How to Tell if Your Browser has been Hijacked? 

Keeping your computer free of viruses and malware is vital for both your privacy and security. Using good antivirus software and being careful about the sites you visit, the links you open, and the files you download can go a long way toward preventing your computer or network from being infected. Nonetheless, this isn’t always enough to prevent all types of viruses or malware. One of the most common types of malware is a browser hijacker. Its primary goal is to attempt to expose or access personal or sensitive information. Luckily, this is also one of the easiest types of malware to spot by looking out for the following signs.  

1. Homepage Changes and URL Redirecting 

Many browser hijackers will automatically change your homepage to a different site. Most commonly, it will be either a pornographic site or a site advertising some sort of fake software such as an antivirus program. It doesn’t really matter what the site is. If your homepage suddenly changes to something you don’t recognize, this is a sure sign that your browser has been hijacked. In most cases, you’ll either be unable to change your homepage or it will automatically reset to the new hijacked page every time you reopen the browser.  

URL redirecting is another browser hijacking tactic that works similarly. In this case, when you enter a web address, you’ll be taken to a site that is different than what you entered. Unfortunately, many browser hijackers are quite sophisticated and can render many computer malware removal programs ineffective.  

2. Default Search Engine Changes 

Some browser hijacking programs take a slightly more nuanced approach. Instead of changing your homepage, they will set up your browser to use a different, usually illegitimate, search engine. This means that when you type something into your browser’s built-in search engine, you’ll be redirected to a page displaying results from something other than Google, Bing, or whatever your default search engine is.  

3. Pop-up Ads and Fake Security Alerts 

Another obvious sign that your browser has been hijacked is if you’re suddenly bombarded with pop-up ads and windows. The ads can be for anything, but it is usually fairly easy to spot that they’re fake. Many of these programs are advanced enough that they can bypass your computer’s pop-up blocker and antivirus software, which means you’ll need either specialized computer virus removal software or a professional to fully clean them from your system.  

Some types of malware take this a step further by showing you alerts in your browser or on your computer claiming that your computer has been hacked or has a virus or other security issue. In this situation, it is vital that you read the alert carefully and never click on any links unless you are sure they are from a legitimate company whose software you know is on your computer.  

If you notice any alerts that look suspicious or come from a program that you don’t recognize or remember installing, don’t ever click on any links or you could further open up your computer and your personal data to hackers and malware. Instead, immediately run computer malware removal software if you have it, then contact a professional if this doesn’t resolve the problem. 

If you suspect your browser has been hijacked, our experts at Priority 1 Computers are ready to help. Contact us today for computer virus removal or any data recovery should the virus have caused you to lose any important documents or files. 

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