Important information re: the Messenger Plus! sponsor program and Winfixer
Over the past 48 hours Circle Development have edited the HOSTS file on machines that are running the Messenger Plus! Sponsor Program to block many Winfixer related URLs. This one change will go a long way towards protecting Messenger Plus! users from Winfixer malware, not only via the Sponsor Program but also from any other online vector that uses those URLs. A screenshot of the HOSTS file changes is at the bottom of this post.
If anybody is running the MP! sponsor program, and their HOSTS file has *not* changed, let me know
Patchou has endured a lot of negative publicity over the years, and I think it is only fair that he be complimented and applauded for this attempt to block Winfixer. It was obvious that Circle Distribution were having real problems stopping malware purveyors from using the Sponsor Program as a conduit to infect users' machines.
I believe that I can also claim a lot of credit for this change. I've been complaining about the way that Messenger Plus!'s Sponsor Program has been exposing its users to dangers such as Winfixer for a very long time - examples of my complaints include articles on December 17, December 15 and December 12, November 12, June 30, June 26, June 25 and April 7. If I had not generated so much publicity about the Winfixer problems; if I had not installed the Sponsor Program, tested it, captured screen shots, blogged and complained then the steps to change the HOSTS file would not have occurred when they did, if at all.
I have another observation to make now, that I am sure will result in my being flamed, but so be it. As a result of my blog posts, and my Web site articles, I have been subject to a lot of criticism, and flaming, by Patchou's supporters over the years - so much so that I ended up giving them the name "Patchou's Posse". You can see their comments on various pages on this blog, on the Messenger Plus! support forums, the Microsoft's newsgroups and elsewhere.
I have this to say to the MP! supporters who flamed me and my anti-spyware associates over the years for our criticism of Patchou and the Sponsor Program. If you had spent less time visiting various forums to post comments supporting Patchou, if you had spent less time saying that "it's optional", if you had spent less time flaming people who installed the Sponsor and then complained about the advertisements, and more time focusing on and going after Winfixer, then Messenger Plus!'s millions of users would have been protected far sooner than has been the case.
I will continue watching the Messenger Plus! Sponsor Program to see how things develop. Will the Winfixer crowd up the ante and work out a way to get around the HOSTS blocking? I think they will. Watch this space for future developments