I'm seeing some weird links in the newsletter that shouldn't be there. Certain words - like "email" and "best healthcare" - are linked, and they lead to strange places. The words should be text only. Wonder why this is happening?
According to Bot Crawl, random links appearing on web pages are caused by adware or malware which is also known as "Text Enhance." It is a form of bundled flash adware (categorized as a "browser hijacker") that attaches to internet browsers without user consent. In other words, computers are infected with an adware virus that prompts certain text on web pages to show as links when they aren't meant to be linked. The web sites themselves are not infected, but the computer or browser is.
More from Bot Crawl:
Victims of the virus usually notice they have been attacked by Text Enhance when web pages have links or hover links with spam advertisements and information in a pop up window. These are called "in-text advertisements." The owners behind Text Enhance generate income by providing advertisement services (adware platform) to cyber criminals and unethical third parties, as well as compromising and possibly selling personal information. Note: Text Enhance does not infect web sites, Text Enhance infects individual users. If you see text advertisements on a web site then you are infected, not the web site.
Click here for steps to get rid of the virus (look near the bottom of the page), or use the following instructions for Internet Explorer via Bot Crawl:
How To Remove Text Enhance (And Third-Party Malware)
Microsoft Internet Explorer:
Step 1: Clear browser cache load and cookies.
Step 2: Click the "Tools" button and then click "Manage add-ons."
Step 3: Under SHOW, click "All add-ons" or "Toolbars & Extensions" (depending on which version of IE you use).
Step 4: Select the Text Enhance plug-in from the list of software, and click disable. Possible Extension Names: Bandicam, BCool, Better Links, Bflix1.0, Browser Enhancements 1.0, Click 2 Save, Codec-V, CodecC, CodecC 1.0, CodecM, Codecv 1.0, Coupon Companion, Crossrider Web Apps, Deal Spy, Dealply, Deals Plugin, Downloadnsave, Facebook Dislike Button (extension, not actual button or link), Facetheme, Fantapper, Fast save, Flashblock, Freemind, Game Play Labs, Greasemonkey, Ilivid, I Want That, I Want This, Iminent, Installed Class, With Java plug-ins, Jlmp3, Media Plugin, Notepad, OneTab, Pando Media Enhancer, Premiumplay Codec, Privacy SafeGuard, Privacy SafeGuard 1.1, Protector by IB22.214.171.1242, Rewardsarcade, RewardsArcadeSuite, SearchEnhance, Shockwave, SiteAdvisor, Splashtop Inc, SportHunter TV App, Startnow Toolbar, TheBflix, TheBflix5.0, TheBflix Class, Toad, Vid-Saver, Video File Download, Vuze, VMWare Player, Widgi Toolbar Platform, wxDfast, Xtendmedia, Yontoo, YouTube Plus and ZoomEx.
How to block the Text Enhance cookie: From the "Tools" menu of Internet Explorer, select Internet Options; select the PRIVACY tab and then click SITES. The "Per site privacy actions" window will be displayed. In the Per site privacy actions window, enter Text-Enhance.com in the address of web site field. Click BLOCK.
Restricted site option: Access: Tools(Alt-x) > Internet Options; select the SECURITY tab and click RESTRICTED sites. Click the "Sites" button and individually enter: Text-Enhance.com and Textsrv.com.
For more browser options, go to Bot Crawl.
Online advertisements are bad enough, but when you have malware forcing you to unwanted sites it is more than infuriating. It's especially frustrating when you spend a great deal of time designing and putting together an ad-free web page only to have adware hi-jinks forcing viewers to places they don't want to go. It also makes users and clients question the designer as if they are adding the links on purpose. Thankfully, our client fully understood what was happening once we explained it to her and did not hold us responsible.