Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Layered Service Provider (Advanced)

The most recent version of Internet Explorer includes an upgraded component called Winsock 2 (Winsock stands for Windows Sockets). Winsock is a standard interface between a network aware Windows client application and the underlying TCP/IP protocol stack. Part of this updated component is a feature called Layered Service Provider (LSP). The LSP allows 3rd party vendors to insert code for monitoring or filtering content in the Winsock data stream.

The LSP feature was designed for software developers to create special filter applications that can be used for parental controls, monitoring the TCP/IP traffic , etc. Some malware programs take advantage of the LSP to monitor your network activity without you knowing about it.

Then when you discover these malicious aapplications, and remove it they can leave the LSP without the ability to communicate with the Internet. Thus preventing your applications from communicating with the Internet.

One way to fix the broken chain is by using a freeware utility called LSP-Fix. LSP-Fix works by fixing the Winsock LSP chain by removing orphan entries left behind when LSP software is removed, or by repairing gaps in the chain.

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