Applies to: Sophos Home Premium and Free (Mac/Windows)
What is a browser hijacker/redirector
Browser hijackers are usually installed by Potentially Unwanted Applications (PUAs ); they can also be found inside legitimate applications/websites. They typically change the default homepage and search engine of your web browsers, making it difficult to change them back. They may also include unwanted pop-ups and advertisements to show up in the browsers.
Sophos Home will block applications categorized as PUA by Sophos Labs, as well as malicious websites. However, Sophos Home cannot revert changes that have been made to the system by said PUAs.
if you believe that an application was not detected and needs to be re-categorized, please submit a sample to Sophos Labs so that they can review it: Sophos - Submit a sample
What to do
If your computer has been affected by a browser hijacker you may need to perform manual steps to revert any changes made to your browsers. This is what we recommend:
1 – Uninstall any strange/unknown programs from the computer (or anything that may have been installed right before the issue started).
2 –Reset all web browsers, remove strange/unknown extensions (or just reset them), and clean the cache. Ensure to manually remove undesired search engines from each affected browser. (For unlisted browsers, please perform an online search on how to reset them).
Clear Safari's browsing history | Change Safari's homepage | Turn off Safari extensions
Reset Chrome settings to default
2.a) The steps to reset browser and homepage may need to be performed in Safe Mode or using the Terminal if unable to perform the above listed.
[Resetting Chrome via Mac Terminal:
Ensure Google Chrome is closed. Then, enter each one of these commands in a terminal as an administrator:
defaults write com.google.Chrome HomepageIsNewTabPage -bool false
defaults write com.google.Chrome NewTabPageLocation -string "https://www.google.com/"
defaults write com.google.Chrome HomepageLocation -string "https://www.google.com/"
defaults delete com.google.Chrome DefaultSearchProviderSearchURL
defaults delete com.google.Chrome DefaultSearchProviderNewTabURL
defaults delete com.google.Chrome DefaultSearchProviderName
Restart and retest].
3- Search the following locations for unwanted/unknown applications and remove them
For Windows computers, search the Startup for any unknown/unwanted applications via Task Manager (or click on start--> type msconfig and access to the startup tab) and disable them.
4- After having removed all the related files and applications, and having reset the web-browsers, we recommend to run a FULL system scan with Sophos Home to ensure no threats are found.
Note- Mac only: Please see Apple recommended steps
Note 2 -Mac only: There is a third party tool called Knock-Knock that may help finding traces of the above mentioned. Here's the support video regarding how to download and use it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8hZPfuY4PaE&feature=youtu.be