By [http://ezinearticles.com/?expert=Deborah_Marsden]Deborah Marsden
Browser hijacking is another form of cyber fraud. Unlike viruses, hijackers get access to your browser via programs you have installed on your computer voluntarily. Often you are totally unaware that what you have installed has these hijacking programs. This is the point of the exercise. The hijackers don't want you to know. They don't announce themselves to you.
How you can tell if your browser has been hijacked?:
� Have a look in your 'Favourites' or Bookmark lists. Do you see sites or pages that you have never heard or seen before?
� Is your computer running slower than usual? Does it continue to run slowly even after you have taken the necessary maintenance steps so it runs better?
� Are you suddenly seeing pop-ups and ads when you haven't seen them previously?
� Having trouble getting to your security software sites?
� Have your computer settings changed, seemingly all on their own?
No, you don't have a ghost operating your computer but you probably do have a browser hijacker.
These hijackers manipulate your browser, sending you to sites you don't want to go to, which might even include porn sites.
They can change your security and privacy settings. Your browser may become unstable, have performance issues and can even prevent you from getting to the sites you are trying to reach.
Sometimes these programs attach themselves to plug-ins you add to your browser. Some of the most common ones are those for toolbars, and other freeware and shareware programs. Be very careful when installing such freeware and shareware as it could cost you.
Unfortunately, removing these programs doesn't affect the hijacking program.
The best thing you can do is to prevent it from happening in the first place. As mentioned above, be very, very careful with freeware and shareware.
Always have an antivirus and antispyware program installed, enabled and running regularly. Antivirus and antispyware programs are different. Each element has a different signature and requires special scanning features. So don't think that just because you have a good antivirus program that you will also be protected from spyware. Ensure that if you don't already have it, that you get it ASAP.
Block pop-ups from displaying. You can do this with whatever browser you use, like Internet Explorer and Firefox.
Microsoft itself has tools to help detect and remove malicious programs. If you don't have your own programs running, check their site for these tools.
If you are using a lot of add-ons or plug-ins, go through the list and remove any that you aren't using and consider whether or not you need any of them at all. Most will be harmless but if you get one that wreaks havoc with your computer, you'll not be a happy camper.
Bottom line: Browser hijacking is just one more Internet security issue to be concerned with. Protecting your computer is something you need to invest in. Get the best programs you can that will prevent these malicious programs from installing on your computer. In the end, the cost of repairing the damage can be much worse than the expense of a good and reliable antivirus/antispyware service.
Deb Marsden is an experienced Internet training customer support manager.
Internet Security is paramount to avoid cyber fraud. This page contains services we recommend. [http://budurl.com/siteswelove]Sites we love.
Too much to do and too little time? OutMouseit! [http://1-800-showmehow.com/personal-branding] and let this dynamic duo work their magic with your personal online branding and more.
Article Source: [http://EzineArticles.com/?Browser-Hijack:-What-Does-It-Mean?&id=5466634] Browser Hijack: What Does It Mean?