Browser Spyware Symptoms & Unexplained PC Behavior
Spyware can cause some unexplained PC behavior, especially for your browser. So if things are happening that you did not initiate, you may be a victim. Some common browser spyware behaviors include:
- Mysterious new toolbars you can’t delete
- Unexplained changes to homepage settings
- Suspicious search results
A browser hijacker is a type of spyware that changes your browser settings so that when you open the Internet you’re redirected to a webpage other than your typical homepage. Spyware villains typically profit from infecting machines with this browser spyware because they direct significant traffic to a specific website and then are paid by the amount of people that visit the website and/or advertisement. In short, hijacked search results equal more money for them. Aside from the annoyance of being redirected and making the bad guy money, hijackers can install dangerous browser spyware that can cause irreparable damage to your files and programs as well as jeopardize your personal information and identity.
Here’s how they do it:
Spyware invades your computer.
You visit a Web site, open an email message or download a picture. You click on a rogue antispyware-pop-up with the message “WARNING! Your computer is infected with spyware!” Somewhere in your normal online computing activities, spyware silently loads itself onto your computer. Once on your PC, it sets up shop by installing itself in many places. This makes it difficult to remove and can lead to disruption of all the files and programs to which it has attached itself. Browser spyware programs continuously reset your homepage so they are easily recognized, but other forms of spyware can run completely undetected by the user.
Your PC and online communications are compromised.
A spyware-infected PC can significantly disrupt your system’s performance, slowing your PC to a crawl and causing frequent computer crashes. Without your knowledge or permission, it now has the ability to:
- Collect your personal information, which can lead to credit card fraud and identity theft
- Redirect your browser keyword and keywords causing hijacked search results
- Bombard you with unwanted, often illicit pop-ups
- Add, change and delete files and programs
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Prevent hijacked search results and other unexplained PC behavior.
Here are a few simple things you can do to prevent further browser spyware symptoms and reclaim your homepage:
- Update your operating system regularly
- Avoid questionable Web sites
- Practice safe email protocol:
- Don’t open messages from unknown senders
- Immediately delete messages you suspect to be spam
- Only download software from sites you trust. Carefully evaluate free software and file-sharing applications before downloading them.
Make sure that you have the best security software products installed on your PC:
The best way to keep your PC running normally is to prevent browser spyware infection in the first place. Products like Webroot Internet Security Plus and Webroot Antivirus guard against spyware entering your computer and prevent it from slowing your PC through damage to your files and programs. A good antispyware program searches every place on your PC where spyware can hide and removes every trace to boost your PC performance. While free antispyware downloads are available, they just can’t keep up with the continuous onslaught of new spyware strains. Previously undetected forms of spyware can often do the most damage to your PC, so it’s critical to have up-to-the-minute, guaranteed protection.