A browser hijacker is software that modifies your web browser’s settings without permission. The result is usually unwanted advertising in the browser, and sometimes the hijacker replaces the home page setting or search engine page with their own page. Making you unintentionally visit certain websites gives the hijacker higher advertising revenue. Browser hijackers may also contain spyware to obtain banking information and other confidential data.
Browser hijackers infect computers usually through shareware, freeware, and advertisement support applications deployed through web browser add-ons. Adware and spyware infections can also result in browser hijackers, as does exploitation of certain browser vulnerabilities.
The malware can be an email attachment or website accessed from a link in a message. Torrents can also be used for infecting a computer with the malware.
Symptoms of Browser Hijacking
- Your search engine has been replaced by
- Endless pop-up advertisements
- Much slower than usual for loading webpages
- Extra toolbars on the web browser that you didn’t install
Examples of well-known browser hijackers include Ask Toolbar, GoSave, Coupon Server, CoollWebSearch and RocketTab.
Sometimes when you want to download a piece of software, there is a custom downloading tool that leads you through the process and often these will install browser addons or other malware without your permission. The screens may be designed to trick you into accepting installation of software that you don’t want.
The browser hijackers benefit from their hijack as follows:-
- Display persistent advertising that pays the hijacker
- Steal confidential information
- Spy on users
If your computer suffers a browser hijacking, you may be able to uninstall it in your browser settings or your anti-virus or anti-malware software may be able to remove it. Otherwise there are specialist removal tools on the Internet.
How to Protect Your Systems from Browser Hijacking
Also, try to avoid running freeware programs, which upon installation may unpack software you’re unaware of. And be sure you check the download settings of any software you intend to install to reduce the chances of unwanted applications making their way onto your computer.