What Is a Browser Hijacker?

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What Is Browser Hijacker?

Browser Hijacker Definition

Short definition: A potentially unwanted program, that “hijacks” your web browser and changes its settings, most likely to show ads.

Extended definition:

Browser hijackers are a form of PUPs (potentially unwanted programs). Their main activity is to “hijack” your web browser and begin to change different types of settings by manipulating its core files and in case of Windows computers the Windows Registry sub-keys of the browser. The most often cases of browser hijackers include changing your homepage, new tab page and the default search engine to a website that is ad-supported. Just like any other ad-supported program, the main idea these applications exist is to make money by displaying different types of advertisements their developers are paid to. But they may also display advertisements that are part of a pay-per-click monetising campaign.

what is Browser Hijacker

Browser hijackers are not classified as viruses, but more or less as a low level type of threat to your computer system. The main reason why they could be dangerous is that they pose an indirect threat to your device and security via the advertisements the display on it. These ads could be of all kinds and they could sometimes lead to dangerous websites, like the following:

  • Scam sites.
  • Virus domains and URLs.
  • Phishing or other fake web pages.
  • Web pages, that cause multiple redirects.
  • Fake tech support sites.

Another activity that these programs are often involved in is related to using different types of tracking technologies, like cookies, tags, pixels, geo locators and other types of objects that are used to obtain information from your browser. These objects our small files that were dropped on your device and could remain for years of time if not detected and removed and their presence could result in your information being tracked without your knowledge.

For more definitions, check our Cyber Dictionary.

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