An outside entity takes control of your Internet Browser to do harm to your computer, or to illegally make money from your misfortune.
Foreign software must be installed on your system for hijacking to take place. The software can be placed on your system without your knowledge as you visit various sites on the Internet. Sometimes it will be added as a result of responding to a “pop-up ad” which gives permission to add their special code to your computer. However, sometimes it can be added without your knowledge.
Frequently, ‘hijacking’ will be designed to do one or all of the following:
- Permanently change the default homepage in your browser to a page of someone else’s choosing
- Delete and replace your favourites or bookmarks with others
- Prevent access to specific sites that would otherwise allow you to remove the unwanted hijacker’s code from your computer
- Disable your anti-virus and anti-spyware software that protects you from harmful viruses and worms on the Internet and in email
- Start a variety of other malicious activities to prevent you from using the Internet the way you choose or to damage your computer
It can also be expensive as hijackers are known to install special dialers on your computer so as to take control of your dial-up or fax modem. This can be quite costly if the software is successful in placing lengthy long distance calls. The hijacker usually sets up their money-making scheme in a distant country where this type of behaviour goes unchecked by governments and telephone authorities. Long distance customers are responsible for the numbers that are called from their residence, no matter what method is used to make these calls.
There are many faces to browser hijacking. To combat the efforts of outside entities, education is your best defense. Browser hijacking isn’t necessarily a virus, or adware, so stopping it isn’t entirely best left to software monitoring programs. Some browser hijackers may also install themselves onto your computer system as legitimate programs, leaving an entry in the ‘add-remove programs’ list in the control panel. In this case it may be as simple as using your computer’s Add/Remove Software feature.
Pay Attention to what you do on the Internet and to the pop-up ads that are presented to you. Many times when you click the CLOSE button on malicious pop-up windows, you may actually be agreeing to terms and conditions and allowing software to be installed on your system.
The programs listed below have been created to assist you in removing Browser Hijacking software from your computer.
Hijackthis – A general homepage hijacker detection and removal software. It is continually updated to detect and remove new hijacks.
CWshredder – A small utility for removing CoolWebSearch, fixing redirections when mistyping URLs, enormous IE slowdowns when typing and IE start page/search page changing on reboot.
Bazooka Adware and Spyware Scanner – Detects a multitude of malicious code including: spyware, adware, trojan, keylogger, foistware and trackware components. These are sources of irritation that antivirus software does not remove from your computer.