Browser hijacking is one of the fastest-growing hacker tricks troubling individuals and companies. Hackers and rogue marketers use this trick to make a quick money at other people’s expense. But what exactly is it? How can you defeat it? Keep reading below to get a comprehensive introduction to the dark world of browser hijacking.
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What is Browser Hijacking?
A browser hijacker is an annoying app that alters your web browser’s settings without your permission. It does so to force adverts on it and force you to land on specific webpages, search engines, and home pages. Hackers use this trick to direct traffic to sponsored websites and increase their monetary value through the adverts they display there.
Symptoms of Browser Hijacking
Initially, browser hijackers don’t advertise themselves so that you don’t notice the change at once. However, after settling in your PC’s system, you will start noticing some weird signs. Look for the following symptoms before deciding that you have such a virus.
- They forcefully change your default home page.
- You notice new suspicious apps on your computer, but you didn’t install them.
- Your computer becomes slow.
- You start noticing excessive sponsored content and adverts popping out while you browse.
- Multiple toolbars appear on your browsers, but you don’t remember installing them.
Dangers of Browser Hijacking
So, are browser hijackers really dangerous or simply annoying? Here are some of the threats these viruses pose to your computers, life, and business.
- They can steal your private and sensitive data and sell them to hackers and rogue advertisers.
- They intrude on your privacy and freedom to choose the sites you want to visit when you want to.
- Browser hijackers can redirect you to dangerous websites that can harm your computers with malware.
- They deny you peace of mind by displaying disruptive and annoying ads on your computer while you’re working.
- They waste and steal your precious working time by slowing down your computer.
- The viruses can cause you legal trouble if they manage to steal your customers’ private details.
- You could lose your business if your customers’ stolen data leak out because they will ditch you for your competitors.
- Should your stolen data leak out, your business will lose its reputation and goodwill among its various stakeholders.
Removing Browser Hijackers
Now, we know you are asking yourself, “How do I get rid of a browser hijacker?” Fortunately, browser extensions are not a permanent menace. You can use two methods to remove them from your computers.
First, you can take the manual path to remove these bugs. However, we only recommend it for people with a high level of technical skills. Also, it’s ideal if you have all the time to do it, but keep in mind that it can leave fragments of the malware. Thus, you would have done little to solve the problem.
Second, you can use antivirus software to clean your system. A reliable antivirus app alerts you of any adware and spyware that wants to infect your system. When you use it to clean up your infected PCs, it goes to the root and removes the malware from the OS’s core. Also, this option saves you possible reinfection, which could force you to take another tedious and long path—formatting your computer.
How to Prevent Browser Hijacking
They say that prevention is better than cure. This adage applies to your browser’s safety, too. Here are some recommended ways of protecting your computers against hijackers.
- Use and regularly update antivirus software.
- Run away from all dubious websites.
- Keep off all suspicious extensions.
- Avoid all fish apps.
- Be careful about the apps you download to your computers.
- Create policies to guide your team in all matters regarding safe browsing.
- Install automatic browser updates.
- Read all installation permissions carefully before granting them.
- Keep off all freemium apps unless they are from reputable vendors and developers.
Browser hijacking is one of the tools cyber-criminals use to compromise your data. Thus, it’s critical to master their tricks and find practical ways of protecting your business against them. The ball is in your court to utilize this information to beat this data death trap.