If the default search engine on your Firefox, IE or Chrome browser has been replaced with some other odd-looking search engine or if the starting page of the browser has been changed without your permission and every time you go online, you get sudden page redirects, you are likely dealing with a program known as Nova Rambler “Virus”. It is an application categorized as a Browser Hijacker because of its invasive and obstructive behavior. Today, we will try to help users become better aware of the characteristics of Nova Rambler “Virus” and what precautions need to be taken so as to both remove the program from the computer as well as prevent more Hijackers from getting installed on it.
A security threat?
When talking about Hijackers it is important to understand what type of software they are. Oftentimes people refer to them as viruses, malware, etc. Though one might say that this is partially justified, we cannot really agree that Browser Hijackers are in the same category as malign viruses the likes of Trojans and Ransomware for example. Just to give you a general idea about why Hijackers are not actual PC viruses, here are several major differences between the two kinds of software:
- First and foremost, there is a substantial difference in the purpose of programs like Nova Rambler “Virus” and viruses like Ransomware and Trojan horses. While the former are mostly used for online marketing purposes and hardly ever anything else, the ways the latter are used are always malicious and harmful to both the user’s PC and personal data and also their virtual security and privacy.
- The next thing that one should bear in mind is that Hijackers do not hide themselves. Sure, they might try to make it difficult to remove them and oftentimes uninstalling them will not be enough but it is really easy to spot a Hijacker. Obviously, with viruses it is quite the opposite.
- Thirdly, we must mention that unlike viruses that are always illegal, a big part of the Hijacker family consists of programs that are actually legal and legit despite the fact that they are considered still undesirable.
The other side of the coin
Of course, there still are a number of solid reasons why it is generally better to get rid of Nova Rambler “Virus” as soon as you are able to. A few examples:
- Obviously, since their main purpose is online advertising, Browser Hijackers would make everything in their power to be as annoying and as noticeable as possible. One way to do that is by generating big and obnoxious banners, nagging pop-ups and obstructive box messages for all of your browsers.
- A notorious method used by programs like Nova Rambler “Virus” to enhance their ads is when they obtain personal information directly from the user’s browser. That way, they can later modify the adverts making them relevant to the interests of the individual.
- One other particularly unpleasant trait of some Hijacker is their tendency to mess with the Registry keys of the computer. This enables the undesirable piece of software to be more effective with its aggressive advertising methods but it can also expose the computer to more serious threats such as Trojans and Ransomware.
Security and protection for your PC
Something that all of our readers should be well aware of is the different approaches that one can adopt in order to make their system less susceptible to Hijacker installs. Here, we have summarized some of the most important and crucial rules that one needs to adhere to, so as to increase the security levels of their machine:
- Do not allow your browsers to automatically download files. Go to the browser settings and disable any features that have anything to do with automatic downloading of data.
- Be your own spam filter! If an email looks shady, even if it has not been sent to the spam folder, be sure to send it there yourself or even better – directly delete it.
- When it comes to online awareness, using your common sense is a must. When surfing the world wide web it is always important to keep your eyes wide open and to be on your guard for any obscure and potentially harmful websites.
- Anti-malware tools are another great way of providing some extra security for your machine – do not underestimate the importance of having reliable software protection on your system.
- Finally, always be on the lookout for potential file bundles. If you are installing a new program, prior to launching the installation process, take a few minutes to asses what options there are within the setup menu. If you see that there is an advanced settings menu – go for it. If you find any bundled applications within the setup wizard, it would be a good idea to carry out a quick online check with the name of the added program and see what the results yield. If the said piece of software appears to be some sort of shady unwanted program like a Hijacker, do not hesitate to leave it out of the installation.
Nova Rambler “Virus” Removal
Before you begin completing the steps from the following guide, we advise you to place a bookmark on this page or have it opened on a separate device since some of the following steps will require you to close your browser.
Enter Safe Mode. If you don’t know how to do it, use this guide.
Open the Task Manger by pressing Ctrl+Shift+Esc. Go to the processes/details Tab and take a look at the resulting list. If you see a process with the name of the unwanted program or looks shady, right-click on it and select Open File Location. If you believe it is part of the infection, delete the files.
Use the Winkey+R key combination to open the Run window and in the search field type appwiz.cpl. Hit Enter and in the resulting list, look for recently installed programs that look potentially unwanted. If you find anything – uninstall it.
Re-open Run and this tie type msconfig. Hit Enter again and in the resulting window, go to the Startup tab. See if there are any shady programs there and if anything looks suspicious uncheck it and then select OK.
In the Start Menu search field, copy-paste the following line: notepad %windir%/system32/Drivers/etc/hosts . Open the first result and look at the bottom of the file where it says “Localhost”. If there are any IP addresses below that, tell us what they are in the comments since they might be coming from the unwanted software.
Type Network Connections in the Windows search field and click on the first result. Right-click on the adapter that you are using at the moment and go to Properties > Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IP) > Properties.
If the DNS line is not set to Obtain DNS server automatically, make sure to check that option.
Now go to Advanced > DNS tab and remove everything in DNS server addresses, in order of use.
Right-click on your browser’s icon and select Properties. Delete everything in Target that is after .exe”.
For Chrome users
Close Chrome and go to this folder: C:/Users/*Your username*/AppData/Local/Google/Chrome/User Data. Change the name of the Default folder to Backup Default. Re-open Chrome.
For Firefox users
Open Firefox and click on the Main Menu > Add-ons > Extensions. If you see anything suspicious there, remove it.
For IE users
When you open the browser, go to Tools > Manage Ad-ons and remove the unwanted software if you see it there. Next, go to Tools > Internet options and change the homepage URL to whatever you are normally using.
Open Run (Winkey+R), type Regedit and click on OK. Next, press Ctrl+F and type the malware name. Hit Enter and delete everything that gets found.
If there are no results from the search, manually visit those folders in the Registry Editor.
- HKEY_CURRENT_USER/Software/Microsoft/Internet Explorer/Main
If you find there any suspicious keys that have names with a lot of random letters and numbers, delete them or if you are not sure, tell us in the comments what you saw.