Browser hijacking: What is it & How to Keep your Mac Safe

Browser hijacking is a popular topic discussed on most computer help bulletin boards. In most cases, users want to know how to protect themselves from external control and malicious intrusions.

Browser hijacking occurs when unwanted or unauthorized software on a web browser alters the browser’s activity. Web browsers are the window to the Internet and are used to search for information. However, there are times when companies add small software or programs to browsers without the user’s permission.

For instance, Search Baron is a popular browser hijacker where the homepage for Mac users gets redirected to Removing Search Baron from Mac is essential to improve your web browsing experience. It can be done by uninstalling unknown applications, removing the leftover files, and running a thorough scan using antivirus software.

What is the Impact and Risk of Browser Hijackers?

Unscrupulous organizations and individuals inject their software into web browsers for different reasons. For example, to spy on users, steal information from users, run a try-before-you-buy hard sell to a customer, or display persistent advertising.

Sometimes, hackers might even drop malware into web browsers to take users to websites that are used to capture important information about them. The data may include user IDs and passwords, addresses, full names, social security answers, and answers to security questions.

Cybercriminals use the information to access accounts that users log in to on the Internet. Additionally, cybercriminals often obtain financial data and steal a user’s identity or money.

Unfortunately, it does not take a super-criminal to install the software in a user’s web browser. Some advertising and marketing companies take these steps to follow the activities of their potential customers on the Internet and study the time they spend on those specific web pages. Then, the companies plan to use the information to target their ad campaigns.

Companies even spend their advertising dollars creating display ads that might pop up on a user’s device without their knowledge. The messages might even follow them around the web.

Websites selling products or services place pixels in browsers, which aren’t removed even after the user responds to the offers or ads.

However, the most extreme and pernicious form of browser hijacking is when a vendor compels unauthorized and new software directly into the user’s web browser. The intruding software may take up significant space on the web browser’s toolbar.

Malicious or not, browser hijacking takes up storage space and can even slow down your computer. So, you must be alert of unauthorized files and apps on your computer.

Ways to Prevent and Keep your Mac Safe from Browser Hijackers

  • Update the browser software and the operating system

Malicious programs can find themselves in your computer in two ways – a hacker has tricked you into installing the app/program via a malicious link or email, or the software was bundled with other legitimate programs using it as an additional source of revenue.

If you had your browser hijacked, you know how painful it is to deal with removing the browser hijacking program and then resetting your browser settings.

Making sure you have the most significant and latest browser version with the security patches installed might prevent several Internet-borne attacks. Preventing such attacks will ensure that the unpatched vulnerabilities are not exploited.

Hackers and cybercriminals are counting on users not to patch or update their systems. Don’t give them that chance. It would be best if you run a quick software update so that the points of entry are shut down.

Web browser makers know this hijacking problem and might even add anti-hijacking features. So, it would be best if you always kept your software updated.

Not only the browser, but it is also important to update your operating system so that the latest security features are added. Turn on the automatic updates option on your Mac.

  • Be cautious before installing any software from the web

Some browser hijacking software might come with legitimate software. Therefore, it might be difficult for you to differentiate them. Hence, it would be best if you always went through the fine print about what you are installing before clicking download. Some companies might even allow you to opt-out of installing the bundled utilities.

Also, never install apps or programs from unreliable sources.

  • Use antivirus software

Installing antivirus software is paramount when you want to deal with browser hijackers and other forms of cyber threats. These programs offer real-time protection and stay alert for attempts to change critical configuration files. The program alerts the users if something they are installing attempts to alter the browser settings.

Ensure the anti-malware definition files are updated.

The Bottom Line

Enhance your browsing experience by keeping the browser hijackers at bay. Update your web browser and operating system, don’t click on unknown links, and always be careful what you are downloading.

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