What causes an internet browser to redirect?
Your internet browser may redirect to unwanted legitimate (Google) and malicious (IASK123) websites for several reasons during internet searches and and prior to typing URLs into the browser’s address bar.
- Provided Search Engine Default Settings
- Browser Hijacker Infection (Malware)
- Voluntary DNS IP Address Change
- Involuntary DNS IP Adderss Change (DNS Changer Malware)
If your internet browser is redirecting, detect the issue using this online guide, and remove and/or repair the cause of your browser’s redirect. Click an option above to automatically scroll to detailed information and removal options.
Your internet browser provided search engine are set to Google by default therefore causing your browser to redirect to and start up on Google.com (etc). This is not dangerous, most internet browsers are set to Bing, Google, and browser manufacturer pages by default.
If your provided search engine has changed without consent to suspicious and/or unwanted websites you are most likely infected with malware, particularaliy a browser hijacker associated with adware and/or spyware.
Your internet browser has been affected by an internet browser Hijacker. Often Hijackers rely on cookie files, software installs, and browser helper objects such as add-ons, extensions, and Toolbars.
A browser hijacker can change two main internet settings:
- Home Page (Start up) – Altering home page settings, causing browser to direct to website upon start up
- Provided Search Engine (Internal Browser Search, Address bar) – Usual cause of internet browser redirection
How to remove browser hijackers
1. Window’s Uninstaller – Uninstall software affecting browser and system.
- Access Window’s Start Menu and open the Control Panel
- Click Uninstall a program or Add and remove programs (depending on Window’s version)
- In the list of installed programs search for a program which may be affecting your internet browser and double click the program to uninstall it.
2. Remove Browser Helper Objects – Remove add-ons, extensions, and toolbars altering browser.
- Google Chrome – Control icon (wrench, 3 bars) > Tools > Extensions
- Mozilla Firefox – Tools > Add-ons (Ctrl+Shift+A)
- Microsoft Internet Explorer – Tools > Manage add-ons > Toolbars and Extensions
3. Antivirus and Anti-Malware Software – Real-time protection and/or scan and remove malware.
4. System Restore – Restore computer to a date and time before infection.
In most cases you will be able to restore your computer to an automatic restore point created by Windows.
Once a restore is accomplished and your system has rebooted properly, proceed to repair browser settings.
How to repair browser settings
After removal is complete, proceed to repair Home Page and Provided Search Engine followed by deleting browser cache and cookie files.
1. Repair Home Page
- Google Chrome - Control icon (wrench, 3 bars) > Settings > Set pages
- Mozilla Firefox - Tools > Options > General (tab)
- Microsoft Internet Explorer - Tools > Internet Options > General (tab)
2. Repair Provided Search Engine
- Google Chrome - Control icon (wrench, 3 bars) > Settings > Manage Search Engines…
- Mozilla Firefox - Search box arrow > Manage Search Engines…
- Microsoft Internet Explorer - Tools > Manage add-ons > Toolbars and Extensions
Victims may have contracted an unwanted browser hijack voluntarily or involuntarily. Too often what may seem like legitimate websites use clever techniques and links in order to legally “hijack” a computer system and user. Most of these websites have a common theme of providing free internet search engines, free games, free videos, free Live Messenger tools (emoticons, scripts), free desktop widgets, and other free applications.
A website capable of altering browser settings may also provide links to download BHOs such as search Toolbars voluntarily. These toolbars may install third party applications, including malware, in turn causing an infection with a third party or sponsored client.
Another similar link technique may be the ever-so frowned upon text link stating along the lines of make this page your home page.
How do cyber criminals utilize browser hijackers?
- Collect, distribute, sell, and store user information, including system and internet activity for a customer user experience or malicious purpose.
- Create backdoors for associated and third party infections, including adware, ransomware, scareware, spyware, viruses, and Trojans.
Your DNS IP address has been voluntarily changed to protect your system against malware or troubleshoot external connectivity.
In a scenario where your system was introduced to DNS changer malware or an infection that may corrupt DNS IP address settings, you or a repair technician may have changed your DNS IP address to a secure set of DNS IPs therefore causing your browser to redirect to certain websites. These redirections often occur when your internet browser has accessed a potentially harmful websites.
Your DNS IP address has been involuntarily changed due to DNS Changer malware and other parasites. DNS Changer (DNSchanger) malware can be very severe and cause a system to lose internet and network connectivity as well as introduce the system owner, users, and system itself to a slue of issues concerning cyber criminal activities ranging from identity theft to complete control of a computer system.
DNS Changer malware may infect a system undetected, change DNS IP addresses, remain dormant, and collect personal information via keystrokes and backdoor access.