Topic Android Security

How to remove a browser hijacker from an Android phone

Imagine this scenario: you take out your phone to quickly search for something on Google but you see it’s not your usual browser anymore.  

 

Instead, your Android phone opens an unfamiliar home page, and random pop-up ads start jumping out at you like crazy.  

 

Sound familiar? If so, then chances are, you have a browser hijacker on your Android phone. This is an annoying and troublesome piece of malware you have to delete immediately.

 

Pro tip: If you want to protect yourself from browser hijacking once and for all, use Clario’s antivirus for Android. It offers real-time protection from suspicious files and pop-ups, a VPN, and 24/7 live support. Enjoy peaceful, pop-up and malware-free browsing with Clario in just three simple steps:

  1. Download Clario’s free trial and create an account
  2. Scroll down to Antivirus and tap Scan
  3. When the scan is over, just keep the automatic daily scan toggled on  

 

Now, let’s see what a browser hijacker is and the best ways to remove it.

What is browser hijacking?  

A browser hijacker is a type of malware that changes your web browser settings, takes control of your browsing experience, and shows you pop-ups you never ordered.  

 

With a hijacked mobile browser, cybercriminals can take you to suspicious websites or bombard you with tons of unsolicited ads. If left unchecked, browser hijacking can escalate from being irritating to dangerous very quickly. Once you unintentionally tap on one of those pesky ads, you risk downloading malware on your Android device, adding insult to injury or, should we say, ransomware to a hijacked browser.

Signs your mobile browser is infected

In most cases, users accidentally download hijacked browsers when they try to install add-ons or browser extensions. So don’t blame yourself. After all, cybercriminals are constantly coming up with new techniques to trick you into downloading browser hijackers and malware without even realizing it.

 

Here’s a list of things that can indicate mobile browser hijacking:  

  • Your homepage is different to what you had set up
  • You’re automatically redirected to other websites
  • You see too many irrelevant and shady pop-up ads
  • Your default search engine has changed
  • Your Android phone starts lagging in terms of performance and speed
  • You notice unwanted apps you never installed
  • You see unexplained increases in data usage

If you note any of these signs on your phone, it’s time to check it for malicious apps.  

How to get rid of browser hijackers on an Android phone

Deleting a hijacker might not be as easy as installing it. But don’t worry, we will guide you through the whole process.  

 

One thing to know about browser hijackers: they are always apps installed on your phone. To uninstall them:  

  1. Open the Settings menu or tap on the cog icon in the upper right corner of the notification bar.
  2. Scroll down to Apps or use the built-in search function to search for Apps.
  3. Check all your apps to locate the malicious one. How do you know it’s the one? Look out for anything you don’t remember downloading or that doesn’t look like a legitimate app. Lots of malicious apps hide behind photo and video editing, weather, or camera apps.
  4. Tap on the app you want to delete.Once the details open, tap Uninstall at the bottom.

That was the easy way. But some of the most vicious browser hijackers use phone administrator privileges and cannot be deleted quite as swiftly. To get rid of them, you need to:  

  1. Open the Settings menu or tap on the cog icon in the upper right corner of the notification bar.
  2. Go to Apps, tap on the kebab menu in the upper right corner, then tap on Special access. There, locate and tap on Device admin apps. Or you can simply use the built-in search function to find it.
  3. Once you see the list of apps with administrator privileges, tap on the app you think is malicious, then tap on the Deactivate button at the bottom.
  4. When admin privileges are deactivated, you should be able to delete the app as shown in the previous steps.

Once you remove the malicious app, check if your browser setting has returned to normal and if the pop-up ads are still there.  

 

If not, then congrats, you did it! But if yes, then repeat the process, looking for other malicious apps that might be causing the trouble.  

How to prevent browser hijacking  

There are several ways you can go. First and foremost, think twice before installing any new apps and extensions on your phone, especially if they come in bundles or are downloaded from somewhere questionable.  Do your research before downloading and check the download settings to avoid any unpleasant surprises.  

 

Also, make sure you update your device and  any downloaded apps in time. Browser hijackers take advantage of common software vulnerabilities and will keep doing so as long as there are people that don’t update the phone software. Don’t forget that these frequent updates aren’t made to annoy you; in fact they contain valuable security updates and patches that block browser hijackers.  

 

For greater peace of mind, you can install Clario for Android and never fret about your mobile browser being hijacked again. This will take care of your cybersecurity automatically and alert you if a malicious app is trying to sneak into your Android phone. And as for the ones that did, you can delete them via the Clario app.

 

Here’s how to use Clario’s antivirus for Android:
 

1. Install the Clario app on your smartphone, create an account, and start your free trial.

Install Clario for Android

2. Tap on Start scan to detect malicious apps or files.

Tap on Start scan

3. If malware is found, you can easily delete it by tapping Delete at the bottom.

Delete malicious apps

4. Before you finish, you can choose to turn on the automatic 24/7 scan for newly installed apps and files you download.

And no more accidentally downloaded browser hijackers for your Android phone.

 

* * *

 

Browsers don’t usually behave suspiciously (or even aggressively) without a reason.  

 

If your Android phone’s web browser starts showing you a new start page, an unknown search engine, or bombards you with pop-up-ads (often all at the same time), it’s time to check your apps for a hijacker.

 

But to avoid letting hijackers anywhere near your phone, go ahead and install Clario’s antivirus for Android. And if you’d like to learn more about Android security, we’ve got tons of tips on Clario’s blog. Stay safe out there!

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