Hijack Trojans, also known as browser hijackers, hijackware and Internet redirect viruses, are malicious programs that install themselves onto your computer without your consent and immediately take control of your Internet browser. Hijack Trojans provide no uninstall features and generally hide files from users in an attempt to avoid removal.
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Hijack Trojans change your Internet home page and redirect your searches to various -- and often malicious -- websites. Additionally, hijack Trojans may install Internet toolbars, prevent you from accessing common Internet security websites and launch unsolicited pop-up advertisements. Hijack Trojans may also slow your computer considerably, track your online activities and add unfamiliar icons to your desktop.
You can remove hijack Trojans automatically by running a system scan using an up-to-date anti-malware program. There are several free anti-malware programs available online, including Avast! Free Antivirus, AVG Free Antivirus and Microsoft Security Essentials. Because hijack Trojans may disable your anti-malware programs and prevent you from accessing Internet security websites, you should load Windows in Safe Mode before attempting to download or run an anti-malware program. To do this, restart your computer and press F8 repeatedly until the "Advanced Boot Options" menu appears. Use the arrow keys to select "Safe Mode With Networking" from the list of "Advanced Boot Options," then press "Enter." Once you've run a scan in Safe Mode, load the Windows operating system normally and run another scan.
You may be able to remove a hijack Trojan manually by deleting the processes, files, dynamic link libraries (DLLs) and registry entries it installed. Manual removal, however, is a technical process that, if done incorrectly, can lead to significant issues, including system-wide failure. Files installed by a hijack Trojan often consist of random letters and numbers; unless you know the specific names of these files, you won't know which ones are safe to delete.
To avoid becoming infected with hijack Trojans, make sure you are running an anti-malware program with "real-time protection" at all times. Real-time protection refers to an anti-malware program's ability to monitor incoming data in real time so that it can block any malicious data before it infects your computer. In addition, turn on the Windows Firewall. To do this, click "Start," type "Windows Firewall" into the search field and press "Enter." Click "Turn Windows Firewall On or Off," select "Turn Windows Firewall On" and click "OK." Finally, use common sense when browsing the Web. For example, avoid clicking pop-up advertisements and links offering deals that seem too good to be true.
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