A browser hijacker, also known as a browser modifier, is a type of malware that changes your browser settings and modifies the search algorithms. This virus engages in activities that, like other viruses, revolve around profiting from displaying previously paid sites to victims.
What Constitutes a Browser Hijacker?
These dubious programs masquerade as legitimate applications. You frequently encounter advertisements for “useful” utilities, such as alternate search tabs or customizable homepages for Chrome. All these programs require access to your browser configuration and the ability to modify these settings at their discretion. This is why these pseudo-effective tools are widely utilized to promote various questionable pages.
But how do these pages get promoted? Browser hijackers differ from adware. While the latter can also alter browser settings, it affects other aspects of the configuration file. Hijackers, on the other hand, change the homepage to display ads and present the promoted pages as “recommended”. Search engine settings are also altered to generate profit for the hijacker distributors. You can easily verify if your search results have been tampered with open Microsoft Edge (not vulnerable to third-party program attacks) and performing the same search. Then, compare the search results with those in the hijacked browser.
Is This a Threat?
The primary danger doesn’t come from the virus itself, but from the malicious sites promoted to you. Malware distributors have no incentive to validate the legitimacy of the sites they present to their victims. Consequently, there’s a significant risk of encountering fraudulent websites in the search results. These hazards can take various forms. Attempting to make a purchase on an online store could lead to financial loss when the store turns out to be a “shell” that merely displays products and a payment window. Another avenue of harm is through malware attacks. Many sites promoted through hijackers contain numerous malicious links. Clicking on these links could quickly result in your computer being infected with spyware, unwanted programs, and other forms of malware.
Despite the risks of malware and fraud, removing hijackers is a straightforward process. Each case comes with a corresponding guide in the relevant article. Below, you’ll find a list of articles pertaining to browser hijackers.