Hijacked!

A very frustrating thing that can and does happen to unsuspecting web surfers is to have their Home Page changed to something they don't want. This is called hijacking, simply because that is what happens.

This can happen several ways. Maybe a interesting download caught the surfer's eye, and the install EULA said that by installing this program you agree to have your home page changed to scummy (or something like that). But the user didn't read it or if he did, it was in legalese language the user didn't understand. Most people don't read EULAS (End User License Agreement, often referred to as the "software license"). They should, as what could be contained in this agreement could be tantamount to letting the company have total control over the user's computer. An example of this can be found by reading about EULAs on this page. Sometimes just by going to a site constructed with malware code can cause the user's home page to be changed.

Another way the home page gets changed is by not reading carefully when installing some freeware programs. Read about Sneaky Installs.

However it happens, the user wants it gone! The hijacked page could be porn! Casino Gambling or whatever it is, it is very frustrating. The user changes his home page back to what he wants, but the next time he opens his browser, the awful hijacker is back. Sometimes the option to change the homepage is not available, depending on the programming skills of the hijack writer.

Another evil hijacker takes over the user's favorite Search. Not only the favorite search, but every legitimate search! And by the time the user finds this out, the intended search page has probably been taken down by the scumbags ISP, so all that comes up is 'Page cannot be displayed'.

As each of these hijackers become more and more sophisticated and complex, it becomes more and more likely that we will have to invest in more and more (expensive) programs that can remove the ugly code. It is absolutely imperative that we keep our arsenal of spyware removers updated as often as we update our virus scanners.

There is a new and insidious practice of the bad guys to prevent users from accessing known sites that offer programs for stopping and removing spyware. Many of these sites have been under DOS attacks and have been forced to move or have just been taken down.

It would be a very prudent move to download and install (and keep updated) these programs!

CoolWWWSearch.SmartKiller (v1 and v2) is a new, real ugly variant of CoolWWWSearch. When running, it will close every browser window you use to visit a large list of anti-spyware-sites, and even will close Spybot-S&D and some other anti-spyware applications as well.

So if your copy of Spybot-S&D (or the anti-spyware application of your choice) closes a few seconds after starting, or your browser closes whenever you try to visit an anti-spyware site, try this CWS.SmartKiller removal utility. Simply unzip and run!

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