Topic Safe Browsing

How to remove browser hijacker on Mac in Chrome & Safari

If you suddenly notice unusual or unexpected activity while you’re on the internet, such as web pages taking an eternity to load, an abundance of pop-up ads, or searches going to the wrong websites, your browser might have been hijacked.

 

Whether you use Chrome, Safari, or another browser, you should ensure you have adequate protection in place against the threat of browser hijacking. Here, we will explain how to spot it, prevent it, and of course, remove the malware that causes it.

 

Pro tip: Better safe than sorry. To prevent your Mac from being infected by malware that may cause browser hijacking, use a robust antivirus solution like Clario. Apart from real-time anti-malware protection, it provides you with security and privacy features like an ad blocker, VPN, and a breach monitor to alert you if your sensitive data has leaked online. To give your Mac an additional level of protection against browsing hijacking:

  1. Download and install Clario’s free trial (no credit card details needed)
  2. Create your account
  3. Turn on Real-time antivirus protection

That’s it! Now read on to learn more about browser hijacking.  

 

What is browser hijacking?

Browser hijacking happens when malicious software (called hijackware) changes the settings of your internet browser without your permission. Hijackware can cause a lot of damage, like crashing your browser, holding your device hostage with ransomware, installing spyware, or replacing your homepage with a malicious website.

 

You can accidentally infect your computer with hijackware from an infected website,  file-sharing platform or by downloading freeware, a browser extension, or email attachment.

 

Right now, you’re probably wondering why anyone would want to hijack your browser. Well, hijackers want to make money from your data and online activities. And some hackers attack browsers just for the fun of it. It helps them elevate their status within the hacking community.

 

Don’t get rattled, though, because we’ll help you fend off these attackers. But first, you must learn to spot the hijacking signs.

Signs your browser has been hijacked

In general, you can easily spot if your browser has been hijacked. Here are some telltale signs to watch out for:

  • Your homepage looks different
  • Your passwords won’t work
  • You see new favorites or unknown sites in your bookmarks bar or bookmark manager
  • Your browsing sessions become too sluggish
  • Your browser settings change back after you’ve made your own modifications
  • Your mouse starts moving on its own
  • Unusual pop-ups suddenly appear, asking you to buy something or visit particular pages
  • Your internet searches get redirected to sites you didn’t intend to visit, and the results make no sense. This is called DNS redirection, and means a hacker has control of your browser and can send you to websites of their choice
  • You’re missing money in your online accounts. Hackers access private bank details and use them before you even realize you’ve been hijacked
  • You see your confidential information online. If your data turns up somewhere unexpected, you should immediately check to see if you’ve been hacked
  • You see scareware or ads saying your antivirus software is out of date and you need to purchase it again right away. In these cases, you’ll be redirected to a malicious website where hackers can access your credit card details
  • You fall victim to ransomware, and hijackers restrict access to your files unless you pay them money
  • New browser toolbars that you didn’t select start appearing in your browser

If you notice these signs but ignore them because you believe in the invincibility of Macs, we have some bad news. Although Macs are less vulnerable to malware than PCs, they’re still vulnerable, and browsers are frequently a point of entry for malware. We’ll show you how to get rid of browser hijackers on Chrome and Safari.

How to remove browser hijackers from Chrome

Do you see signs of infection in your Chrome browser? Then follow these quick and easy steps to remove browser hijackers:
 

1. Launch Chrome and type chrome://extensions in the address bar.

Locate extensions in Chrome

2. Look for any browser extensions you didn’t add.

The list of Chrome extensions

3. If you see an extension you don’t recognize, click Remove.

Remove strange extensions

4. Next, type chrome://settings in the address bar.

Locate Chrome settings

5. Click On startup.

Chrome setting On startup

6. Choose the page you’d like to see when launching the Chrome browser.

Choose the page you’d like to see when launching Chrome

You can add a specific site as your Chrome startup page.

Add a specific site as your Chrome startup page
Adding a specific site as your Chrome startup page

7. Go to the Search engine section.

The Search engine section in Chrome

8. Choose a default search engine.

Choose Chrome as the default search engine

Taking these steps will help keep your Chrome browser safe from hijackers!

How to remove browser hijackers on Mac Safari

Do you see signs of Safari browser hijacking? Here’s how to manually remove any hijackware:
 

1. From the Safari menu in the upper left corner of your screen, select Preferences.

Preferences in Safari

2. Go to the Extensions tab.

Extensions in Safari

3. Click Uninstall to remove any unknown extensions.

Uninstall extensions in Safari

4. Next, navigate to the General tab.

General tab in Safari

5. Add your preferred startup page to the Homepage field.

Add your preferred startup page to the Homepage field

6. Finally, go to the Search tab.

Search tab in Safari

7. Select your preferred search engine.  

Select your preferred search engine in Safari

Voila! Enjoy your hijacker-free Safari. Now, how can you keep the hijackers at bay?

How to prevent browser hijacking

There are lots of ways to protect yourself against browser hijacking. We list some top tips below:

  • Use Google Safe Browsing. This Google service lets you browse online in a safe mode and alerts you if you happen upon a malicious site or network. Google crosschecks a vast list of phishing and malicious sites to protect you.
  • Never click attachments from unknown senders. Just as you might be suspicious of a large, anonymous package in the mail, don’t open an email if you don’t know who it’s from.
  • Make sure you use the latest versions of your browsers and operating system (OS). Browser hijackers look for vulnerabilities in your browsers and OS. One purpose of updates is to fix vulnerabilities. By making sure browsers and OS are up-to-date, you prevent hijackers from exploiting these vulnerabilities.
  • Only download trusted software or attachments. Always take the time to read the small print.
  • Use an alternate DNS resolution provider to stop DNS hijackers from redirecting you to pages you don’t intend to visit.
  • Use a digital security system like Clario, which monitors your browsing in real-time to protect you before hijacking can occur.

It’s super easy to activate Clario’s real-time antivirus protection:


1. Install Clario and create an account

Create a Clario account

2. Run a quick malware scan

Scan your Mac for malware
Clario anti-malware scan

3. Toggle on Real-time antivirus

Give your Mac a real-time antivirus protection

That’s it! You’ve got Clario real-time antivirus working in the background to keep hijackers out. Wasn’t that easy?

 

***

 

Browser hijacking leaves you open to different forms of browser manipulation and fraud. It’s increasingly an online threat and, if left unchecked, can expose your confidential personal data and cost you money. But you can’t protect yourself against it. To protect your Chrome or Safari browser from hijackers, practice digital hygiene, like updating your browsers regularly. Or, leave security to Clario — we’re glad to do it for you.

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