Category: Browser

Beware Browser Hijacks

Most of you use the Google Chrome browser.  It is my browser of choice as well.  However, this message is still applicable if you use Firefox, Safari, or even Microsoft Edge.

The security threat I see most often these days is the browser hijack.  This does not mean your whole computer had been taken over by malware.  However, your browser has been corrupted.  Your homepage may be unfamiliar to you.  Google searches are being rerouted to a strange search engine.  Its even possible that all of your browser traffic is being intercepted.  Scary stuff!

You can tell if you are being hijacked by searching in the search box of your browser or going to  Search for whatever you’d like, “new restaurants Philadelphia” for example.  The results page should CLEARLY come up on a Google page (or possibly Bing if you use the Edge browser).  It should be obvious – clear as day.

If you do not see Google search results, you have a problem.  It’s likely that you have mistakenly installed a bad extension in your browser.   Most often, this is not a crisis requiring the operating system to be reinstalled.

However, your browser history needs to be cleared, the offending extensions need to be removed, and the browser needs to be reset.
Don’t lose hope!


When to update your browser

Most of you now know the importance of having multiple browsers on your computers (Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, Chrome for example)…..

If I have seen you in the past year or so, most of you have at least a second browser installed.

My Windows clients should all have Internet Explorer 8 (or 9 perhaps) and Safari 5 (if you have a Mac).

You likely know by now that my FAVORITE alternative browser is Firefox — and for many of you, I have set it as your primary browser.

Recently, Firefox has released TWO major updates — going from 3 to version 4 in April and 5 just 2 weeks ago.

Firefox is created with the help of thousands of developers worldwide and sponsored by the Mozilla Foundation.  In fact, Firefox is the primary browser on all 250,000 of IBM’s corporate workstations.    I often say — if its good enough for them…… (you finish the sentence)

Firefox’s updates get pushed through automatically — so if you get prompted to update to Firefox 5, you can do it.  Firefox 5 is not just an update for 4 — it is a replacement.   FYI, Firefox will be rolling out new versions every 6 weeks or so….. so if you get prompted for 6, 7, 8 by the end of year.  You have my blessing…..

**The only exceptions are — if you use VERY SPECIFIC websites — like for work or school that specifically tell you — you must be on a certain browser version….then hold off on the update.  For 95% of my clients, this is not an issue.

Windows 7 users — do not be so quick to update to Internet Explorer 9 (XP customers — this is not an option for you).  The website for my online banking claims an incompatibility with version 9 — so be careful.    General Windows updates = very good.   If you get prompted for Internet Explorer 9 — hold off if you can.

Firefox 3.6 resolution

What really happened with both of my computers and the new Firefox 3.6 is not the result of any interaction between the Java program and Firefox.

In fact, it was an add-on that was causing incompatibilities with Firefox.

Firefox is so widely admired because it can be customized with helpful add-ons to improve your browsing experience.  However, occasionally these add-ons need to be updated or removed.

You can view your Firefox add-ons by going to the tools menu, Add-ons, and then clicking Extensions.    It’s generally not good to touch the Java add-ons or the Microsoft .NET add-on.   Others you may or may not need; they may even be obsolete.

Firefox update – IGNORE

In addition to the procedure I mentioned in the previous post for uninstalling Firefox 3.6 and reinstalling the previous version, you should also uninstall and reinstall Java.

From the Windows Control Panel and Add Remove Programs (or Programs and Features) find Java __ Update ___.  Remove or uninstall it.

Then open your browser, either Firefox or Internet Explorer, and go to   Click the button that says FREE DOWNLOAD and follow the steps accordingly.  You can un-check the check box during the installation process when it asks if you want the Bing / Google / Yahoo toolbar.   You don’t need it.

IMPORTANT:  You only should consider going through these procedures if you are really having problem with the new version of Firefox — 3.6.    Feel free to contact me for personalized advice.