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Tuesday 1 July 2003

Unwanted "Messenger Service" Spam

Just recently I've been getting unwanted messages. At first I thought they might be from some sort of virus, or that some spyware had managed to install itself on my system. So I ran my virus checker and two types of spyware remover, but to no avail. No detection and the messages kept on coming.

Headed "Messenger Service" the messages politely told me "STOP unwanted eyes from tracking your Internet activity" they were appearing 2 or 3 times a day. View a captured image.

I did a little bit of digging this evening and discovered the source of the troubles. Apparently it's a (not so) new form of spam.

The basic problem is a built in "Messenger Service" in Windows XP (not linked to MSN Messenger). Intended for use by network admins to send messages to users, it is unprotected and so can be hijacked to deliver spam direct to your system. Worst of all, apparently you cannot trace the source.

The good news is that you can disable the Messenger Service in about 30 seconds.

1) Open the control panel (from the Start Menu)
2) In Category View, open the Performance and Maintenance controls panel and go to Administrative Tools. In Classic View, go to Administrative Tools.
3) Double-click on Services, then scroll to Messenger.
4) Double-click Messenger and click Stop to stop the service.
5) Change the startup type to Disable

July 1, 2003 9:15 PM | Stuff of Interest

9 Comments

thanks for the tip. What do the shareware $9.99 programs do that this simple apprach doesn't do?

http://www.topshareware.com/Message-Killer-download-8018.htm

for example

niksje said on October 12, 2003 11:57 PM:

Thx a lot ... I stopped the service and no longer get the anoying messenger notes

It worked. Great

Thanks for the info. I had found the Messenger Service but was not sure if it was needed. It no longer lives!!

thank you very much this problem has been messing with me all weekend. i was getting one every 20 minutes or so and when you are in a game, the message flashes one the screen making it impossible to play :( thanks for the simple help to stop this annoying crap

Anonymous said on March 21, 2004 9:38 PM:

Cheers for the tip, I hope it works!

Neil Iosson said on April 27, 2004 12:38 AM:

Thanks for a handy tip. Just changed from 98 (trouble free) and amazed that this crap was even possible!

dan said on June 12, 2004 3:30 PM:

hehehehehehee no more messsey messenger service for me,ithought but i jus got another one while i was writing this out shiiiiiit

Henry said on June 1, 2005 4:32 PM:

Thanks for the info. For Windows 2000 Users: it works the same way. No more anoying "Messenger Messages" after disabling the "Messenger". I have tried the Ad-ware & Spyware, it didn't help. If anyone interested, go to http://www.lavasoftusa.com/support/download/ for a free copy of anti spyware, it work great compare with the version I purchased.

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