Browser hijacking refers to any modification performed on a web browser’s settings. A browser hijacker is the software or application used to achieve this modification. Hijacking has been used to describe this activity since the modification is performed without the owner’s knowledge or permission.
The browser hijacker might replace several key pages such as the search page, home page or error page with others. The essence of this modification is to forcefully direct traffic to a specific website to increase advertising income. There are some malicious browser hijackers that may contain spyware programs which include keylogger programs.
These spyware apps gather information such as email authentication or banking details from any PC user. There are a few browser hijackers that might damage the Windows registry system permanently. There are a few cases of browser hijacking that can be reversed while others are completely permanent. There are a few approved software applications that can perform perfect reversals.
If the homepages set by these programs are search pages, it’s very easy to track personal data. There are a few users who get an opportunity to install or decline the hijackers. However, the decline option might be very confusing to follow through and eventually the user ends up installing the malware or bloatware in his/her PC.
Some common examples of browser hijackers include the Astromenda Toolbar which changes the homepage and the default search engine to its own, Astromenda.com. Using this search engine slows down the device and it also brings about free downloads that might affect the device’s performance. The freeware also changes all the web browsing settings to Astromenda which often includes paid links that often download spyware.
Mindspark interactive is another famous distributor of browser hijackers that changes the homepage and search engine to Ask and Babylon.com. It also comes with an adware which displays numerous advertisements, paid search results and also sponsored links. The same can be said for the Babylon Toolbar. Note that, it also collects search terms from any search queries.
Also, the Babylon toolbar might come as an add-on with other software downloads, therefore the user should avoid installing it. There was an unrest caused back in 2011 among most PC users when CNET downloads were automatically bundled with the Babylon search Toolbar. Before completely installing any software, don’t check the box that contains the toolbar and it will not automatically install in your device. Just like Ask and Babylon toolbars, other famous browser hijackers include Conduit Search, Binkiland, coolwebsearch, Gosave, couponsearch, istartsurf etc.
If you have mistakenly downloaded any of these hijackers, you can easily go back to your original internet settings. However, there are a few that don’t allow this option. Also, there is a likely chance that they might return upon rebooting regardless of which settings you are currently using. Note that if you have a very strong antivirus or antimalware program, these hijackers will most likely be removed. If you change back your settings manual, perform a thorough scan to guarantee that no part of the hijacker was left on the device to prevent future attacks.