Navigating the Internet can be a risky activity sometimes. With millions of pages and bytes of information at your fingertips, it’s easy to get a harmful software or piece of code “stuck” in your computer. There are various levels of risk regarding this kind of software. Usually, it will change the way your web browser behaves and/or collect data from the computer and send back to the developer for his own  purposes. Also, the registry settings are changed.

How can you tell if it’s happened to you?

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Your computer is most likely infected if:

–      The browser’s home page takes you to a site you did not select as your home page.

–      The default search engine is changed and any search result takes you to the newly created engine’s website

–      You get blocked when you try to access antivirus/antispyware/antimalware sites

–      You are redirected to a particular website whenever you try to access any site

–      Various pop ups come up when you use the web browser and you are unable to close them

–      New favorites, toolbars or bookmarks are added

–      The web browser runs slow.

However, there are few tricks that prevent you from being hijacked. None of them protects you 100%, though.

  1. Keep Windows security patches updated.
  2. While installing new software keep check if any other unwanted software is being installed.
  3. Restrict your computer from installing unknown software.
  4. Do not install any plug-in blindly until you are sure you really need them.
  5. Use anti-spyware programs and keep it updated.
  6. Use anti-virus programs and keep it updated as well.
  7. Keep the web browser security settings to high.
  8. Avoid unknown websites.

Even by doing all this, your computer could still get infected.  In part 2 of this article, I’ll show you what to do if your browser is hijacked.

~ Adrian