Each web browser has it’s own settings, some are set on installation, some are set by the user itself. A Browser Hijacker changes these settings to replace the existing home page, error page and / or search page with its own. These home pages, search pages and error pages generally have ads on them, which means the more browsers are hijacked and changed to a certain page the higher the advertising revenue is for that page. Some Browser Hijacker also damage the Windows Registry which can result in your system acting up and damaging it permanently (for as long as its not reinstalled)
Another problem with Browser Hijacker is that they often are installed at the same time with Spyware, which are a much bigger problem. An example of Spyware is a keylogger, keyloggers gather information when your using your computer such as banking information, and other account login information.
Sources of Browser Hijackers
Browser Hijackers are often installed by freeware programs, developers use a service that integrates ads into their installers, and these ads show program during the installation that can be installed for free by the user, many user’s don’t notice these, or often don’t even see them and they are installed together with the freeware program you wanted.
Sadly this gives freeware a bad reputation lately since people simply don’t know which programs they can still trust, luckily most famous freeware programs are free of these kind of programs.
Reduce the chance of being Hijacked
Luckily there are many tools out there that reduce the change of being browser hijacked, one of the tools we personally like is Unchecky, we have reviewed the tool you can read more about that here.
Another good tip is to always choose for Custom Installation where possible, so you can exactly see which programs are installed and un-check them from being installed.
I am Infected, What now?
The most important thing to do, is to avoid other devices in your network from getting infected, disconnect all other devices from the network, till the main device is cleaned. Please do it that way, do not disconnect the infected machine since you will need the internet to clean the device. Then try to see if we got an removal guide, if we do not, then visit our forums and a malware expert will help you remove all infections for free from your system.
We hope this article learned you a bit about Browser Hijackers, if you have any questions feel free to ask them on our forums