The word ‘hijack’ or ‘hijacking’ is generally used with the situation when someone unlawfully seize or take control of the possession that does not belong to them. Initially it is popularly used with aircraft or car abductions, but in this era of information technology and communication, scammers or hackers very often hijack internet browsers to accomplish their task of online fraud and to perform malicious activities. As per the definition is concerned – ‘Browser hijacking’ is the process in which scammers use some piece of code or program to modify the settings of internet browser’s to change how and what to display when people surf internet with it. Obviously it is done without user’s prior consent or permission and is really very difficult to reverse if proper knowledge and tools are not available.
How to know if browser is hijacked or not?
Below mentioned points will help you to find if your Internet browser is hijacked or not –
- Screen will flood with useless and unwanted ads and pop-ups when your browser Internet.
- Home page and other settings will change automatically.
- Usually links that you tend to avoid will add up to your website that you visit.
- You will notice new Toolbars and Favorites installed providing your links and icons that you don’t want.
- You won’t be able to navigate to certain web pages like some authentic software websites or so.
- Computer system and browser will work really very slowly with delayed response.
How to fix hijacked web browser?
There is a very popular saying that ‘Prevention is better than cure’, and if you are doing safe Internet browsing practices, keeping your computer up to date with latest updates and security patches then you are already doing to lot to keep potential browser hijackers away. Actually, not all hijackers are malevolent, in fact some are just annoying. One such example that falls in this category is the Ask.com toolbar that keeps taking the search function of the browser to perform the search even if you don’t want it to do. One of the biggest reasons people get in the traps of such parasites is because they do not pay proper attention while installing any new program. They just keep clicking “next-next-next” to finalize the installation process and end up installing some unwanted and useless program or toolbar. So, it is important to look carefully for those pre-checked box that ask if you want to install some other unrelated program or not and un-check them every time.
But in case your browser is already under the tentacles of any stubborn and malicious browser hijacker then there are several ways discussed below using which you can easily combat with the online frauds, restore its default settings and free the browser from the hackers. Just follow the steps below –
- Stop Cascading Pop-up Windows – If you are getting endless pop-up windows on your screen, then you probably want them to stop. In order to perform this task in Microsoft Windows 7, Vista, XP, 2000 for Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome follow these steps –
- Press CTRL+ALT+DEL, click Task Manager and then Processes tab.
- Then click on iexplorer.exe or firefox.exe or chrome.exe and click on End Process button.
This will instantly close all instances of the browsers so that you take further related measures.
- Block Pop-ups – In order to avoid and prevent future attacks, it is important that you turn-on pop-up blockers. To perform this task on different browsers follow below mentioned steps –
- In Internet Explorer – Click on the gear icon and then on Internet Options. Next click the Privacy tab and ensure that Turn on Pop-up Blocker is checked.
- In Mozilla Firefox – Click on Tools select Options and then Content. Next check the box next to Block pop-up windows if it is not checked.
- In Google Chrome – Click on wrench or bar icon on top right corner of the browser. Then under Privacy section click on Content settings. Now under Pop-ups section check the radio button that says Do not allow any site to show pop-ups (recommended).
- Disable Add-ons – Most of the browser hijackers invades into the computer system via add-ons which are also known as ActiveX controls, browser helper objects, toolbars or browser extensions. These items can improve your experience on a website as they provide interactive multimedia contents to the users. But some of them can cause the computer system to stop responding and display contents that you don’t want such as pop-up ads. So, it is very important to disable those add-ons which are of no use and are malicious is nature. In order to disable add-ons in different browsers follow the steps given below –
- In Internet Explorer – Click on Tools > Manage Add-ons. Next choose Toolbars and Extensions and disable or remove the add-ons that looks suspicious.
- In Mozilla Firefox – Click on Tools at the top of the browser window and select Add-ons. Now from the list of add-ons, just disable those that are of no use or you do not remember installing.
- In Google Chrome – Click on wrench or bar icon on top right corner of the browser. Then click on Settings > Extensions and from the list of add-ons select and disable those that you don’t want.
- Install Powerful Antispyware Program – If any of the traces of related browser hijacker resides in the PC, then it is really hard detect and remove completely. So, it is mandatory that you install any powerful antispyware program which will not only protect the PC from malicious hijackers and spyware’s but also help it to regain its performance and speed. Just download free program and scan your computer system for remaining traces of browser hijackers, spyware or any potential threats. It will automatically detect and remove them from PC effectively.
So, to avoid any kind of browser hijacking, don’t give any unknown websites permission to install any software, toolbar, ActiveX controls, use powerful real-time anti-malware programs and keep your browsers security settings from medium to high level.