I run XP 3 with Firefox 16 installed. There appears to be constant efforts
to change my browser without any authority from me. So far, Snap.do, Ask, and
Babylon are all the main culprits, but there are others. I often see a balloon
on my screen, which says something like an attempt to change your browser has
been stopped. I know how to change browsers by going into Tools, Options, etc.
I should not have to do this to keep my default browser, Google, in place. I
have run malware programs with no result.
In this excerpt from
Answercast #68, I look at a mysterious pop-up that is trying to change a
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Malware changing browsers
Well, regardless of what malware programs you’re running (and you haven’t
told me so I can’t really comment on specific programs), but you’ve got malware
of some sort – or you have malware that is continually trying to get itself
installed on your machine.
Now, there are a couple of things that come to mind. One is definitely run
multiple anti-malware tools. They don’t have to be installed or run real-time,
but I would perform additional scans and I would actually start you with
anti-malware. It will probably detect and clean up a few things that some
of the other anti-malware tools, perhaps the ones you’re running aren’t
catching and aren’t cleaning up.
With that out of the way, what I would caution you: the culprits that you
mention here (Snap and Ask and Babylon), these are all common, what I call
“drive-by download installs.”
When you download software from a download site or a file-sharing site or
whatever, very often either the download or the installation process for that
software will ask you, “Would you also like to install this toolbar or this
feature or this whatever?”
If you’re not paying attention or if you accept the default settings for
whatever it is you’re installing, they will often simply install that kind of
stuff without asking. And without asking… well, it sounds like it would end up
doing exactly what it’s doing here. It’s going to try and change your browser
or it’s going to try and change your browser’s home page.
From your wording here, it’s a little unclear if they’re trying to change
your browser from Chrome or Firefox to IE or if they’re trying to change the
home page for your browser from Google to whatever else. The latter is the most
Many of these drive-by downloads actually end up trying to change your
home page to a page that benefits them rather than you.
Pay attention when installing
So, definitely pay careful attention when you’re downloading things, when
you’re installing things. Always choose the Custom or
Advanced option when you’re installing.
Make sure to take very careful note of all of the options that you’re
Make sure that anything that sounds like you’re installing something that
you didn’t ask for gets turned off.
My guess is that is the single biggest culprit in scenarios that sound like
what you’re having. I’d start with Malwarebytes, but then I’d be very careful
moving forward to pay attention to what’s being downloaded and what’ being
installed on your machine.