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Beginners Guides: Browser Hijacking & How to Stop It
Beginners Guides: Browser Hijacking & How to Stop It - PCSTATS
If you though Pop-ups were annoying, just wait until your web browser is hijacked! In this guide, PCstats shows you how to regain control and kick out the hijackers, kung-fu style...
Filed under: Beginners Guides Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: PCSTATS May 10 2004   M. Dowler  
Home > Reviews > Beginners Guides > PCSTATS

The worst case scenario

In the worst case scenario, a browser hijacker can make the Internet almost impossible to use, popping up legions of advertising windows and directing you helplessly to sites of its choosing. These programs often use a combination of hidden files and a registry settings to reinstall themselves after removal, so deleting them or changing your IE settings back may well not work.

A much older practice that some shady websites use is to bombard you with advertising popups, some spawning new popup adds when closed, and some lacking any close controls at all, rendering them difficult to get rid of. While this is not technically browser hijacking - it does not affect the functioning of your web browser - it still has the effect of disrupting your surfing experience.

Part 1: preparation and precautions

You can massively reduce the risk of your browser being taken over by a hijacker by taking a few simple precautions. First and foremost is to update Windows by going to https://windowsupdate.microsoft.com . this advice is in every security guide we have ever published, and for good reason.

microsoft, whatever people might say, is very active in the area of security and is constantly patching and updating program vulnerabilities which allow things like browser hijacking.

by keeping your machine up to date with the latest service packs and patches, you can eliminate a whole range of potential trouble. many browser hijackers are geared to attack areas of vulnerability in windows and internet explorer which have since been patched. provided you are up to date, you avoid a raft of potential trouble.

The automatic update function included in Windows XP (and Windows 2000 service pack 3) is a convenient way to make sure you are up to date. To enable this feature, right click on 'my computer' and select properties, then choose the 'automatic updates' tab.

If it is not already, check the 'keep my computer up to date…' checkbox to enable automatic updating.

Now run Windows update from 'start\all programs\windows update' to make sure you are correctly patched for now.

Use common sense

A majority of browser hijacking programs will actually request your permission before installing themselves. If only real hijackers were so polite… Anyhow, the point is if anything requests permission to install on your system while you are browsing the 'net, say NO unless you are absolutely darn sure you know what it is, and what it does.

This excellent surfing habit will also protect you from many forms of spyware and adware such as the omnipresent Gain\Gator\Claria Corporation software. (See our guide to removing adware and spyware for more details.

Funny how many of the same street-proofing techniques you learned as a kid apply on today's Internet… "Kids, just say NO to spyware!"

Use and update an anti-spyware program regularly

Ad-aware and Spybot S&D are the two anti-spyware programs that we recommend using. Since browser hijackers are considered an offshoot of the whole spyware\adware\malware phenomenon, both these programs are capable of detecting and often eliminating our current subject. Keep them updated and scan with them often to keep your PC of unwanted 'marketing initiatives' as well as browser hijackers.

Again, see our guide to spyware and adware removal for details on using these two programs.

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Contents of Article: PCSTATS
 Pg 1.  Beginners Guides: Browser Hijacking & How to Stop It
 Pg 2.  — The worst case scenario
 Pg 3.  Use Anti-virus programs regularly
 Pg 4.  Repairing a browser hijack
 Pg 5.  Antivirus Scan in safe mode
 Pg 6.  Manual system search; HOSTS file
 Pg 7.  Manually Checking the registry

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