How to Remove Browser Hijacker on Mac?
One of the most common types of malware on the macOS is browser hijackers. Whether you use Firefox, Safari, Chrome, or any other browser, you are at risk of browser hijacking. Read along to know everything about browser hijackers and how you can remove the culprit.
What is the meaning of browser hijacking?
Browser hijacking is a type of malware that takes control of your web browser. It may change your homepage to one that the hacker wants you to visit or change the default search engine to enable the hacker to monitor your clicks and searches. Hackers will use the information to display adverts.
Some browser hijackers even contain spyware, which gathers sensitive details like email authentication or banking details. Some of them may even damage the registry of your operating system.
Hijackers might download files to your Mac to monitor your activity and steal personal data. For instance, your system might get infected with a software keylogger capable of recording your banking information and other delicate information.
Yahoo Redirect is one of the most common browser hijackers. It’ll redirect you to Yahoo search, even if your default search engine is Google or Bing. The Yahoo Redirect virus works by rapidly redirecting your web browser to an intermediary website or multiple websites. Then, it deposits you onto the Yahoo website. If there’s any revenue generated through clicks made on Yahoo, some of the revenue will be directed to those intermediary websites. If you find your search engine changing to Yahoo without your permission, you need to scan and remove Yahoo search on your Mac.
Similarly, other common browser hijackers include Bing Redirect (users are redirected to the bing.com website), Safe Finder, Search Baron, and Search Quick.
Why are browser hijackers dangerous?
Compared to other types of malware, browser hijackers are considered less severe. However, browser hijackers play a key role in exposing people to some of the most crucial cybersecurity threats. Therefore, they shouldn’t be taken lightly.
Browser hijackers alter the web browsers’ search engine or homepage settings and divert users to any website of their choice. Most of the websites host all kinds of computer viruses. Unfortunately, it is easy for even tech-savvy people to be duped into trusted malicious websites in this way. Furthermore, the annoying pop-ups of browser hijackers serve as a gateway for future malware attacks, especially when the “close” or “X” buttons are hiding install commands.
Alarmingly, some pop-ups and pages pushed by browser hijackers don’t even need users to click to infect the system. Such pages use drive-by downloads that don’t involve any direct user interaction.
The browser hijackers containing spyware are extremely dangerous as they allow cybercriminals to access your data and snoop on your online activity. Hackers can read your private messages, uncover your passwords, and even access your banking information using keyloggers. In some extreme cases, hackers may use your data to commit identity theft. As if that wasn’t enough, hackers can take over your system by installing botnet malware or ransomware. That’s why it is vital to protect your Mac with strong security software and take action before it’s too late.
How to know your browser has been hijacked?
The possible symptoms of a hijacked browser are:
- The homepage of your browser changing automatically without your permission
- You’ve started seeing a lot more adverts and pop-ups than what you normally see
- Your default search engine keeps changing
- Your browser is behaving erratically or running slower than usual
If you notice any of these, your browser is hijacked.
Removing browser hijackers on Mac
Browser hijackers can be removed manually in Safari. Open Safari > click on the Menu > choose Preferences. Then, select the Extensions tab to look for any extensions that you do not recognize and if there are any, click on it and select Uninstall.
Now, select the General tab > set your homepage to your choice of start page > select the Search tab > choose your preferred search engine.
For removing browser hijackers in Chrome:
- Launch Chrome and type chrome://extensions in the address bar.
- Look for extensions that you don’t recognize and select Remove if you find any.
- Type chrome://settings in the address and scroll down to ‘On Startup’.
- Decide on the page that you want to see when you launch the browser.
- In the section about search engines, select a default search engine.
Remove browser hijackers by launching Firefox > enter about:addons in the address bar > select Extensions. Search for extensions that look suspicious and remove them. Then, go to Preferences > scroll down to the Home section > set a homepage of your choice. In Search, you have to choose a default search engine.
Browser hijackers are highly deceptive, and anyone can fall into their trap. It is important to remove the malware the moment you recognize it to prevent serious infection of your Mac. Ensure to install good protection tools to safeguard your Mac against such threats.