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Hijacked Browsers

valart
Grafter
Posts: 418
Thanks: 1
Registered: 09-10-2007

Hijacked Browsers

Many years ago when I first used broadband my browser was hijacked and it was costly at the time I had dialup then I used to buy a card with a password which allowed me a months broadband,I managed to get rid of the virus and I contacted BT and they put a block on these type of telephone numbers I just wondered if PN had anything in place and does this hijack browser still excist.
13 REPLIES
Community Veteran
Posts: 3,380
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Registered: 18-01-2013

Re: Hijacked Browsers

I've not seen a computer with a fax modem built in for many years now - if you don't have one connected to your line, there is no way your computer can make the premium rate calls.
Superuser
Superuser
Posts: 9,515
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Registered: 06-04-2007

Re: Hijacked Browsers

As you say at that time you were using dial-up (narrowband) and the 'hi-jack' would have been to cause an expensive number to be called with your traffic monitored and potentially interfered with.
You are now using broadband which is an always-on service (with your phone usable alongside internet usage). So the same connection hi-jacking technique doesn't apply. Sadly that doesn't make exploits a thing of the past, and appropriate protection is still needed. In fact the higher speeds of current connections can make protection even more essential. These are firewalls, anti-virus and anti-malware.
Windows now comes with a built-in firewall, but there are both free and paid-for alternatives available on the Internet. There are also free and paid for anti-virus and anti-malware applications available. I hope you already have suitable protection.
A discussion of alternatives is beyond the scope of your original question - not my preference but Plusnet offer Plusnet Protect powered by McAfee - free or £2 per month depending on broadband product.
David
valart
Grafter
Posts: 418
Thanks: 1
Registered: 09-10-2007

Re: Hijacked Browsers

I have Malawarebytes and Microsoft Security Essentals which are both free would I get better protectection if I paid for it
Community Veteran
Posts: 3,380
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Registered: 18-01-2013

Re: Hijacked Browsers

Those should cover you pretty adequately - you can pay more and maybe get slightly better detection rates but I've never had a problem with MSE / Malwarebytes personally.
Superuser
Superuser
Posts: 9,515
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Registered: 06-04-2007

Re: Hijacked Browsers

I use both of those on my laptop, Malwarebytes with Avast free anti-virus on my desktop and a different free security package on android devices.
Paying for the pro versions generally provides additional features, which might expand the scope of protection but not per se improve it,  but as will be apparent I don't currently choose those. None of the options (free or pro) absolve the user from taking care.
David
Community Veteran
Posts: 4,846
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Registered: 14-07-2009

Re: Hijacked Browsers

It was not your browser that was hijacked all those years ago, it was your internet connection.
The modern equivalent is a virus that redirects all your internet traffic via a proxy server.  The proxy can take you where it likes so you could enter www.bbc.co.uk and the proxy might take you to www.itv.co.uk. ; Or you enter the URL of your bank and the proxy takes you to a site that will mimic your bank and attempt to steal your password.  Since you could legitimately want to use a proxy server, it is quite difficult for security software to deal with this threat.  Even if the 'virus' is removed, the corrupt settings can remain.   
Community Veteran
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Registered: 02-08-2007

Re: Hijacked Browsers

Am I correct in assuming that if you were using Linux this type of thing could not happen to you ?
Community Veteran
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Registered: 10-06-2010

Re: Hijacked Browsers

No, it would be possible to trick you into installing a browser add-on or downloading and running something, that could mess with your web browser and other settings, even on Linux. It may be less likely to happen on Linux, but this could largely be due to far fewer people using Linux, so it is not really targeted as it's not worth the effort of the people creating the malware.
VileReynard
Seasoned Pro
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Registered: 01-09-2007

Re: Hijacked Browsers

In Linux you would have to download a program and execute it on your machine.
You would need to take positive action to do this.
Never run a program from an untrusted source.  Cheesy

Community Veteran
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Registered: 10-06-2010

Re: Hijacked Browsers

Not if there were some flaw in e.g. your web browser or one of its plugin-ins that allowed "remote code execution". Or would you care to explain how Linux makes that impossible?
VileReynard
Seasoned Pro
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Registered: 01-09-2007

Re: Hijacked Browsers

Since programs execute under user level permissions, the worst situation would (conceivably) corrupt your user files.
But you have backups.  Grin
You basically do not have any authority to cause corruption to any system files.

Community Veteran
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Registered: 10-06-2010

Re: Hijacked Browsers

Which is more important, a load of operating system and program files that you could re-install in a few minutes, or all your personal documents and settings, including the browser settings in the original question? And you could do all sorts of bad things just by running or changing things as the user could.
And you don't have to run everything with administrative priviledges in Windows either.
And of course there could be some flaw or misconfiguration (in any operating system) allowing a program to gain priviledges to change system files.
VileReynard
Seasoned Pro
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Re: Hijacked Browsers

Quote from: ejs
And you don't have to run everything with administrative priviledges in Windows either.

But most people do.  Grin