How to Get Rid of a Browser Hijacker

If you open your browser window and notice immediately that your home page has been changed to a page you do not recognize, chances are your browser has been hijacked. Browser hijackers are code applications that are inserted into your browser for the purpose of changing your browser's settings. Some of these applications will not only change your web pages, they can also alter other settings to add toolbars, pop-up advertisements, and bookmarks that you did not create. Additionally, they can lead you to phishing websites and other sites with questionable content.

How a Browser Hijacker Enters Your System

A browser hijacker enters your system from the Internet. It can download itself from a website you visited, something you clicked on, or a pop-up that you did not request to view. A browser hijacker can present itself in the form of a freeware bundle that is inserted into ActiveX applications on a website and it can install itself into your system with what is known as a "drive by download." A "drive by download" occurs when the browser hijacker installs itself when you open an email attachment, download a file, or visit a website.

How to Get Rid of a Browser Hijacker

  • Internet Options: If your home page has changed, click on tools from the main toolbar in your Web browser and then choose Internet Options. Select the tab that says "General" and then click "Use Current" under Home Page. This will change your home page back; however, you will have to take other measures to get rid of the browser hijacker.

  • Unwanted Toolbars: If the browser hijacker has installed toolbars that you do not want, use the Internet Options settings to eliminate them. Click on Tools from the main toolbar of your browser window and then select "Internet Options" from the pull-down menu. Select the tab that says "Programs" and then go to "Manage Add-Ons." Examine the menu to see if you can locate an Add-On with a name you do not recognize and then disable it under Settings.
  • Unwanted Pop-Ups: To eliminate unwanted pop-ups, once again click on Tools from the main toolbar in your browser and then select "Internet Options." Click the Internet Options Privacy Tab and then select the checkbox located in front of "Turn On Pop-Up Blocker." You may have to adjust the settings to allow pop-ups from secure sites that you trust. There are settings that allow you to set the pop-up blocker from low to high or vice versa.
  • Anti-Malware Program: Consider purchasing a reputable anti-malware program that includes an anti-hijacker application. Install the software into your PC and then run it. Make sure the software is the type that checks for updates and runs scans on a regular basis.

Although you can take the steps described above, an anti-malware program equipped with an anti-hijacker will most likely be needed especially if the browser hijacker is well disguised within your PCs operating system. It is also a good idea to use an anti-hijacker to ensure that the code is removed completely from your system.

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You can protect your computer from viruses without expensive software. Instead, follow these simple tips:

Stay up-to-date on all system updates.

Don't download any email attachments you weren't expecting.

Avoid freeware and peer-to-peer sharing sites.

Use alternative web browsers and email software.