by Andreea-Luciana Ostache
July 1, 2013
There are a lot of definitions for it, some more technical than others, but the simple explanation is that your internet browser program is compromised.
Most of the programs that act as hijackers come as innocent “add-ons” that promise to make your life easier or more fun, while browsing. However, this is not the only way you can become the victim of browser hijacking
. You can simply visit a malicious or compromised site and get infected. As soon as you install the add-on (unknowingly, most of the times), it will show its ugly face and start redirecting your searches, stealing your personal data and/or your browsing habits, or display advertisements (sometimes inappropriate for minors). Hijackers can also make changes to the “hosts” file which maps domain addresses (site URLs) to corresponding Internet Protocol (IP) addresses. Let’s take your bank’s site, for example – we’ll call it “mybank.com” for the purposes of this article. If you type “mybank.com”, in the address bar, instead of reaching the “Mybank” site, you may end up on a phishing site, mimicking that of your bank. And this is just one reason why browser security is vital
To avoid browser hijacking, there are a few simple rules that you can follow:
- Avoid installing any toolbars, add-ons or extensions, without checking if anyone had any negative experiences with them.
- Refrain from installing anything from any website unless you intended to download the program before being prompted to do so.
- Do not be taken away by false promises and advertisements. What are the chances that you, of all people, were hand chosen for something you did not register for?
Many users think that if they reinstall their browser, the problem will be solved. In reality, this will only partially solve the issue.
To remove a browser hijacker, take the steps below:
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- Run a full scan with BullGuard, to ensure that the hijacker was not packed with other malicious software.
- Remove any toolbars, add-ons, extensions, from your browser and computer as seen in this guide: How To remove browser toolbars. Note: You should remove anything that you did not install yourself and know to be safe.
- And last but not least, very important, reset Internet Options (Internet Properties) as seen in this guide.