Browser hijacking: Why it’s a serious problem and what your business can do about it

Browser hijacking: Why it’s a serious problem and what your business can do about it

Anyone who owns a business should be aware of browser hijacking and the serious risks it poses. Such an attack can lead to data loss, system crashes, and other security issues that can have far-reaching consequences. Let's take a closer look at what browser hijacking is, what signs to look out for, and what you can do to protect your business from this threat.

What is browser hijacking?

Browser hijacking occurs when a malicious program or piece of code takes control of a user's web browser and makes changes to it without the user’s knowledge or permission. This type of attack can be used to redirect a user to phishing websites, collect information about their browsing habits, or install malware on their computer. In some cases, browser hijacking can even enable bad actors to seize control of a user's system, locking them out and denying them access to their own data.

Hackers use a variety of techniques to hijack browsers, including exploiting security vulnerabilities in the browser itself or in the plugins and extensions that users have installed. They may also employ social engineering tactics to trick users into downloading malicious software or clicking on compromised links.

It's therefore crucial to ensure that your business's security measures are up to date and that your users are aware of the risks posed by browser hijacking and how to avoid it.

What are the signs of browser hijacking?

There are a few telltale signs that your business may be the victim of browser hijacking. These include:

  • Unexpected changes to web browser settings, such as a new home page or search engine
  • Unfamiliar toolbars and plugins appearing in the browser
  • Pop-ups and advertisements that won't go away
  • Slow internet speeds or connection problems
  • Unauthorized software downloads or installations

If you notice any of these changes, it's important to act quickly and take steps to secure your system.

For one, immediately quit any active instance of the affected browser and switch to an alternative. You should also run a full system scan with a reliable antivirus or anti-malware program to detect and remove any malicious programs that may have been installed onto your computer. Finally, if you logged in to any accounts or services while your browser was hijacked, make sure to change the passwords for those accounts.

Related reading: How to choose the safest web browser

What can you do to protect your business from browser hijacking?

The best thing you can do to protect your business from browser hijacking is to educate your users about the risks associated with it and how to spot the signs of an attack. This includes teaching them to only download software from trusted sources, to be wary of suspicious websites and emails, and to read the permissions they are asked to give before installing any browser plugins or extensions. Better yet, create a policy that prevents users from downloading or installing any software without prior authorization.

You should also regularly update your operating system and web browsers to ensure they are running the latest security patches. Additionally, consider using a web filtering solution or a secure web gateway to block access to known malicious websites and suspicious downloads.

Lastly, don't forget to back up your data on a regular basis. That way, if your business does become the target of a browser hijacking attack, you can still access your critical files and data, even if they were encrypted or otherwise compromised.

By following these best practices and staying vigilant, you can keep your business safe from browser hijacking and other cyberthreats.

Partnering with an experienced managed IT services provider like outsourceIT can also help you strengthen your security posture and keep your data safe. We offer a range of IT security services that can be tailored to meet the unique needs of your business. Reach out to us today to learn more.

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