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What to Do If Your Browser Gets Hijacked

February 5th, 2014 by Jenna

Settings Problems with Google Chrome Browsers

Many San José State students, faculty and staff are using Google Chrome browsers for SJSU email and accessing the Internet. Chrome has recently alerted us to a problem with hijacked browser settings and what you can do if you experience problems with your settings.

How Your Browser Gets Hijacked

It can happen anytime you download using Google Chrome. It can happen when you’re trying to download a free screensaver or game or something else you really want. Then later you find out that your game came bundled with a malicious program that’s trying to hijack your browser settings.

How to Know if You’ve Been Hijacked

You may see your browser settings suddenly change and/or you may suddenly see additional toolbars and/or extensions you didn’t want.

What to Do if You Get Hijacked

You should always be in charge of your own Chrome settings. To help keep your browser settings under your control, we suggest you reset them to default settings:

  1. Navigate to Customize >> Settings
  2. Scroll down, and then click the Advance Settings link
  3. Scroll down, and then click the Reset Browser Settings button

This will disable any extensions, apps and themes you have installed. If you’d like to reactivate any of your extensions after the reset, you can find and re-enable them by looking in the Chrome menu under Tools > Extensions. Apps are automatically re-enabled the next time you use them.

What to Do if Your get a “Reset Altered Chrome Settings” Prompt

To make sure the reset option reaches everyone who might need it, Chrome will be prompting Windows users whose settings appear to have been changed if they’d like to restore their browser settings back to factory default. If you have been affected by settings hijacking and would like to restore your settings, just click the Reset button on the prompt when it appears.
Screenshot of Reset Altered Chrome Settings Prompt

How to Get Additional Help

Some hijackers are especially malicious and have left behind processes that are meant to undermine user control of settings, so you may find that you’re hijacked again after a short period of time. If that happens, you can find additional help uninstalling such programs in the Chrome help forum.

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