What Is a Browser Hijacker
Have you ever been redirected to a website you didn’t intend to visit? If yes, it could most likely be due to a browser redirect virus. This article explains what this virus is and how to remove it.

A browser redirect virus is commonly known as a browser hijacker. This hijacker is a malware program that redirects users to malicious websites they didn’t intend to visit. It does so by modifying the settings of the web browser without the user’s knowledge and forcing the browser to redirect to a different website which is harmful or malicious.

However, you can take certain steps to protect your personal information and prevent browser hijacking. To deter browser hijacking, let’s understand how a browser hijacker or a browser redirect virus works.

How Does a Browser Hijacker Work

A browser hijacker, which is more like a malicious software program, infects browsers by modifying settings. This is done without the knowledge of the user. In most cases, browser redirect viruses are downloaded via infected files or email attachments. Likewise, users could accidentally download malware by visiting infected websites or installing infected browser extensions, or by downloading a software package with which the malware is bundled. Immediately after the malware makes its way onto a user’s device, it will infect the user’s browser by making changes to the browser settings.

As the intent of the browser hijacker could vary, its functions will not be the same and threat actors create browser hijackers for different purposes. However, most browser hijackers aim at altering the settings of web browsers. They might target a specific setting for a particular purpose. While some browser redirect viruses make small changes like adding an add-on or a new toolbar, some might target the DNS to redirect users to malicious websites, through which they will steal their sensitive information, including passwords. Ask Toolbar, RocketTab, and Coupon Server are a few examples of browser hijackers.

Cybercriminals carry out browser hijacking attacks to make money by making the user click on irrelevant ads. They also orchestrate such attacks to steal sensitive personal data by having the browser hijacker install spyware on the user’s device. This way, hackers steal financial and banking information and use it for fraudulent purposes. Browser hijackers also help cyber criminals to install ransomware on the user’s browser and keep it locked until the user pays the demanded ransom.

Signs and Symptoms of Browser Hijacking

Signs and symptoms of a browser being hijacked include:

  • Web pages loading slower than usual
  • Searches being redirected to random websites
  • Irrelevant pop-up ads

The above are a few common signs of browser hijacking, but remember, in certain cases, the browser will appear normal, and you may not notice any sign of your browser being infected. No matter what, it is crucial to make sure your browser does not get hijacked. In the following section, let’s learn how to remove a browser hijacker.

How to Remove a Browser Hijacker

If you believe that a browser hijacker has been installed on your browser or if you notice any of the signs listed above, you can try the following to get rid of the virus.

  • The first thing you can do is to reset the homepage settings of your browser. You can also uninstall the browser you suspect to be infected and reinstall it.
  • Clearing the DNS cache of your device is another way to remove browser hijackers from your browser. Doing so will help in cutting off all connections to infected software programs.
  • Tools like antivirus software can help detect and remove browser hijackers. For instance, you can try using programs like Norton Power Eraser, which specializes in spyware removal, or NordVPN’s Threat Protection feature to get rid of the browser hijacker. NordVPN’s Threat Protection feature blocks unwanted ads and protects its users from malicious websites.

Ways to Prevent Browser Hijacking

There are ways to remove browser hijackers, but it may not be as easy as it sounds. So the best way to stay secure is by taking the necessary measures to prevent browser hijacking. Let’s learn how to stay away from browser hijacking.

  • You might come across a lot of free apps and software to edit videos, images, and more. We strongly recommend our readers not to download such free software from random websites. Such software and apps are most likely to come bundled with malware and browser hijackers. Instead, you can spend a few bucks and download trusted software and apps from legitimate websites.
  • If you ever receive an email or text message with suspicious links from unknown contacts, delete the message or email immediately and make sure you do not click on those links. Those links could direct you to malicious websites. The same applies to pop-up ads and notifications.
  • Whenever there is a browser or software update, make sure you install the latest version to ensure that the security features are up-to-date. When you continue to use the older version of the software, hackers are likely to make use of the vulnerabilities and carry out attacks.
  • As mentioned above, you can try getting a trustworthy antivirus software that will regularly scan your device and browser for browser hijackers and make sure your device does not get infected.


By now, you might have understood what browser hijacking is all about. We recommend taking the necessary actions as soon as you spot signs of browser hijacking to stay secure. Additionally, you can check out our in-depth article on NordVPN’s Threat Protection feature to learn how it will keep website trackers, browser hijackers, and other threats at bay.