Browser hijacking is a very common type of online fraud that targets web browsers. It’s usually done to force hits to certain websites in order to increase their ad revenue. Although it might seem naive, browser hijacking could potentially be a very serious threat to your online safety. Many browser hijackers also contain spyware, which often uses keylogging or a similar method to capture your private data such as passwords and PIN codes. Browser hijackers aren’t viruses themselves, but rather contain different types of malware that mess with your browser and firewall settings.
They’re fairly common and easy to remove but can pose a serious threat to your computer if they manage to stay hidden for some time. Hijacking software is created with a very specific intent, which is to remain invisible to most malware scanning programs. In order to avoid this, here are a few things you should look out for.
A hijacked homepage
If you keep being redirected to a home page different than the one you assigned to your browser, chances are it’s the work of a browser hijacker. The pages you get redirected to tend to be ones that advertise unfamiliar antivirus programs or add-ons, but more often than not, they can also be pornographic or live cam pages. If this is the case, try resetting your browser’s settings and using a different program to scan for malware. A lot of this hijacking software is invisible to regular scanning programs, so try using a couple of different ones to make sure they’ve covered all ground.
- URL redirection
When you click on a link, instead of taking you to it, hijacking software often redirects you to a different page. These are all usually fake websites, and your unwanted visits are used to boost their on-site traffic. A more complex hijacker is needed to do this, so you can’t get rid of it by just resetting your browser settings. Use an advanced scan such as the one found in the SafeBytes malware scan.
While pop-ups are a pretty regular sight when browsing the web, you shouldn’t dismiss them as possible threats. When they become more frequent and more flashy than usual – it’s time to start worrying. Hijacking programs can infiltrate into your browser so deep that they turn off your pop-up and ad blockers. Total System Care scan will help you find and remove the virus that’s causing this, and keep you safe from any similar malware.
- Fake alerts and updates
Updates are frequent and inevitable, but keep an eye on the actual programs you’re updating. If you keep experiencing flashing alerts that warn you that you have an expired copy of an unfamiliar program, it’s time to do a cleanup. A lot of these fake alerts are designed to look like real ones, so make sure to keep a few things in check:
- a) Always know which programs you have an use to avoid missing out the fake ones
- b) Pay attention to the tiny details in these alerts such as spelling mistakes and difference in the color scheme of the pop-up window