How to recover a Hijacked Web Browser.

Last Update: Jan 13, 2015

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1.5K followers

There are quite a lot of nasty little hijackers that are just waiting to jump into your PC and hold you hostage, while they dictate where you go and what you see in your web browser, then if you want to get rid of them, they demand money from you, only to re-appear later on.

Here in Australia, we are not immune to this, but if you want to get rid of these problems, you generally have to pay someone to do it for you. Depending on their competence, you are either going to end up with

1: a clean install on your Hard Drive, meaning that you have lost all of your data, or find it dumped into a folder called Old-Data, that you have to decipher and re-arrange. This will cost you anything starting from around $150

2: a competent technician that has removed the hijacker and you still have all your data, programs and bookmarks, with a safe and simple AntiVirus program to stop this happening again. This will cost you anything starting from about $75 (if I was your Technician) up to $150

I have been removing viruses and trojans from computers for nearly 20 years now, going way back to the 90's with the 'Anna Kournikova nude' virus, and watched them become more complex and invasive. But regardless how they get in or how annoying they may get, they can always be removed. That is where I specialise.

The browser hijacker (which is really a trojan, invading your computer from within a seemingly innocent file that has been downloaded) is not really interested in causing any malicious damage to your computer or information, it is specifically designed to make money. Unfortunately, anything of value will be exploited and become corrupted. So the makers of these trojans use these pop-ups and hijackers to collect information about you, which is sent back to companies that want to target you for specific advertising and spam mail, in an effort to extract even more money from you.

Removing the Hijacker.

The best solution is to just disable and then remove the hijacker. Of course you could wipe all the data on your Hard Drive and start with a clean install, then load all your programs back on and reload all your data from backups, (did I hear "I don't have any backups..") but that could take several hours, or even days...

So follow these steps, that will allow you to remove MOST hijackers that you will come across.

1. The first thing you need to do is download the following products:

Norton Power Eraser, from: http://liveupdate.symantec.com/upgrade/NPE/1033/NPE.exe

and Spybot Search and Destroy, from: http://www.safer-networking.org/spybot2-own-mirror-1/

2. Then you need to run Norton Power eraser. It will run through and then restart your computer. but follow the prompts until it has finished and restarted again. you could try running it again just to be sure that there is nothing left on your system.


3. Then once you have finished with Norton, run Spybot Search and destroy and update it and then do a full system scan and let it clean up anything it finds.

4. The next step is to go to the start menu where your shortcut link for your browser is (Chrome, Firefox, etc.) and right-click the link, select "properties" then click the "Shortcut" tab and in the 'Target' window, it will have the location of the file to open, in quotation marks. all it should contain is the target for the file, in quotation marks. It probably has something like www.safernetwork.crap/blah/blah after it. delete it.

The Target should look like this:
"C:\Program Files (x86)\Google\Chrome\Application\chrome.exe"

5. Now open Internet Explorer properties in the control panel and set the home page to google.com (or what ever you prefer), then open your browser and make sure that the start-page is the same as what you have set in Internet Properties.

6. Finaly, restart your computer again, once you have gone through and cleaned up your browser links and see if that has worked. You should have a nice, clean browser once again and saved hundreds of dollars and many heartbreaking hours of work.

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Recent Comments

43

I've had problems like this in the past (blasterworm comes to mind) and would like to add that Sandboxie is a useful thing to have. It has a free-to-use version and is great for testing out unknown entities in their own quarantine. I've yet to figure out how to recover anything to my real OS, but once I deem something safe I usually just redownload/reinstall it for real.

Haven't used SandBoxIE, but prefer the 2 tools in my article, because they have served me well for many years.
Another favourite is McAffee Stinger, which is a little stand-alone scanner with full updated definitions that you can download for free and run - if you ever get hit with something nasty. It focuses on actual viruses and trojans and does a complete system scan and removes any nasties.

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Savant I use Microsoft Essentials and never have i had a problem. I notice you use chrome and it has its own set of popus.. My suggestion is to use Firefox instead. Good luck with your trojans.
Ken

Thanks for your response Ken. I have tried 'em all, from the days of Netscape till now and NO, Chrome does not have popups.
Chrome is the preferred browser because it is made and monitored by the biggest internet and technology companies in the world. Each window tab opens as a separate browser and causes the least problems. It is constantly being tested and updated.

I always get popups on chrome and nowhere else. Sorry
ken

Top right corner, Click the icon with 3 bars in it, select settings, then extensions and delete all the extensions in there, that should take out any popups. Then go through the settings and make sure that it is set to how you want it.
I am assuming that your PC is used by other people, so at some stage someone had clicked on something they shouldn't have, while in Chrome, and the popups have been there ever since. It doesn't take much and the mongrels who write this stuff are getting sneakier and sneakier.

Anyhow, this article is about browser hijackers, which will get in on any and all browsers, yes, even mac's. It is technically not even a virus, but adware, and can come in on the back of installers, like Softronics, and because you are installing a program that you actually want, half way through the installation process, there will be a window that says it will also install some other garbage that will screw up your computer if you dont read the fine print, so many people just click OK without reading the fine print and install the bug.
Many antivirus programs will just ignore this because it has been selected by the operator and the AV program assumes that you know what you are doing
I too use MS Security Essentials and swear by it. But I am also very careful about what I click on too.

Thanks for your input Ken.

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I have never had any of these problems, but knock on wood, you never know when it's your turn, so bookmarked and hope never to need it, thanks

Hi Savant, I have bookmarked this in case I ever need it. I use McAfee on my computer so I hope I never end up in this situation.
Lis.

Thank you Savant! You are a true help to this community.

Thanks Tereza, pleasure.

л

Cool stuff.

Thank youThanyouThankyou. For helping us with your expertise

Thank you for your tips.I have Norton security installed on my lap top and also crap cleaner,I run crap cleaner every night before I go to bed,I empty the cache first or browsing as some folk know it and then run the cc,it deletes all browsing and places you have been and then I clean the registry.I have learned now that it is always best to check for updates and make sure I implement them.
I had my file on trojan horses and other viruses in the past but I am not going to get caught out this time,we have to learn from our mistakes.

Here here!
I hope you are in the practice of backing up at least 3 times a week. Your data is only as good as your last backup.
Cheers Tommy, thanks for your input.

I don,t back up,I probably should.What is the easiest way to do this.

Definitely bookmarked this!
... thanks so much Savant!

Hi Savant,

Just curious, do you work on Macs as well? I have a question on a couple issues I'm experiencing right now.

PM me and I'll see what I can do for you

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