What It Is and How to Avoid It.

Browser hijacking is one of the Web’s ever present dangers. It’s a type of online fraud that’s generally used to force hits to certain sites of a hijacker’s choosing. Chances are high that most internet users will be subjected to this practice in some form. A hijacker uses malicious software to change your internet security and registry settings to gain control over what and how your browser displays web content. Combating it can be tricky because it’s not necessarily a virus or adware, so software monitoring programs will not always suffice.

Signs that your browser might be hijacked…

  • Home Page has changed unexpectedly
  • Internet settings have changed and you can’t seem to reset them manually
  • New or unrecognizable links in your Favorites
  • Inability to navigate to certain websites such as anti-spyware and other security software sites
  • A new toolbar appears in your browser
  • An endless barrage of pop-up ads
  • Rerouting of URLs to other dubious websites

Precautionary measures you can take…

  • Use common sense. If a pop-up ad asks your permission to install an executable file, don’t accept it unless you’re absolutely certain of what that program entails. Make sure you have all the latest security packs and patches from Microsoft.
  • Run your anti-virus program regularly and set it to auto-protection. Heighten your internet security settings and add the sites you regularly visit to the list of ‘Trusted Sites’ so they aren’t affected. Consider changing your browser; many of these malicious programs are specifically designed for Internet Explorer and won’t execute on other browsers such as Mozilla.
  • Prepare an ‘emergency kit’. Free utility programs like Hijackthis or CWShredder are effective at removing malicious code while other programs like Ad-aware and Spybot remove Trojans and can help you recover your system.

GCInfotech can help you take the appropriate preventative measures to protect yourself from the dangers of browser hijacking.