Click on a link that you want to open and you find yourself on the bad side of the internet staring at pop ups, free prescription medicine and critical security warnings?… Looks like you have a browser hijack.
Usually I get to work on a Friday ready to have a good finish to the working week and then enjoy a relaxing weekend away from many things related to IT.
This end of the week we had to deal with multiple PC’s that had their browsers hijacked.
What is a browser hijack? Simply put it’s a program or setting that unknowingly to the end user changes the browsers configuration.
The best browser hijack is one where the unsuspecting user is not even aware of its presence both visually or functionally.
Browser hijack’s usually modify things such as the home page, the error page (or creates fake error pages), adds tool bars and search engines and probably most annoyingly redirects the users’ clicks to other web pages. This is usually the only visual queue the end user recognises as strange.
Browser Hijack programs and software is part of the malware virus group and highly urgent that it gets removed from the infected browser.
Some infamous browser hijack software is Conduit Search, CoolWebSearch, Babylon Toolbar, Onewebsearch, MyStart.IncrediBar Search, Qone8.com, Searchgol.com and many more.
If your home button takes you to a page other than your original home page, if you get all kinds of pop ups, if your search page looks totally different or gives you undesirable results, it more than likely points to a browser hijack.
In my experience I have found that Internet Explorer gets the most browser hijack’s. Even with its home page change prevention software and reset software.
Firefox has also been hit and miss in this regard. I have found that it is much easier to remove bowser hijack software from Firefox because of the way it manages addons.
As for Chrome, Safari and other browsers, they seem to do a great job of protecting the end user (or the end users of such programs are more aware of the dangers and protect themselves).
In such instances Malware removal software by itself is not always sufficient to get rid of the browser hijack. Sometimes it requires reconfiguration of the browsers settings and on some occasions even a full reinstall.
Personally I am a sound believer and proponent of prevention is better than cure, so take care and don’t get hijacked in the first place!