Kinn Computers

Browser Hijackers

Have you seen too many "free pdf converters" on websites that have nothing to do with PDF files? Perhaps there were too many download buttons on a download page. I, and the team have. Chances are, those were browser hijackers. A lot of these ads are made by scammers and hackers known as "browser hijackers" who try to hijack your computer through your browser. We all often deal with fake ads like these on a daily basis, prompting us to click on them by having big flashy buttons or by mimicking brands and sites we trust. I've even began noticing them at the top of Google or YouTube searches, before I've even gotten to the actual search results.

Often this type of misdirection is also used in phishing attacks (reference our phishing article). Most of the time, they can be really annoying. But, sometimes, they can take you to fake websites where scammers lurk or even download dangerous viruses onto your computer! Yikes! If that sounds scary, that's because it is. But fear not, as there are things you can do to keep yourself safe online.

I and the rest of the team typically like to use a browser called "Brave Browser" (not sponsored), which has a built-in ad blocker. This can be useful for warding off pesky fake pop-ups and download buttons. If you wish to use brave browser, I've put a link at the bottom of this article. However, if you're more comfortable sticking to your current browser, I've put together several example images of ads to look out for. I typically see these ads on the download pages of video-game modification sites, but any website with a file download page could have them. It's especially important to watch out on Google and YouTube searches too, as hijackers can pay top dollar to have their ads placed at the top of a search. The examples will also be located at the bottom of the article.

If you want to block dangerous ads, you can download "Brave Browser" (not sponsored) which has built-in features like an ad blocker and privacy measures to keep you safe online.

Link for Brave:

Below are examples of misleading pdf ads and other fake pages as referenced above:

If you want to block dangerous ads online, you can download "Brave Browser" (not sponsored).