotten in through some overlooked, preselected option you accepted in something unrelated that you installed or updated. If it got installed globally (i.e., instead of through a browser-specific extension) it wouldn't be unusual to affect all installed browsers, hence both IE and FF.

    As a test, I'd try visiting PortableApps and downloading the portable version of Chrome or FF. That will let you temporarily test a browser that wasn't present at the time the suspected add-on got installed. (You don't need to keep or uninstall the temporary browser, you can always just throw away the portable folder when you're done without it affecting your system.)

    If the links also show up in the portable version, see if there are any unexpected changes to your HOSTS file or proxy server settings as those would affect anything accessing the internet, including both installed and portable browsers.

    If the links don't show up in the portable version, then narrow your focus back on the installed browsers. Disable or uninstall add-ons/extensions to try and track down the culprit. You might try running Autoruns or HijackThis to see if they can help you identify anything.

  7. #7
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    dg1261, I finally resolved the issue (without actually identifying the source of the problem.

    In FF, I installed the Adblock Plus and Adblock Plus Pop-up Addon extensions.

    In IE, under Tools/Internet Options/Security/Restricted Sites, I added *.us.intellitxt.com and *.vibrantmedia.com to the restricted site list.

    This eliminated the popups in both browsers.

    Regarding Google Chrome, I will resist using ANYTHING Google if at all possible (even though my son works for them).

    Thanks for your suggestions.

  8. #8
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    Lightbulb This WORKED

    In IE, under Tools/Internet Options/Security/Restricted Sites, I added *.us.intellitxt.com and *.vibrantmedia.com to the restricted site list.

    This eliminated the popups in both browsers.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


    I am so glad that some are able to find the culprits who ruin the net by their very existence.

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