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Browser hijacking

Browser hijacking

Browser hijacking definition

Browser hijacking happens when a user’s internet browser settings are modified without the user’s permission. This includes all kinds of browsers, such as Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Internet Explorer, and Microsoft Edge.

Browser hijacking is done through malicious software (malware) called hijackware, and it can change a user’s default home or search page. Browser hijacking also causes users to get ads on their computers. The hijacker can change a user’s search engine, error page, or home page to their own.

Users can become victims of browser hijacking by either clicking on suspicious email attachments, visiting infected sites, downloading risky files from file-sharing sites, and by a hijacker installing hijackware on the user’s computer as a part of freeware.

Browser hijacking attacks can cause significant damage, such as installing spyware on devices, crashing browsers, and changing home pages to malicious websites.

Hackers engage in browser hijacking to make money. For example, a hacker can make money from browser hijacking by redirecting users to links that pay the hacker whenever someone clicks them.

See also: browser hijacker, DNS hijacking

Common browser hijacking signs

  • Web pages are loading slower than usual.
  • Toolbars that the user has not installed start appearing in their web browser.
  • Web searches start getting redirected to different websites.
  • Pop-up ads start appearing more and more.
  • The user’s usual search engines get replaced with another one.

Further reading

Ultimate digital security