Have you ever logged onto your device and noticed that things were a little different? Your Internet browser may have a different homepage, or it might direct you to a search engine that you don’t normally use. In some cases, you may even notice that other settings in your browser have been changed. This is what is known as “browser hijacking,” and it’s more common than you think. In this article, we’ll teach you how to identify a browser hijacker and how to get rid of it for good.

What is a Browser Hijacker?

Browser hijacking is a result of malware. This dangerous software can control your browser, change your settings, and even redirect you to different websites without your consent. In many cases, browser hijackers attach a new search engine to your homepage, which can make navigating the Internet a challenge.

These browser hijacking attacks often have a goal: generating more revenue for advertisers. If you have ever experienced a browser hijacker, you already know that it will redirect your traffic to another site instead of the one you intended to visit. The sites are often filled with low-quality ads and almost no useful content. Depending on the type of browser hijacker, you may even encounter spyware or other cybersecurity threats.  

How to Identify a Browser Hijacker

Cybersecurity attacks, such as browser hijacking, can have a detrimental effect on your privacy. In some instances, these attacks are a precursor to further security problems down the road. Luckily, browser hijackers are easy to identify if you know what to look for. Take a look at the following list of ways to identify a browser hijacker:

  • Your browser displays a new search engine as the homepage.
  • Websites are redirected to different pages on their own.
  • You can’t make any changes to your browser settings.
  • Devices respond slowly and have more lag. 
  • Pop-up ads appear on your device.

Now that you are able to easily identify a browser hijacker, the next step is to learn how to remove them from your device. We explore some of the most effective ways to get rid of a browser hijacker below.

Tips for Removing a Browser Hijacker

Getting rid of a browser hijacker is more complex than just switching Internet browsers. It can be challenging to remove these hijackers entirely if you aren’t sure how they got on your device in the first place. You can use antivirus or antimalware software to locate the source of the threat, but some of these hijackers don’t appear in virus scans. This is why it’s so important to routinely check your device for these threats. Luckily, these tips can help:

  • Clear your cookies, cache, and browser history.
  • Look for new software that may have brought the malware as a hitchhiker. 
  • Uninstall applications or software that you don’t recognize/look suspicious.
  • Reset your browser settings to your preferences.
  • Check that your newly updated browser works as intended. 

Preventing browser hijacking is as easy as avoiding questionable software, updating your system, running regular antivirus scans, and protecting your online activity. With these tips in mind, you can steer clear of these serious cybersecurity threats.

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