Kill The Messenger (Service)

By: Stephen Bucaro

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Kill The Messenger (Service)

By Stephen Bucaro

You are familiar with the software applications that you
run on your computer, but you may not be familiar with the
dozens of programs running in the background on your
computer. These programs, called "services" handle tasks
like event logging, spooling files to the printer, and
networking. One of these services, the Messenger Service,
can be reconnoitered by spammers.

The original purpose of the Messenger Service was to allow
system administrators to send a message to some or all of
the users on a network. The message appears in a popup
window to alert the users. Messenger Service is not
instant-messaging. It does not allow the users to respond.

All Windows versions install Messenger Service and turn it
on by default. A program freely available from the Internet
allows spammers to control the Messenger Service on hundreds
of thousands of computers on the Web.

Users receive popup
spam windows that are not generated by the website they are

If your computer is on a network behind a firewall, or you
have a firewall application installed on your computer, it
can be configured to block access to the Messenger Service.
Most firewalls are configured by default to block access
to the Messenger Service. If not, configure your firewall
to block port 135, the port used by Messenger Service.

Microsoft, in their ignorance of computer security, likes
to leave "back doors" to your computer open. But they
finally wised up and Windows XP Service Pack 2 turns off
the Messenger Service. If you are running Windows XP, your
best bet would be to install Service Pack 2 to turn off the
Messenger Service and close several other security holes.

If you are running Windows 2000, you can turn off the
Messenger Service manually. Select "Run..." in the Start
menu and in the "Open:" text box type services.msc, then
click on the "OK" button. In the "Services" window that
appears, right-click on "Messenger". In the "Properties"
dialog box that appears, click on the "Stop" button and
then in the "Startup Type" drop-down list select "Disabled".
Then click on the "OK" button.

If you are running Windows NT, select "Services" in the
"Adminstrative Tools" utility. Then disable the Messenger
Service as described above. If you are running Windows
95/98/Me, you can't disable Messenger Service, you need to
remove it. Use the "Add/Remove Programs" utility in Control
Panel to view the details of "System Tools". Uncheck the
box next to "WinPopUp".

Now, with the Messenger Service on your computer disabled
or removedArticle Submission, spammers will have to go back to annoying you
the old fashion way - with spam email.

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