Tech Tip: Battling Adware That Redirects Your Browser


TECH TIP

If your browser is suddenly full of pop-up ads or taking you to sites you didn’t request, you probably have a malware infection.

Q. I keep getting pop-ups in my browser search bar and sent to a site I’ve never heard of. What is this, a scam?

A. If you are experiencing constant pop-up ads, trips to websites you didn’t intend to visit, a frequently changing home page, ads trying to sell you obscure security software or other odd browser behavior, your computer is probably infected with an aggressive adware program. These types of invasive programs — which can affect Macs along with PCs — often redirect your browser to certain pages so those sites can get revenue by showing advertisements to (unwilling) visitors.

The adware program may have been bundled with other software you installed on the computer, like a “free” tool bar extension or game. Visiting a web page rigged with malicious code can also infect a computer.

Using a malware-scanning app to locate and remove the adware hiding on your computer is probably the easiest way to get rid of the unwanted software. Wirecutter, a product review site owned by The New York Times, recommends the Malwarebytes program for both Windows and Mac computers; a free trial is available. HitmanPro is another anti-malware program for Windows that offers a free trial.

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Restoring your browser’s settings back to the default state can often flush out unwanted extensions that cause the program to behave erratically.CreditThe New York Times

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