javascript

Block JavaScript and Pop-Ups in Your Browser

Chances are good that at some point while browsing the web, you've encountered annoying pop-ups with suspicious warnings or messages. There are even some scams that pop up a message saying you've been involved in illegal activity and prompt you to pay some amount of money to "unlock" your system. Most of these scams are done through JavaScript, and disabling this would prevent this from happening.

Do I have malware on my system?

Dave from Portola Hills, CA

Episode 1213

Dave was on a government website and he got a popup that he may be infected with malware, which forced him to reboot the system to get out of it. He's worried now that he's been infected. Leo says that's a good instinct. This has been happening a lot. Often, it happens if you've mistyped the URL, which leads you to a malware site. This is most likely from Javascript, though, which doesn't impact your computer and is designed to scare you into installing something or paying someone to claim to unlock it.

How can I stop popups from crashing my phone browser?

Ed from San Jose, CA

Episode 1213

Ed was surfing on his iPhone in privacy mode and his app screen suddenly locked when he was searching, saying he was engaging in illegal traffic and he had to pay $500 to unlock the screen. Leo says that's a scam done by Javascript. His phone really isn't locked down. It's not leaving anything on the system. It's "sandboxed." It's not perfect, though, as there could be holes in the Javascript code. Leo suggests double tapping the home button and swiping up to kill the app. On the desktop, NoScript will prevent this from happening by blocking Javascript.

Why am I getting an 'unresponsive script' warning whenever I open LastPass?

Gordon from Long Island, NY

Episode 1206

Whenever Gordon opens up LastPass, he gets a warning about an unresponsive script and it won't let him continue. Leo says it's damaged. Like a lot of things, LastPass uses JavaScript for the local scripting. Leo suggests uninstalling it and removing the extension, then re-downloading and installing the latest version. He doesn't have to worry about losing his passwords because it stores the passwords encrypted on LastPass's servers.

How can I stop using Adobe Flash?

Roy from Orange County, CA

Episode 1118

Roy keeps getting requests to update Flash when listening to podcasts. And it always crashes. Leo says he hates Adobe Flash with a PASSION and everyone uses it, so he's stuck with it and all it's warts. That's why Leo recommends that if you have to use Flash, that you use it through Google's Chrome browser. What Google does in Chrome is build Flash into the browser and it's updated regularly by Google and it's isolated so it doesn't crash your browser if it crashes. It should work better for you.

Why does my computer keep asking me to install Java?

Larry from Loma Linda, CA

Episode 1044

Larry has a flashing blue and gold shield that wants him to install a java program. He says no, but it pops up again a few minutes later. Leo says it could be benign, or it could be a concern. Java is a programming language and many websites use it. But Larry's computer is set up correctly to ask permission to install it. It bothers Leo that it says "Publisher unknown," and not "Oracle." Leo says to keep saying no is the best move.

Why won't my computer load comments on Yahoo News anymore?

Mike from Los Angeles, CA

Episode 978

Mike is having trouble loading comments on Yahoo News when he visits. Leo says that comments are Javascript, which may be blocked by his antivirus.
Since he has a lot of security programs running, Leo advises disabling those. He should check his browser's settings to see if Javascript is enabled. Since he can view javascript comments on other sites, that's probably not the case.

How do I fix malware and javascript issues?

Richard from Los Angeles, CA

Episode 938

Richard signs onto a web pages and when he goes to sign out, it won’t let him. He can’t even scroll back up to the top. Leo says that’s likely a javascript error. There is some malware that does “cross site scripting,” which captures mouse clicks and will cause a similar issue. Leo recommends running both a full scan of his Anti Virus software, and then adding a full scan from Microsoft’s Malicious Software Removal Tool.

Rootkit Revealer from Microsoft’s SysInternals site may also help and he can always reset his browser, clearing cache and history.