So, here’s a new one for me: spam via the Windows Messenger service. (Note that that’s not MSN Messenger, but instead, the built-in networking communications service.) When Shannon and I got back from an errand today, my desktop computer had a Messenger Service dialog box with the first part of a Japanese ad for some home cleaning product; dismissing it brought up about nine more dialogs completing the ad. After doing a little research, it turns out that these spams have turned up before; there’s even a TechTV episode on the new form of annoying advertising. Alas, there won’t be any more of this on my network — my router now bans all traffic on the relevant ports. Spammers, you’re not welcome here!


Le sigh. Le double sigh. That’s what I walked into the office to see this morning. ZMZ, or some nonsense. It looked strongly like someone thought they were reaching an SMTP relay… or someone is just plain effing stupid. “Hey, I know! Let’s annoy Windows 2000 sysadmins the world over! We’ll get rich!”

‘Services’ Control Panel, here I come. Messenger service? Don’t need it. Stopped. Disabled. Yay.

Repeat for the other workstation and the server. Yay some more.

• Posted by: GreyDuck on Sep 16, 2002, 8:52 PM

Yeah, that’s one way to do it; alas, I use the Messenger service for UPS alerts, so I didn’t want to disable it. Since I control my own router, it was easy to just solve the problem there…

• Posted by: Jason on Sep 16, 2002, 9:27 PM

I found this page by performing a Google search. I’ve been having the same problem and it’s maddening. Is there a way to shut this off or block these messages? Please advise.

(Note: I’m not clear on the difference between Messenger Service and MSN Messenger. The program I thought was MSN Messenger — the icon with two little green guys, one behind the other — is labeled Messenger Service.)

• Posted by: Margaret on Sep 19, 2002, 10:20 AM

Margaret, the service that’s listed in the Services control panel as “Messenger” isn’t MSN/Windows Messenger, but rather, the low-level network service used by the operating system to send network alerts around (e.g., “The server is shutting down in 5 minutes!” or “The UPS has detected a cut in power; please shut off your machine soon!”). MSN/Windows Messenger, to the best of my knowledge, doesn’t run as a service, but rather as an application, much like AOL Instant Messenger.

To shut off the Messenger service spam, you have two options, one on your own computer and one on the router that handles traffic into your network segment. For the first, you just shut off the Messenger service in the Services control panel; that takes care of that, but if your organization makes use of those network messages, then you won’t be able to receive them. For the second option, you or your network administrator can block all traffic on TCP port 139. (Note that that’s a port used by Windows NetBIOS-based filesharing, but you shouldn’t have that enabled across your outermost router, anyway.)

As a parenthetical note, I use the second option, and in looking at my router’s filter reports, since implementing that specific filter, I’ve had 813 packets that have been blocked in their attempt to come to port 139. Seems that the filter was a good idea…

• Posted by: Jason on Sep 19, 2002, 11:18 AM

where do I find the services control panel? is this in windows or aol or??

• Posted by: sally on Oct 28, 2003, 12:51 PM

Hey there. Could someboy please help me? This messenger service thing is so damn annoying and its getting to me now! As i close one of them, another one pops up and it doesnt end until i turn off my computer. And what are you guys talking about SERVICE CONTROL PANEL?? I don’t see nothing like that, and i even tried “search” but it didn’t work. Can someone give me a specific location (i’m using WINDOWS XP PROFESSIONAL). anyways, that’s all for now. Help would be appreciated ASAP!! TANXXX!!!

• Posted by: Stephen Charoo on Mar 7, 2004, 3:44 PM
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