Browser hijacking is a method cyber-criminals use to steal personal data. If a hijacking program has taken hold of your browser, any personal or sensitive information stored within it is seriously at risk. Browser hijackers also often make it impossible for you to use your browser normally and can open up your computer to a host of additional infections. However, most hijackers are easy to spot once you know what to look for.
One of the most common symptoms of browser hijacking is discovering that your homepage has been reset. If your browser displays an unfamiliar website after launching, particularly advertising fake security software, this is almost definitely the work of a hijacker. If you enter a URL and find yourself directed to a different website than the one you intended, this also indicates a hijacker infection. While you will be able to reset your home-page right off the bat, it will probably revert to the hijacked state once you launch your browser again. In order to get your settings back to normal, you must remove the hijacker.
Many people think of popup windows as a mere nuisance, but popups are a favored form of malware delivery for browser hijackers. Highjacked browsers often display unstoppable flurries of popup ads, and hijackers can even disable your browser's popup blocker. The goal with the never-ending popups is to get you to click on one of the links by mistake, thus installing rogue programs. These links may also try to direct you towards malicious websites.
Another variation on popup hijackers is the fake security alert. If your browser or desktop displays a generic message saying that your computer is being hacked or that your security has been compromised, take a minute to read the message in full before clicking on any links. If the message is from a security program that you don't remember installing, there's a good chance that this is the work of a hijacker. As these messages are designed to look like legitimate system alerts, look carefully for any discrepancies, such as colors that vary from your desktop color scheme or obvious spelling errors.
If you suspect that your browser has been hijacked, shut it down immediately. Contact your local Lone Star Communications' IT Professional. Your LSC IT Professional will perform a full system scan with approved antivirus software, which will remove the hijacker software. After the hijacker is taken care of, a clean reinstall of your browser software will be done in order to erase any changes that the hijacker has made. As hijackers sometimes piggyback on third-party browser add-ons, only download add-ons from sources approved by your local LSC IT Professional. It is also wise to change all your passwords after a hijacker infection.
August Cyber Security Defenders
LSC Human Resources and Accounting Team
Lone Star Communications’ Human Resources and Accounting Team, unfortunately receive a variety of attempts to steal personal data and sensitive company information, due to the positions they hold. I receive updates of the attempts and push those notifications out company-wide. Thanks to everyone again for a safe month. Cyber Security is a Team Effort, and I absolutely appreciate every single email that is reported or authenticated.
-Brian Banks, Internal Information Security Officer