What Happened To My Home Page?

If you have ever opened your browser, and found that the familiar home page (Google, Comcast, MSN, etc.) that is usually displayed has been changed, then it is likely that your home page was “hijacked.”  Usually your home page has been replaced by some questionable web site that provides links to software, service, websites, or products that you have no interest in.  You may also have difficulty navigating to your regular web sites, or to security sites for your anti-virus software, and end up redirected to sites of questionable value or safety.  Or you end up with a barrage of pop-up ads.  Or you start to see fake security alerts.

When thinks like this happens to you, some quick action on your part may be able to save a trip to your local computer support professional.  The first thing to do is to disconnect your computer from the Internet. On a desktop PC, this usually means unplugging the network cable.   On a laptop that is using WiFi, it may mean turning of the wireless switch on your laptop if it has one, or pulling the plug on your wireless access point.  Once you are disconnected from the Internet the hackers cannot send any more malicious tricks your way, and you may be able to remove the bogus software using your Internet Security program.

I recommend doing a full system scan with what products you have already installed, and continue to do so until your scans come up clean.  You might also try downloading Malwarebytes or PC Tools Spyware Doctor to a flash drive that is plugged into another unaffected PC, and then installing one or both of them on your infected machine and scanning until everything is gone again.

Then open your Control Panel, go to Internet Options, and select the Connections tab.  At the bottom of the window, click on the LAN Settings button, and make sure that neither of the Proxy Server check boxes are checked.  If they are, uncheck them.   Go back to the General tab, remove any home page selections that are wrong, and add back in the ones you want.

Then restart your PC, reconnect yourself to the Internet, and hopefully, the excitement is over.   Unfortunately, this does not work every time, and your computer may require a more comprehensive remediation effort.  But most of the time this will work for you.

Be careful out there!


About the Author:

I am a cybersecurity and IT instructor, cybersecurity analyst, pen-tester, trainer, and speaker. I am an owner of the WyzCo Group Inc. In addition to consulting on security products and services, I also conduct security audits, compliance audits, vulnerability assessments and penetration tests. I also teach Cybersecurity Awareness Training classes. I work as an information technology and cybersecurity instructor for several training and certification organizations. I have worked in corporate, military, government, and workforce development training environments I am a frequent speaker at professional conferences such as the Minnesota Bloggers Conference, Secure360 Security Conference in 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, the (ISC)2 World Congress 2016, and the ISSA International Conference 2017, and many local community organizations, including Chambers of Commerce, SCORE, and several school districts. I have been blogging on cybersecurity since 2006 at http://wyzguyscybersecurity.com

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