My Browser Has Been Hijacked. What Do I Do Now?

Browser hijacking can ruin your whole day and leave your head filled with evil thoughts toward the perpetrators.

But there are other, simpler ways to deal with it beside tracking down and doing someone harm (even if they really DO desperately deserve it!)

There are several good programs you can use to fix hijacks, some better than others.

hijacked-browser

Here we will discuss the better ones.

For what it is worth, the old saying that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure definitely applies here and the probability of getting a browser hijack is directly related to your own personal browsing habits.

Neerdowells such as those who host attack sites tend to keep to the things they know best, most of which can be categorised under the topics of ‘illegal’ or ‘questionable ethics’.

So it stands to reason that if you are looking for something in one of those categories you are far more likely to run across a browser hijack than if you keep to the straight and narrow.

You don’t want to be your own worst enemy after all.

But even the best of us can on occasion stray from the beaten path and run into problems.

Avoiding Browser Hijacks

If you have been hijacked you will want to take measures to prevent it from happening again and sadly enough, staying away from ‘those type of sites’ is the best way to accomplish this.

And, as always, you really need to run anti-virus and anti-spyware programs BEFORE a problem comes up.

But right here and now you are faced with the problem of ‘what to do to fix it?’

If your browser has been hijacked and you don’t already have repair programs installed you may be up against the wall.

Many hijackers actively prevent you from visiting sites where you can download the cure, which means you will have to get on another system, download the programs and install them to the infected machine from a removable drive.

Anti-hijack Programs

The programs you should probably look for are {SpyBot Search and Destroy}, {Ad-Aware}, {Malware Bytes} and {Autoruns}. And there’s also one named {Hijack This}.

Each of these are excellent programs and can catch some, but probably not all browser hijacks. (An important word of caution: There are many anti-spyware and antivirus scams on the net. The programs listed here are known to be safe. If you use something else you are doing so at your own risk.)

Spybot works by both scanning your files and ‘immunising them’, which prevents them from being infected later.

Ad-Aware works similarly, as does Malware Bytes.

Each of these however is limited to how current the threat database is and whether or not the programmers have worked out a solution.

Some hijackers are downright mean when it comes to being removed!

Autoruns is somewhat different in that it allows you to see what programs are loaded at system startup and simply prevent them from running.

EVER.

End of story.

There are times where this is the only way that a bad program can be removed (and in the case of other programs you might use, it is the reason they tell you your system must be restarted before the disinfection can be completed.)

If the malware has coded into it that it may not be stopped or deleted after it has started, there’s nothing you can do about it unless you can stop it from starting in the first place.

Autoruns puts you, the user in control of this procedure.

One way this happens is that Autoruns allows you to change the view so that signed entries are hidden, enabling you to quickly focus on ones that are possible causes of trouble.

You can find links to some of the above preventative measures, as well as a whole host of other security programs and tips, in my infosec 101 list.

About Lee Munson

Lee's non-technical background allows him to write about internet security in a clear way that is understandable to both IT professionals and people just like you who need simple answers to your security questions.

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