Three Ways to Prevent Browser Hijacking


Three Ways to Prevent Browser Hijacking

A browser hijacking is the practice of taking advantage of vulnerabilities in the browser (or the user) to compromise the user’s computer in a manner that would serve the interests of the hijacker. Often, a browser hijack can make your browser start up on a page other than the homepage you have designated. Sometimes it silently watches you while you work and steals passwords or other data. There are a few ways a hijacker can actually compromise your browser, and we will detail each of them as well as discuss how to prevent them from happening.

Note: This article is specifically targeted at Windows computer, but the security issues could happen to any OS as well.

1. Vulnerabilities in Plugins

Your browser, even “out of the box,” uses a number of plugins to add extra rendering capabilities on websites you visit. In Firefox, you can view these plugins in the Tools -> Add-ons -> Plugins” section. These plugins are generally fine, but some of them are poorly coded and open holes in your browser’s security that it has not anticipated. The Java plugin is a perfect example of a vulnerable module. Java’s interpreter itself is prone to very nasty vulnerabilities that allow hackers to infiltrate your computer and post updates on social media sites on your behalf.

How to protect yourself:

There are two things you can do: keep all your plugins up to date and delete any plugins you don’t absolutely need. I need not mention how difficult it is to keep 100 plugins up to date. It’s better to look after five or ten of them. This applies to the addons and extensions as well. (Note that in Firefox, plugins and addons are not referring to the same thing)

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