What is Proxy Hacking?

Proxy hacking or proxy hijacking is a technique of cloning or copying a site or a web page using proxy servers and use the resulting site or page for various hacking purpouses.

What is a browser hijacker?

Browser hijackers are also known as hijackware. These malware programs alter computers’ browser settings, redirecting it to Web sites that the user had no intention of visiting. While some browser hijackings can be removed easily, other variants are notoriously difficult to get rid of. Most hijackware change the default home page and search engine to that of their customers. Customers pay for the service as it generates lots of traffic.

More infectious browser hijackers:

  • Redirect a user to porn sites when they type in a URL without preceding it with www or mistype a URL.
  • Generate porn pop-up windows faster than what they can be closed.
  • Add bookmarks for porn web sites to the browser.

Browser hijackers work the same as spyware and adware in that it is often installed together with freeware. They are also installed without the user’s permission via a drive-by download, a file share, or an infected e-mail.

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What is proxy hacking or a proxy hijacker?

Proxy hacking, aka proxy hijacking, is designed to replace authentic Web pages and redirect the input and output to and from the original page.

The term of proxy hacking was initially been introduced as an SEO method of ranking pages by duplicating original pages using proxies. The hackers tried to achieve advantages over competitors or to redirect a user to a fraudulent or malicious website.

Attackers created copies of targeted web pages on proxy servers and use techniques like linking to the copied page from external sites and keyword stuffing to artificially raise the search engine ranking of those pages. The original pages then ranked lower and even been viewed as duplicated content and are removed from a search engine’s index. This method of page ranking is no longer used as Google got smarter in identifying these types of scams.

However, proxy hacking is used nowadays as part of adware and spyware distribution techniques.

A copy of a search engine page can be easily implemented and by browser hijacking be distributed to random users. Further, users get the search results from the search engine, but they also may be misled with false advertising, adware/spyware downloads, and other types of frauds. Take for example, weknow.ac, a “search engine” that is known as a browser hijacker and proxy hacking page. You may find more about it and how to remove it here.

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How do browsers get infected?

Numerous means are used to infect computers with browser hijackers. These include via freeware and shareware, and though advertisement support apps that are installed via web browser toolbars or add-ons. Infections by spyware and adware, and exploitation of various browser vulnerabilities also lead to browser hijackers.

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How to remove browser hijackers

Without specific names or descriptions it’s not possible to give accurate and thorough solutions. The general instructions below should however provide some help in removing browser hijackers.

  1. Remove any browser extensions and add-ons you don’t recognize.
  2. Check installed programs and remove anything suspicious that was installed recently.
  3. Install antivirus software and do a quick scan. 
  4. Installing and scanning anti-adware applications will remove most adware.

These steps should remove malware in most cases. If it didn’t, restarting Windows in “Safe mode with networking” and following the steps again might do the trick.

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How to be safe against hackers

There are a number of things you should do regularly to protect yourself against hackers.

  1. Update software, including the OS, regularly. This will prevent hackers from using the computer’s vulnerabilities in outdated programs (which can be exploited by malware). 
  2. Download and keep security programs updated, including anti-malware software that can protect against exploits, ransomware, and spyware, as well as a firewall. 
  3. Never use open Wi-Fi on your router as this will make it easy to use the connection and download illegal files. Always protect Wi-Fi with encrypted passwords, and refresh your equipment every few years.
  4. Use different, strong passwords on all your devices, especially on mobile devices. Lock your phone and use short timeouts. Also use the security features provided with mobile devices like fingerprint locks and passkeys or swipes. 
  5. For extra protection against hackers, use two-step authentication where possible. Two-factor authentication will make hijacking an account that much more difficult.
  6. Use creative answers for security questions. People might be able to determine what your mother’s maiden name was or where you graduated from high school by searching with Google or looking at social media. 
  7. Be smart when using email. Although phishing campaigns are still used, cybercriminals have become smarter than that. Hover over links in an email to see the actual URL. Check to see if an email is really from the company or person that claims to have sent it. Look for awkward formatting and sentence construction. If you are at all unsure, search for the subject line. Others that may have been scammed might have posted about it online.
  8. Websites sometimes require that you sign in with another service to use features or post comments. Make sure the login isn’t a sneaky phish.
  9. Never put sensitive data on the cloud. Data stored on the cloud has always moved out of your direct control. Very few cloud storage solutions offer encryption for ‘data at rest.’ 
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Conclusion

Although browser hijacking is not necessarily harmful, it is very annoying and can cause endless frustration as it will interfere with your internet browsing. However, in conjunction with proxy hacking may lead to adware and spyware installation and get your device infected with dangerous applications.

Preventing and removing browser hijacking is relatively straightforward, providing you use common sense and keep your protection updated regularly.