I have no idea what I was thinking or rather why I wasn't thinking. I have one PC that I use ( well used to ) strictly for certain p2p stuff. Only went to 2 sites never anywhere else. I had Spybot and AdAware installed and running. WinXP SP1 with all available security updates. Did not have Firefox as one of the places I visited wouldn't work with it. Well when both the sites went down I started looking for others..hmmm seems most of those sites were down or had locked out everyone except registered users. With my brain busy listing what I would need to safely venture out onto IRC I went looking for IRC info
( has been years and years since I used IRC) Whilst humming a happy tune and looking for IRC search utilities I happened on a page that suddenly threw up an alert box at me. Lots of fine text and a big "CLOSE WINDOW" tab. Ha Ha I thought I'm no fool, I'm not gonna hit that tab...so I didn't . But what I didn't notice was a little box that was checked as I hit the "x" in the upper right corner to close the alert box. I am sure you can imagine my shock and dismay when Spybot resident immediately starting notifying me of attempted registry changes. I could not keep up with the flood of crap trying to install itself on my box. I was running a XP2600 with a full GB of PC 3200 and it locked my machine up solid for about 3 minutes!! When I was able to use the mouse and keyboard again I waded thru all the notices and lo and behold I found no less that 4 instances where the shut down dialogue had come up. I canceled those out and immediately ran Spybot ( but not before noticing the 9 new multicolor icons on my desktop). The scan came back with 62 items listed. I had a merry 20 mins running Spybot, CWShredder, AdAware, Spy Subtract and HijackThis before I finally managed to clean all of it out of my box. Needless to say Firefox is now on that PC. As a test I went back to that site and did exact same thing ( figured I already knew how to clean up the mess) nothing happened. There are 2 morals to this story;
Firstly, pay attention to what you are doing and never assume jst because you are only looking at a few web sites you will be safe. Secondly put not your faith in a browser with known issues no matter what the excuse
When in danger, or in doubt. Run in circles, scream and shout!!