Technology

What is Browser Hijacking?

The more and more popular the internet gets will always continue to increase the chances of cybercrime unfortunately and this type of crime is becoming progressively popular amongst criminals. Some different examples of cybercrime are phishing, botnets and ransomware but we are going to have a closer look at browser hijacking. This is a common form of cybercrime because everyone uses a browser and unfortunately it’s difficult for non-tech savvy users to realise its happening.

Examples of browser hijacking

Some of the most popular examples of browser hijacking are:

·        Babylon toolbar- This changed your default browser search to automatically search Babylon.com and infecting all browsers along the way.

·        Conduit- This changed your default new tab page, search engine and other browser settings.

·        MyStart.IncrediBar Search- Acting as a spyware and adware combo as well as behaving like a worm and a virus

If this is something you would like to learn some more about then take a look at some more browser hijacker examples in detail.

What exactly is browser hijacking?

Browser hijackers are commonly utilized as a way to administer other malware. They introduce keyloggers, adware, spyware and many more. In worse cases, the hijacker can divert you when you attempt to sign in to banking sites, or elsewhere, sending your username and password to the hacker.

In the cybersecurity world this is known as an unwanted program or application because you never wanted it but someone has installed it anyway.

Interestingly some anti-viruses use this kind of ‘hijacking’ to keep you safe. For example, some anti-viruses will automatically change your search engines to what they consider as their safe option. These are of course quite easy to configure to your liking so we will stay focused on the nasty ones.

How to remove a browser hijacker

To get rid of these unwanted extras is quite simple but can be quite time consuming. The best way to go about it is to work your way backwards from the browser and uninstall anything that has been changed or that you do not recognise, you can reinstall the things that you want back once you have finished and restarted you computer.

Once this is done, change all your settings and preferences back to how you like them and then check that the browser doesn’t still redirect you. If it doesn’t then you are safe to carry on.

To keep up with some of the latest tech news then look no further.

How to protect against browser hijacking

Just like most malware, this can be delivered if many different ways but usually you will find it will come from being downloaded along with free software as an unwelcome addition. Unfortunately most free software you find on the internet needs to generate money at some point so they will take the money to include a browser hijacker within the software you download for free.

Not all free software is like this and you can usually use certain trusted sites to download this type of software without any unwanted additions. Using a new source can sometimes be the problem as the sources might add on browser hijackers for a cut of the money.

Check every page before downloading and you should be able to tell whether there are any added extras you do not want.

Why is an anti-virus so important?

There are browser hijackers out there that you yourself cannot protect your computer against. This type of malware will automatically begin to download when you visit a specific website. Unfortunately there is no way of protecting yourself from this without an anti-virus.

The best anti-viruses will provide you with real-time protections and not just scheduled scans of your computer. To find out more about the best anti-viruses out there at the moment and the most suited to you, check out this article.

In conclusion

Browser hijackers are becoming less frequent, particularly if you have Windows. With Windows 10 an application or web browser must have your permission to make any changes and it will also ask you before anything is downloaded. Hackers unfortunately have found a way to bypass this, though it has become more difficult and uncommon.

As long as you use your common sense, have a good anti-virus and back up your data then you should ready to face even the roughest of cyber threats.

Fry Electronics Team

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