devxlogo

Homepage Hijacking

Definition

Homepage hijacking refers to the unauthorized alteration of a user’s internet browser homepage settings. It typically occurs when a malicious software or browser add-on replaces the user’s default homepage with another website, often promoting spam or unsolicited advertisements. This action not only disrupts user experience but may also lead to security and privacy issues.

Phonetic

Homepage Hijacking: /ˈhoʊmˌpeɪdʒ ˈhaɪˌdʒækɪŋ/

Key Takeaways

  1. Homepage hijacking refers to the unauthorized alteration of a user’s browser homepage settings, typically redirecting them to undesired websites or showing intrusive advertisements.
  2. This malicious activity is often carried out through the installation of potentially unwanted programs (PUPs) or malware that exploit security vulnerabilities in a browser or operating system.
  3. Preventative measures against homepage hijacking include regularly updating software, avoiding untrustworthy downloads, and employing a reliable antivirus and anti-malware solution.

Importance

Homepage Hijacking is an important technology term as it refers to a malicious practice where unauthorized changes are made to a user’s browser settings, particularly altering their default homepage to a different website, often filled with ads, malware, or unwanted content.

This invasive technique impacts the user experience, as well as compromises their online security and privacy.

By understanding the concept of homepage hijacking, users can take appropriate steps to safeguard their devices or systems by employing security measures such as regularly updating software, implementing firewalls, using reliable antivirus programs, and exercising caution when clicking on any suspicious links.

Additionally, raising awareness about homepage hijacking can empower users to stay vigilant and maintain a secure browsing environment.

Explanation

Homepage hijacking is a malevolent practice that primarily aims to manipulate the user’s web browsing experience to gain unauthorized control over their homepage settings and redirect them to a specific webpage, typically filled with unwanted advertisements or malicious content. The purpose of this tactic is to drive traffic to predetermined sites, generating revenue for the people behind the hijacking scheme through increased ad exposure or phishing attempts.

Unscrupulous individuals or groups often use homepage hijacking to exploit naive or unsuspecting users, capitalizing on the opportunity to collect personal data or expose the victim to a barrage of unnecessary and intrusive promotions. The means through which homepage hijacking is employed can vary; however, this intrusive maneuver is most commonly achieved by executing malicious software in the background, which is often bundled with seemingly legitimate software installations or hidden in suspicious email attachments and fraudulent links.

The perpetrators prey on user trust and target a wide range of browser types, ultimately aiming to maximize their revenue and extend their reach. To guard against homepage hijacking, internet users should practice caution, vigilance, and skepticism while browsing and downloading content online.

Moreover, reputable anti-malware software is highly beneficial in detecting and neutralizing such threats, ensuring that the user’s browsing remains private, secure, and free from unwanted intrusions.

Examples of Homepage Hijacking

Homepage hijacking, also known as browser hijacking, is a form of unwanted software that modifies your web browser settings such as your default homepage, search engine, or error pages, usually without your permission. Here are three real-world examples of homepage hijacking:

CoolWebSearch: This variant of browser hijacking malware started appearing around

It was designed to redirect users to unwanted websites, particularly those containing adult content and pop-up ads. CoolWebSearch would change a user’s homepage and default search engine without their consent, generating revenue for its creators through advertising and click fraud.

Conduit Search: Conduit Search (also known as Search Protect) is another form of browser hijacker that gained prominence in the mid-2010s. It would change the user’s default search engine to Conduit Search, hijack the new tab setting, and display ads, sponsored links, and other promotional material on the search results page. It could also collect browsing data and send it to remote servers for targeted advertising. This malware typically entered users’ systems bundled with other software installations, and it often required a specific removal tool to eradicate it completely.

Babylon Toolbar: The Babylon Toolbar is a browser extension and toolbar that became notorious for its hijacking capabilities in the early 2010s. It would change users’ homepages, default search engines, and new tab settings to Babylon-related web pages. Additionally, it would display unwanted ads and sponsored search results. The toolbar was often bundled with other software installations and included options to disable these changes during installation, but many users inadvertently enabled the hijacking features. Removing Babylon Toolbar from the system usually requires a combination of uninstallation and browser settings restoration.

FAQ – Homepage Hijacking

1. What is Homepage Hijacking?

Homepage hijacking is the practice of taking control of a user’s web browser homepage settings without their permission. This is typically done by malicious software or browser extensions that aim to redirect users to a specific website or display unwanted ads for monetary gains.

2. How does Homepage Hijacking occur?

Homepage hijacking can occur when users unknowingly install malware, browser extensions, or download software from untrusted sources. Once installed, the hijacker modifies the browser settings to change the user’s homepage and may also alter search engine preferences or install additional toolbars.

3. How can I prevent Homepage Hijacking?

To prevent homepage hijacking, make sure to only download software from trusted sources, avoid clicking on suspicious links in emails or messages, keep your computer and browser software updated, and use reputable antivirus software. Additionally, be cautious when installing new browser extensions and carefully review the permissions they request.

4. How can I remove a Homepage Hijacker?

To remove a homepage hijacker, first identify the culprit by searching for any recently installed software or browser extensions that may be responsible. Uninstall or disable those programs/extensions, and if necessary, run a system scan with reputable antivirus software. After removing the hijacker, manually reset your browser’s homepage settings and search engine preferences to your desired options.

5. What are the consequences of Homepage Hijacking?

Homepage hijacking can lead to several consequences, including unwanted exposure to malicious websites, unauthorized collection of personal information, degraded browsing experience due to unwanted ads or redirects, and potential security risks as hijackers can serve as a gateway for other malware.

Related Technology Terms

“`html

  • Browser Hijacker
  • Malware
  • Adware
  • Unwanted Software
  • Browser Redirect

“`

Sources for More Information

Technology Glossary

Table of Contents

More Terms