Google Chrome is the most used browser on every platform, like Windows, Android, and Mac. It is equipped with many advanced features that set it apart from its competing browsers. Millions of users have trusted it for their safe and secure web browsing.
However, with such a vast user base, Chrome is the hotspot for the cybercriminals. Despite various efforts by Google to control the malware attacks on Chrome, it regularly gets attacked by multiple malicious programs which can make the browser less secure and slow.
One such malware is the Browser Redirect Virus or the Browser Hijacker. In this guide, we would discuss what a redirect virus is, what its symptoms are, how it enters your system, how to remove it from the Chrome browser, and how to avoid it.
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What is a Redirect Virus?
The redirect virus is the malicious program that hijacks your browser and then modifies its settings to change the default search engine, homepage, new tab redirect, and other settings. Its primary aim is to promote a fake search engine or an affiliated website like Belombrea to generate revenue through other-party search engines.
Since the most user does not intent to install it, the redirect virus is categorized into Potentially Unwanted Program (PUP).
The redirect virus can be very irritating for the user, as it continuously redirects the search query of the user to its fake search engine or the affiliated site which it is promoting. It completely worsens the browsing experience of the users.
Apart from changing the browser’s settings, these redirect viruses can be harmful in other ways too. Some advanced hijackers have the ability to track and record the browsing activities of the users. Like search history, key logs, saved passwords, IP addresses, and more.
Also Read: How to Enable Google Chrome Dark Mode
What are the Symptoms of a Redirect Virus?
Usually, when a system gets infected by a browser hijacker or a redirect virus user would observe an odd behavior in the browser. It shows the following symptoms:
- Your default search engine is changed to some random page automatically without your permission.
- The current search engine changes to a random fake one, which cannot generate the search results on its own.
- Every search query of yours is redirected to the random web pages.
- Even if you try to reset the settings multiple times, they automatically change back to the previous one.
If you find few or all of the above indications on your Chrome browser, then it is undoubtedly injected with a redirect browser.
Further, let us see how it got to enter your system.
How Redirect Virus entered your Browser?
Now you might be wondering how this redirect virus got an entry on your browser? Well, there are two main ways it can enter the system.
Many cybercriminals introduce the redirect virus through a software program. It may have come bundled with the software, and while installing that software program, you might have unknowingly installed the hijacker.
Other than that, while browsing the internet, you might have come across an intriguing pop-up, and you would have clicked it. This might have resulted in an unintentional installation of a malicious browser extension. It is another common method used by the cybercriminals to inject your browser with the redirect virus.
How to Remove Redirect Virus from the Chrome Browser?
Removing redirect virus from the Chrome browser is not that difficult. First, you have to search for the program on your system that is responsible for the entry of the hijacker. Then you just have to identify and delete the corrupt extension that is responsible for the redirections.
On Windows 10
For performing these steps, Windows 10 users don’t have to do much because Chrome comes with its own malware scanner tool that detects the potentially harmful program on your system and asks you to remove them after scanning.
By default, the Chrome malware scanner automatically checks for the infections. However, you can do that manually too.
- Open the Chrome browser.
- Click on the three dots at the top-right corner of the browser and then look for Settings.
- Scroll down to the bottom of the settings and click on Advanced.
- Again move at the bottom and find “Reset and clean up,” under which click on Clean up computer.
- Click on Find and uncheck the “Send details to Google….” checkbox below, if you don’t want to give the details to Google.
- Chrome would then start the scanning process and ask you to delete the malicious programs and files that it caught.
- After the whole process, restart your system. Your browser shall be free from any malware program.
On Mac OS
Unfortunately, like the Windows users, Mac users do not have the privilege to delete the malicious programs and extensions directly from Chrome as Mac version of Chrome does not come with an in-built malware scanner. So, you have to search and remove the suspicious program manually from your Mac system.
- Open Finder on your Mac system.
- Look for the Applications on the left side and click on it.
- Now look for the programs that you find suspicious and unrecognizable.
- Right-click on that program and select Move to Trash.
- Following this method, remove all the malicious programs.
- After removing all the unrecognized programs, on the bottom, right-click on the
- Click on Empty Trash.
Your Mac system should have got rid of the redirect virus.
Like the Mac system, even the Android variant of Chrome does not come with an in-built malware detector. However, the following steps would help you to remove the redirect virus from Android devices:
- Press and hold the power button on your Android phone or tablet.
- Touch and hold the power button on your screen. It would restart your device in the Safe Mode.
- Start removing the recently installed application and also take note of the apps that you are removing so that if they are not malicious, you can install them later.
- After every removal, restart your device in normal mode and check if the redirect problem is fixed or not. Repeat this till the culprit application is caught.
- Once the malicious app is caught, you can install the remaining apps that are safe.
How to Avoid the Redirect Virus?
In the previous section, we have discussed how to get rid of the redirect virus or the browser hijackers across various platforms. However, you should be informed and smart enough not to face such a situation. For that, keep the following points in mind:
- Keep your system secure with a good anti-malware, so that your system would be safe while encountering with a malware.
- Always download the software from trusted or official sites.
- While installing a software program, always choose the custom installation. Also, be very attentive and uncheck the bundled software that you do not want on your system.
- Do not get tricked by the tempting pop-ups and click on them. The cybercriminals most probably plant them to inject the redirect virus or other malware program.