Is this a browser hijacking? If so, how do I fix it?
November 6, 2019 5:25 AM   Subscribe

No, with no Rhyme or Reason, when I click on a link in Google, a new tab opens trying to sell me something related to the link that I clicked on.

I can't find any pattern to it, and I can't recreate it to figure out what exactly I'm doing. The normal action when I click on a link in Google is that it opens in the same tab. However, when I click on the link in Google and it takes me to a sales page for something related, it opens in a new tab. I don't know if that makes any difference.

Possibly relevant, I've run AVG scans and Malwarebytes scans, with the results of each coming up negative.

Possibly relevant, my computer sometimes slows down for no apparent reason. I cannot recreate this.

I'm running a DellInspiron, with Windows 10, and my Chrome is up to date.


Any ideas?
posted by The Almighty Mommy Goddess to Computers & Internet (7 answers total)
 
vertical ellipses -> more tools -> extensions

What's living in there?
posted by bfranklin at 5:31 AM on November 6 [5 favorites]


Does it happen in other web browers (like Edge or Internet Explorer), or only in Chrome?
posted by wenestvedt at 7:17 AM on November 6


Do you use an ad blocker? I recently helped a friend with this problem and I never could figure out what malware / ad injector was doing it. Could even be the ISP? However installing an ad blocker fixed the problem. Or at least hid it well enough we stopped caring.

The best ad blocker for Chrome is uBlock Origin.
posted by Nelson at 7:42 AM on November 6


This happens to my mom from time to time and I have to fix it. It's always a browser extension she installed by accident.
posted by AppleTurnover at 12:19 PM on November 6


Thirding bfranklin and AppleTurnover. Saw it just this morning on a PC. (Search Encrypt was the one I saw but there are many.)
posted by a non mouse, a cow herd at 1:04 PM on November 6


It's always a browser extension she installed by accident.

Quite a lot of the time, this happens because people get suckered into installing "PC optimizers" or "registry cleaners" based on adverts on web pages, and applications in this always-useless class always come bundled with foistware of various kinds including advertising-related browser search hijackers.

If you bring up the Windows Control Panel (not the useless new Settings thing, the original Control Panel - use Windows Search to locate it if you can't find any quicker way) and open the Programs and Features section, you can choose the List view and then re-order that by installation date (click the Date column header, then click it again if necessary to put the newest installations at the top). Dollars to doughnuts there will be some useless piece of garbage that's been installed within the last week, and you will want to uninstall that. Anything from Uniblue or Ask.com just wants terminating with extreme prejudice.

After doing that, you will then want to open your Chrome settings and remove all extensions you don't remember installing for some specific purpose of your own. Finally, make sure that the standard New Tab page is what Chrome is set to open as the browser home page, and that your preferred search engine (I recommend Duck Duck Go, but you do you) is set as the current search engine. Delete any search engines whose names you don't recognize (but do fix the current search engine first, because Chrome won't give you the option to delete the one you're currently using).

Once your machine is back to normal, install uBlock Origin so you don't get fooled by this class of bullshit advertising ever again.
posted by flabdablet at 3:50 AM on November 8


Dollars to doughnuts there will be some useless piece of garbage that's been installed within the last week, and you will want to uninstall that. Anything from Uniblue or Ask.com just wants terminating with extreme prejudice.

Strangely enough, I have seen Amazon Assistant to be a culprit a lot of times. It's not malware, per se. But, if I see a browser acting up and I see that on there, as soon as I disable it, the wonkiness stops. I have seen it play nice, plenty. But, it can be flakey.
posted by a non mouse, a cow herd at 2:19 PM on November 8


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