What is Browser hijacking and how to prevent it and remove it
Browser hijacking is the name used to describe a type of malware that takes over your browser, making it perform actions that you don’t want to complete. Your browser may start to use different search engines or may display ads that can be used by the creator of the malware to earn money. Worse yet, the browser may be hijacked to download malicious applications including ransomware, which is a program that encrypts all your data and the only way to recover access to it, is by paying to the fraudsters. In general, malware was designed to target specific operating systems .
The goal of any malicious software is to infect all the computers that it can. Since Windows is such a popular platform, it has become one of the most affected operating systems. Given that other operating systems have become more popular over the years, it became more difficult for malware developers to create programs for every platform. However, with growth in the use of the internet and the launch of browsers that work on multiple platforms, malware creators found a new way to spread their software. Nowadays, malware is delivered over the Internet using web browsers.
How does browser hijacking occur
How to prevent browser hijacking
There are certain things that you need to keep in mind to avoid security threats like browser hijacking. For instance, you should follow the advice from Safe Browsing, this is a program from Google that can list all the malicious sites on the internet. The information is available to the public and it can be used by other browsers to warn users about the risk of visiting a specific website. Safe Browsing lists are supported by Google Chrome, Safari and Firefox. The list is regularly updated so if you use the program, you are likely to come across its warning message whenever you visit a malicious website or a legitimate one that has been compromised.
It is also important to be careful with malware browser extensions because some of them can be actually malware in disguise. In many cases, malware authors go as far as disguising their malicious program as an anti-malware extension. As such, it is important to keep an eye on the extensions that you install and to confirm their legitimacy. Make sure that you read the reviews, check the amount of users and research the web before installing an extension.
As in other cases, one of the golden rules of security is to avoid clicking on suspicious links. Whether you receive them via email, instant messaging chats, message boxes or on some websites, any link that you are not sure about should be avoided. In some cases, they may even come from a reliable source such as friends and work colleagues, but it is always important to be careful and even paranoid when it comes to links that you are not sure about. One tip that may help is to keep in mind that the majority of programs will show the real URL of the link at the bottom toolbar or in a floating tooltip.
How to detect browser hijacking
In general, when malware is intended as a way to make money, it would use advertising or sponsored links. This kind of malware is normally easier to identify since it shows you ads or redirects you to search pages that you don’t recognize. If you notice a change of behavior in your browser and you can’t explain it, or if you see new toolbars, it is very likely that you are experiencing browser hijacking. Another way to recognize the presence of malware is to look for an increase in system activity.
Malicious programs would have an impact on system resources so you may notice that there is hard drive activity, even when you are not using your computer. This could be a sign of a malware program that is scanning through your hard drive or encrypting your files in the case of ransomware. Check the process explorer of your operating system to try to identify the culprit. You may also notice that the performance of your computer is being affected and that there is a significant speed lag. It is also worth checking the list of running programs and see if you find processes that you can’t recognize.
What can you do to remove browser hijacking?
Just like a virus, Browser hijacking can be tackled using a good anti-virus program. It is possible to find a great selection of anti-malware software that can remove malicious programs effectively. In order to choose the best option for you, it is important to take factors like operating system and your personal needs into consideration. You also need to keep in mind that in some cases, in order to fully remove the malware, the best option is to reinstall everything on your system. This is why you should keep backups of your data. If your mobile device is infected, the best option may be to reset the device to the factory settings to make sure that the malware is gone. Just make sure that you backup your data to the cloud before performing a factory resetting. Also, scan the backed up data before restoring to ensure that it doesn’t contain the malware and to avoid reinfecting the system.
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