Cybercrime has become popular with criminals as a way to scam the innocent. In our series on cybercrime, we have looked at phishing, ransomware, and botnets. Now, we are tackling one of the most frequent and dangerous cybersecurity dangers: browser hijacking.
Browser hijackers commonly attack those who don’t use the internet all the time, and they often don’t realize it. We are going to explore what browser is, notorious examples of it, the way to eliminate it, and how you can protect yourself later on.
There is crosstalk between cybersecurity threats, and browser hijacking is not any different. If the symptoms we layout do not exactly align with the software you have encountered, our solutions for eliminating and protecting against it should still work as long as the overall intention of the malware is exactly the same.
What Is Browser Hijacking?
Browser hijacking is more of program modification, it can be seen in webpages, extensions, and search engines. It appears innocent enough, but it is frequently utilized to redirect you to sites you don’t wish to visit and steal personal information.
It’s called a potentially unwanted application or a potentially unwanted program from the cybersecurity world. You never asked for the program, and you definitely don’t want it, but it is installed anyhow.
Browser hijackers are typically employed as a way to distribute additional malware. They set up adware, keyloggers, spyware, and much more. In bad cases, the browser hijacker can divert you once you attempt to log into banking sites, or anywhere else, send your username and password into the hacker instead.
Paradoxically, many antiviruses perform some type of browser hijacking. McAfee, for instance, will automatically configure your search engine to its”secure” alternative if you don’t tell it to not (read our McAfee Total Protection review for the agency’s good qualities, though).
For the purposes of this manual, we are not going to discuss the soft-touch browser hijacking that legitimate applications occasionally performs. We are talking about the nasty stuff that uses your own naivety for a profit machine.
Examples of Browser Hijacking
Chrome, as among the most secure browsers accessible, has done a lot to protect against browser hijacking. Nevertheless, you can find this malware using a different browser and it can infect all the others installed on your device.
The CNET-owned site, download.com, started bundling the software with downloads with no programmer’s consent. The toolbar was a kind of adware, displaying ads in search results and collecting money from sponsored links. Additionally, it collected user information and reported it to advertisers for extra profit.
The vice president of download.com issued a statement in December 2011, acknowledging Babylon and apologizing for its flow, stating,”The bundling of the software was a mistake on our part and we apologize to the programmer and user communities to the unrest it caused.”
Conduit is one of the nastiest browser hijackers to circulate. It appears easy on the surface, a bundled browser hijacker that changes your default search engine, new tab page, and other browser settings.
It is a bundled software with many free downloads called Conduit Search Shield, masquerading as a tool that protects browser settings. In fact, it changes your browser preferences and locks them from administrator changes.
Conduit is a blend of spyware and adware, as are browser hijackers. It changes your default search engine to one of Conduit’s many possibilities, collects personal and confidential information and screens pop-up and in-text ads on nearly every page.
It is scary, though, since it’s so tricky to remove. Conduit uninstalls itself, together with core Windows files, which makes it impossible to boot up the OS. It’s one of the hardest malware to address and a prime example of how nasty a browser hijacker can get.