Browser-based hijacks are today’s most common way in which a hacker gains control of your system. Browser-based hijacks involve a website using malicious code to force your computer to download dangerous files or install a bad script.
Today, Windows PCs are particularly susceptible to browser-based hijacks because, well, the majority of browser-based hijacks are designed to catch Windows PC users.
Fortunately, Windows PC users aren’t defenseless in this struggle against malware. Here are some tips and tricks you can use to defeat the scourge of browser-based hijacks:
1) Avoid plugin vulnerabilities
Plugins tend to be the first way in which a third party seeks to take control of your PC. Plugins are notoriously weak, and unfortunately for Microsoft, they have nothing to do with the way Windows is built. Instead, the vulnerabilities are created by lazy software developers who struggle to design bulletproof software. Nevertheless, their work reflects badly on Microsoft.
By default, popular browsers like Mozilla Firefox and Internet Explorer use plenty of different plugins to decipher the content they find on the internet. These plugins include popular tools like Java and Flash.
To reduce vulnerabilities in these plugins, there are two things you can do:
-Keep all your plugins up-to-date (not an easy task)
-Delete all plugins you don’t absolutely need
-Force Firefox to manually ask whenever you want to run a plugin, or disable Java entirely. Read this guide at PCMag.com to find out how to do both
2) Avoid being tricked into downloading unwanted software
Some websites exploit vulnerabilities in plugins, but others trick users into downloading the software through their own volition. To avoid being tricked into shooting your own foot, follow these tips:
-Avoid going to shady software websites
-Run an antivirus scanner at all times
-Be on high alert whenever you’re on a suspicious-looking website (i.e. don’t automatically click ‘Yes’ whenever a prompt pops up)
-Don’t download an application just because a website tells you to. One of the latest scams involves a suspicious website showing users a blank black box where an image or video is supposed to be. After a few minutes of staying blank, that box will pop up with a message saying “plugin required to view content, click here to download software now” or something along those lines. This is a clever trick to get you to download a program that you don’t actually need.
3) Run antivirus software when browsing the internet
Most of today’s antivirus software actively scans webpages as you browse and intercepts any threats before they occur. This isn’t a perfect way to avoid all browser-based hijacks, but it will deflect many of the attacks.
4) More helpful tips
-Don’t download toolbars
-If you see something that’s too good to be true on the internet, then it’s probably a scam
-Run PC Cleaner Pro regularly on your PC
-Use safe, modern browsers like Chrome, Firefox, Opera, or Safari (Internet Explorer tends to fail most antivirus and anti-malware tests)
-Update your browsers, antivirus software, and all other major software programs on your PC on a regular basis