Think you have an infected browser? Here’s what you should do.
An infected browser can be potentially damaging to your computer’s system, and can bring about a lot inconvenience.
Have you noticed any changes on your browser? Did you consciously change anything on it? Was your default search engine changed to something you don’t recognize? Has the homepage of your browser changed? Has your Windows system slowed down noticeably?
If you answered ‘yes’ to most of the questions above, then there’s no doubt about it — you have an infected browser.
This scenario is something all too common especially to old Windows users. Infected browsers are usually due to malwares and spywares that are often ‘hidden’ in applications that users download.
These applications are either ones that look like they’re legitimate, or ones that don’t look legitimate at all. The download of the latter ones are usually declined by users, but malwares like these were intended to be tricky — often luring users to download them even if they don’t intend to.
Regardless of how these malwares were able to penetrate your system, you can still get rid of them the safe way — without having to lose any of your precious pictures and videos, and without having to delete any of the important files on your computer.
Here’s what you can do to disinfect an infected browser:
Ctrl + Alt+ Del
There’s nothing like the good old Control + Alt + Delete trick. If you find your browser in limbo soon after you’ve launched it, or if your browser suddenly acts like its possessed — continuously opening tabs in random — just keep your calm and press Ctrl + Alt + Del on your keyboard.
This should bring up a window. Click on the tab that says ‘Processes’. Look for your browser under this tab. Whether you’re using Microsoft Edge, Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, or Safari — you should be able to identify your browser just fine under this tab.
If you’re using an older version of Windows, then you should find Internet Explorer in the choices. If all else fails, just check the icons. You should be able to identify the browser that you’re using through its icon. Then, click on ‘End Process’. If you have more than one browser running, make sure to do the same for each of them.
This should stop your browser from doing weird things.
After successfully stopping your browser from doing weird things, the next thing you’ll want to do is to prevent it from doing weird things ever again. To achieve this, you have several options.
Remove the program
If, by any chance, you happen to know the exact name of the culprit — the program responsible for these unwanted changes in your system — you can simply launch Windows’s Control Panel, select the part that says ‘Add/Remove Programs’.
If you see the program in the list, try to uninstall it.
If that doesn’t work, try this next one.
System Restore is a brilliant Windows feature that technically lets you go back in time and pretend like nothing’s ever happened.
In most cases, Windows automatically saves a ‘restore point’ for you to run back to, in case something bad happens when you install something new.
It will be helpful if you have an idea of when exactly it was that this unwanted program was able to penetrate your system, so you’ll know which restore point is best to go back to.
In case you don’t, however, try to make a good estimate and check on the best possible restore point before that estimated date. You wouldn’t want to go way too far back, as this might cause some of your newer applications to disappear.
Note, however, that this will not delete any of your precious files. So restore away with confidence.
If none of the options mentioned above have worked, you still have one option left.
If the malware in your system could not be uninstalled, and a system restore can not do the trick — you can download a software from Microsoft called the Malicious Software Removal Tool.
This tool will scan your system for the malware and forcibly remove it for you. You can also use similar tools from other reputable developers, such as the Kaspersky Virus Removal Tool and the Norton Power Eraser.
After successfully removing the malware from your system, you will have to reset the settings on your browser to keep malwares like this away.
If you’re using Google Chrome, go to ‘Settings’, and select the part that says ‘Extensions’. Under ‘Extensions’, select those that are unknown and then click on the icon that looks like a trash bin.
For Firefox users: simply click on the menu icon, and then click on the part that says ‘Add-ons’. Click on the ‘Extensions’ option, and again, delete those that are unknown.
It is best to stay vigilant and stay away from suspicious sites. Do not download anything from unknown or unverified sources under any circumstances.
Did this article help you solve your infected browser problem? Don’t forget to hit ‘share’! 🙂