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Tuesday, 04 September 2018 00:51 Written by
Published in Cyber Security

How to handle browser hijacking

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We have all been there, safely browsing the web when all of a sudden the speakers starts yelling that "Your system is infected!" or an annoying webpage or pop up that just won't let you navigate away. You begin to freak out, your coworkers are looking over your shoulder, you feel as if you have infected your entire home or business network, doomsday is here. Do these pop-ups really mean your computer has become infected?

Maybe not just yet. Sometimes these ads look legitimate, scaring you into believing that Microsoft is monitoring your computer and has detected a virus, requesting that you call now to have it cleaned by IT professionals. Crooks apply social engineering principals into persuading you to click on the pop-up – in this case, your computer will be messed up, because clicking on the malicious ad could lead to what is called a browser hijacking: your system will be infected, contrary to the what the pop-up message claimed.

So how do we stop the malicious pop-ups that just won't go away?

Ctrl+Alt+Delete Method

  • Hold down Ctrl+Alt+Delete in that order until you’re holding down all three at once.
  • This will bring up a Windows screen with a couple of options.
  • Click on Task Manager link
  • When Task Manager appears, go to Processes.
  • From here, click the Processes tab and look for the active browser you are experiencing the alarming pop-up in, like Internet Explorer or Chrome. Right-click on that process and click End Task.
  • The system will try to end the browser session – when asked to end task, choose “End Task” each time the message appears (You may need to repeat this process until it physically ends). Make sure when restarting the browser, choose NOT to restore your pages or tabs to avoid the pop-up being introduced again – and stay away from the page that gave you this trouble in the first place.

Cold Restart Method

This method is easier, but it is recommended as a last resort.

  • Hold down the power button on your computer for several seconds until it turns off (and not just goes to the sleep mode.) This will force your computer to shut down and stop whatever might have been happening.
  • Press the power button again to turning your computer back on again.
  • When prompted, select “Start Up Windows Normally.”
  • Important: depending on your individual settings, the browser may display a message asking if you want to return to your previous session – choose “No”. You will lose tabs or browser windows that you had open prior to restart.
  • Do not return to the previously opened web pages to avoid malicious pop-up to be reintroduced.

Now if you did happen to click on that pop-up link, or if  you called the number that was claiming to be Microsoft. If an someone gained remote access to your computer then now is the time to run a full virus scan on your computer. If things are just not working right then we recommend you have an IT professional analyze your computer and make sure it is not compromised. 

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