Malware Inc. - Part 4

So here we are in Part 4, and it's time to talk browser Hijackers, and what you can do to thwart them. We have talked a great deal about using caution & common sense when browsing, and how to spot potential issues. But the fact of the matter is that even with caution and tools for protection, you can end up with a browser search engine hijacker you never asked for. We have all seen them. The nefarious and foreboding search screen that makes you afraid to type, like this:

Search Conduit, one of the most ubiquitous search hijackers on the web...

Search Conduit, one of the most ubiquitous search hijackers on the web...

Knowing how to conquer these bad boys and regain control of your browser is key. There are 3 vital areas you need to know how to use in order to clean your browser of these pesky tools. After you go to your Control Panel and Uninstall the offending software, or at least make sure it is not showing up in there, then you can begin tackling the browser side. 

To get to the settings go to the little symbol in the top right hand corner of Google Chrome that looks like three little horizontal lines then click on settings:

1. Homepage

Follow these steps to adjust your homepage settings:

  1. Click the Chrome  menu  on the browser toolbar.
  2. Select Settings.
    • Add the home button to the browser toolbar
      Homepage button is off by default. Select the "Show Home button" checkbox in the "Appearance" section to show it on the browser toolbar.
    • Set your homepage
      When the "Show Home button" checkbox is selected, a web address appears below it. If you want the Homepage button to open up a different webpage, click Change to enter a link. You can also choose the New Tab page as your homepage.

2. Set your default search engine

  1. Click the Chrome menu  on the browser toolbar.
  2. Select Settings
  3. In the "Search" section, select the search engine you want to use from the menu. If the search engine you want to use doesn't appear in the menu, click Manage search engines.
  4. In the Search Engines dialog that appears, select the search engine that you'd like to use from the list.
  5. Click the Make Default button that appears in the row.

If the search engine you want to use isn't on this list, you can first add it as a new search engine option.

If the "Make Default" button doesn't appear for the search engine you've selected, you may need to edit its URL.

3. Uninstall extensions

Uninstall an extension to remove it completely from the browser:

  1. Click the Chrome menu  on the browser toolbar.
  2. Click Tools.
  3. Select Extensions.
  4. Click the trash can icon  by the extension you'd like to completely remove.
  5. A confirmation dialog appears, click Remove.

You can also temporarily turn off an extension by disabling it on the Extensions page.

Is your Browser Spying on you?

What info is YOUR browser collecting...?

What info is YOUR browser collecting...?


Google Chrome made news recently for something completely new: Extension written by other companies were tracking user information. This was a big deal for Google, as the Chrome browser has been, for several years, the absolute safest browser. Internet Explorer is literally riddled with more holes than a '20's Chicago storefront, and Firefox, an open source browser that was the answer to computer users' security prayers 7 years ago, has simply become more bogged down with extensions, and gradually declined to the point of being almost unusable, becoming the target of many a message board gripe

However, Chrome has prided itself on it's sheer speed and security for years. And being at the top, makes you a target. Over the last couple weeks, many companies have written extensions to spy on and track users of the Chrome browser. This of course made huge headlines, not strictly because it happened, but because Chrome has such an impeccable reputation for quality, speed and safety. It was news because this just DOESN'T HAPPEN ON CHROME.

And once the news hit, the web exploded with articles about companies selling extensions injected with adware. 

The good news is, the tech community is full of incredibly talented folks, and the guys over at How-To Geek have released a list of the extensions to REMOVE IMMEDIATELY and avoid if you haven't grabbed them. Their list follows:

List of Tracking Extensions

For Chrome:

For Firefox:

List of Adware Extensions

It's worth noting that a lot of these extensions will end up temporarily removing their ads as a result of all the press coverage. They should not be trusted going forward though."

For a complete breakdown of their findings and the extensive detail they went to, see their article HERE.