Your browser now has a new start page and a new search
page. Every time your browser loads a page that doesn’t
exist, you end up at some strange site, probably filled
with popup ads or worse – pornography. Nothing you do, from
resetting the home page in your options menu to rebooting
your machine gets rid of the problem.
If you’re really unlucky, the first new page you try to
load has called up so many pop ups that your machine will
virtually lock up until professionally serviced.
Browser hijacking is a very real and annoying problem. If
the hijacker program starts sending you off to pornography
websites – there’s a real chance it might have caused
pornography to be downloaded onto your hard drive. Porn on
a work computer has the potential to get your into real
Spyware, the generic term for software that installs itself
and records your movements, information and other bits to
send back to its source, is a general nuisance. Browser
hijacking is a form of spyware that subverts your browser
settings and leaves you in a bind. If you don’t have
something that can prevent or at least detect and reset it,
you could be in for some trouble.
Many savvy users who discover the problem find it very
difficult to repair. Critical files like “Internet Options”
are missing from the control panel of the operating system.
So, now it’s time to sort through the various .dll files or
.ini file extensions – looking for a configuration that was
Next, the person experiencing the problem becomes so
frustrated that they delete their browser and try to
reinstall or the worst yet, completely reformat the hard
drive – convinced that it is irreparable.
Well, reformatting will work – but only until the hijack
software has been downloaded once more from wherever it was
retrieved from in the first place. Most anti-spyware
software contains code for detecting and removing browser
hijackers; it requires activation of the software to detect
it for some programs. Other pay versions include real time
blockers that will actually prevent a browser hijacker from
Unfortunately, spyware and its associated brethren are here
to stay. The best defense is to employ protection that will
guard against unexpected software additions and installs.
Hijacking your browser may not seem as criminal as a virus
that eats files, but if you’ve ever experienced your
browser being hijacked, then you’re aware with the
frustration it causes.
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About the author:
Tom Jenson has worked in software development for 20 years.
He’s seen spyware develop from an occasional problem, to a
daily, hourly threat to all pc’s. He made it a mission to
research these threats, and work out how best to combat
them. Now this series of article helps others protect
their computers too.