Browser hijacker is a malicious program that downloads multiple extensions in the browser to modify your web browser settings, furthermore redirects the user to advertisements.
A hijacker replaces the existing homepage, search engine results with its own to increase advertisements for generating revenue. Also, show fake security warnings responsible enough to force the user in installing programs infected with malware and viruses.
Some browser hijacker contains keylogger software and spyware to gather personal information related to banking, emails, login IDs, passwords and social media accounts.
How a browser hijacker virus enters into your system?
This is an illegitimate program which on activation, makes changes to the existing web browsers settings without your permission.
Security researchers consider it as a deceptive browser extension with malicious scripts always ready to creep into your system through any of the following methods:
- It gets into your browser through browser stores or unofficial unsecured web pages.
- Intrusive advertisements and a deceptive marketing method, bundling (freeware and shareware programs) distribute the browser hijacker.
- It enters into your system through malicious and infected websites.
- Social networking websites incite the users to click on malicious ads which leads to the entry of search.umaxsrch.com.
- It enters through malicious email attachments and URLs.
- It can enter your browser through P2P File Sharing methods and Torrents.
Once it (browser hijacker) enters into your system, it starts infecting your system.
Techniques used to distribute browser hijacker
Though a browser hijacker homepage often looks useful to a user, most of the users fail to notice the web address.
“A browser hijacker’s homepage will always be unsecure because of its HTTP connection.”
In short, these ambiguous browser extensions will use following techniques to distribute themselves among the system of networked PC;
- Social Clickjacking: Creators of such infections use online media such as Social Network and tempting advertisements to provoke the users. Let’s say fools the users to click on the ads.
- Spam emails: These hijackers can get into your computer through malicious email attachments and download links present in the body of the mail. This emails usually appear to be from a reputed organization, i.e., Banks and insurance companies.
- Bundling: The quickest and the most easiest way of infecting a user’s PC with any malware is through freeware software’s. Moreover, in this case, the user is equally responsible for authorizing the installation of such malicious program without reading the terms and conditions.
What are browser hijacker components?
The creation of any browser hijacker undergoes four important steps. We consider these steps as the main components or building blocks of a browser hijacker infiltration.
Adware Creation: It’s a malicious software placed within the advertisement on the user’s computer to displays various advertisements, affiliate links which on a click redirects to a sponsored website.
Once the website starts receiving traffic, the adware developer publishes the number of advertisements on your legitimate internet browser slowly installing adware program on your computer.
“Now you must have understood why a third party redirects occur?”
Background Program Creation: The next program is to create a background program or a set of browser add-ons which make sure that a fake homepage is automatically inserted into all the browsers present on your computer.
To do so, there are several techniques and methods which we have discussed above. These intrusion methods disturb Windows management and damages registry files.
Also, creates fake security programs while convincing you that your system is safe, but keeps on installing unwanted programs without your consent.
This is the time when a user must get aware before the monetizing operation starts. To avoid further damage, the user must install a legitimate Browser Hijacker Removal Tool helpful to detect, scan and delete adware, browser hijacker virus.
Monetizing Methods: While background program creation, the cybercriminal gets an ample amount of time to track your browsing activity. The only aim of injecting browser hijacker into your system via adware, pop-ups and add-ons with other methods is to generate revenue.
Browser hijacker automatically redirects the user to search results that can give more severe infections to your system.
Commonly targeted web browsers are Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Safari and Internet Explorer. Creating fake search fields and redirects is a profitable strategy for any cybercriminal to generate more traffic on the browser hijacker website ultimately resulting in revenue generation.
Another method is merely displaying ad banners and pop-ups, monetization is done by PPC (Pay Per Click). You click the ads; cybercriminal earns money.
Distribution Methods: Once the hijacking field is set on one computer, the only aim left for cybercriminal is to spread the infection in as many as computer possible.
Usually, hijackers use pay per install (PPI) networks and pay publishers for every install by using various deceptive and blackhat methods. Another method is Software Bundling authorized by the user to install the additional software which end up littering your computer without your consent.
Browser Hijacker List
Some browser hijacking can be reversed, while others may be difficult to reverse. Various software packages bundled with hijacker prevents such modification.
Also, most hijacking programs continuously change the settings of browsers where user choices in their own browser are overwritten.
A few such examples of browser hijacker lists includes Astromenda (www.astromenda.com), Ask Toolbar (ask.com), ESurf (esurf.biz), Binkiland (binkiland.com), Cool Web search, istartsurf, Coupon server, Mixi DJ, MyStart.incrediBar Search, Searchassist, search-daily.com, Searchgol.com, TV Wizard, Snap.do, Trovi and Cheat Engines.
Harmful effects of browser hijacker
Before invading, browser extension monitors your IP address and URL’s viewed along with the personal information. Further, based on the result, hijacker redirects your search results to malicious websites filled with sponsored ads and pop-up banners.
Browser Hijacker virus can lead to the following malicious effects on your system and web browsers:
- It consumes high CPU resource and lowers down your overall PC performance.
- The operating system may crash now and the computer would boot up for no reason.
- Slow internet browsing speed might cause the internet to stop unexpectedly.
- It causes the occurrence of fake alert messages and notifications.
- It leads to irrelevant web search redirections and highly affects your web browsing experience.
- It collects your browsing information and data such as IP addresses, banking details, passwords, etc.
- It displays advertising banners on the web pages you are visiting.
- It installs other adware programs without the user’s knowledge.
- Automatic download of executable files from unknown sources and unsecured websites.
- New tabs open in browser to display ads or search results would always end up with displaying advertisement banners.
- Your web browsers are now equipped with all new add-ons toolbars and extensions.
- Show pop up ads even when the browser is not open.