Browser hijacker definition
A piece of malicious software that takes control of your browser, redirecting you to specific pages and altering your settings. It often forces you to use a new search engine and makes it extremely difficult to navigate from page to page. Some browser hijackers are designed to generate ad revenue. They redirect you to pages with ads, artificially boosting ad revenue for whoever is operating these sites. Others can be much more insidious, installing spyware, gathering information about your browsing history and online habits, and paving the way for cyberattacks, including session hijacking and DNS hijacking.
How to detect a browser hijacker
Browser hijackers are easy to detect. The most popular and visible symptom is a new default search engine or/and home page. It may also try to redirect you from sites you want to visit to random websites that automatically start to download files to your device. It’s especially concerning if you can’t change these settings on your browser.
Another sign of this type of browser malware is that it spreads through all the browsing apps on your device. One browser acting up might mean there’s something wrong with the software. But if all of your browsers are redirecting you from the websites you want to visit, you most likely have malware.
How to prevent browser hijackers
- Never download software from third-party app stores or unknown developers. Always do your research and only trust official sources and stores.
- Monitor your device for suspicious activity. It’s easier to remove malware before it spreads through your system. A slow device, unknown software, and suspicious downloads are all signs worth investigating.
- Use security software like NordVPN’s Threat Protection. It will scan your files as you download them, and if malware is detected, Threat Protection will delete it before it can damage your device.