Why is my computer jumping to other websites? We answer

Aleksandar Ognjanovic
by Aleksandar Ognjanovic
Troubleshooting Expert
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  • The Internet is no longer as safe as it used to be when it was first launched. Hackers and malware didn't exist back then.
  • We all have witnessed unusual browser behavior at least once and that definitely made us wonder is we got attacked by hackers.
  • If your computer has a will of its own and jumps to other websites, read this guide to learn why that happens and how you can fix it.
  • Don't forget to visit our web browsing hub to learn how to get the most out of your browsing experience.
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Unknowingly, we can get ourselves in all kinds of sauce online. However, stories about the grandeur of the internet malice are not true. If you’re, say, experiencing frequent jumps to other websites while browsing the internet, this hardly means that you’re infected by a virus.

However, the spectrum of malicious software covers all kinds of applications and extensions which can stop your current session and redirect you to god knows where.

We made sure to provide a detailed explanation in order to help you protect against these threats.

My browser automatically redirects to other sites

  1. What to do if your browser jumps to strange websites uncontrollably
  2. How to block adware pop-ups and remove browser hijackers

1. What to do if your browser jumps to strange websites uncontrollably

For the unfamiliar, the internet can be a dangerous place. Not as dangerous as some would assume, but still requires certain knowledge about possible threats.

The threat we’ll try and explain today is a redirecting pop-up which appears suddenly and redirects you to a third-party site. You’ll either be redirected or a new window will appear.  And that’s where the possible issues occur.

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Usually, you can close the window or just go back to a previous website, but there are various schemes they apply to avoid that. Firstly, the suspicious website usually opens in a new window and sometimes you’re not even aware. Or they redirect you directly to a new website swarming with ads.

The other option is almost certainly a browser hijacker’s deed. Browser hijackers are a piece of malicious software that infiltrates your internet browser and takes control of some of its features. They tend to replace the home page with a website usually crowded with ads.

Also, they might add an extension, usually a search bar of a kind. It can also spy on you and hunt the banking credentials to get the hold of your funds. Even though this is rare, we still suggest avoiding typing passwords if you recognize the presence of a browser hijacker.

But, don’t worry. If you don’t click anywhere, they’re just a harmless piece of adware. Close the browser and let it be until we remove all threats.

2. How to block adware pop-ups and remove browser hijackers

Let’s start with the essential actions. You’ll need an antivirus, whether that’s a third-party antivirus or Windows-native Windows Defender. In addition, you’ll have better success with clearing PUPs (Potentially Unwanted Programs) with the dedicated application, like AdwCleaner by Malwarebytes.

Uninstalling all suspicious applications is a must also. And, finally, once you’ve dealt with that, we suggest installing a browser extension which prevents pop-ups while browsing. Ad-blockers will do the job most of the time.

Here’s how to scan your computer for malicious presence with Windows Defender:

  1. Open Windows Defender from the taskbar notification area.
  2. Choose Virus & threat protection.virus & threat protection
  3. Choose Scan options.virus & threat protection - scan options
  4. Select Windows Defender Offline Scan.
  5. Click Scan now.
  6. Your PC will restart and the scanning process will commence.

And this is how to use AdwCleaner:

  1. Download Malwarebytes AdwCleaner, here.
  2. Run the tool and click Scan Now.malwarebytes adwcleaner
  3. Wait until the tool scans your system and click Clean & Repair.
  4. Restart your PC.

After that, the only thing left is to pay attention when online. If you visit a site full of ads, don’t click around and, if possible, use adblocker as much as possible. Make sure to tell us whether this was an informative read in the comments section below.

FAQ: Learn more about browser security

  • Why does my computer redirect me to other websites?

The most common causes of website redirects are adware and malware. They aim to either expose you to various forms of advertising or take you to specially crafted malware-injecting webpages.

  • What is Safe Browsing mode?

Safe Browsing is a service provided by Google that’s basically a list of blacklisted URLs of webpages known to inject malware and run phishing oriented code. Chrome, Firefox, Vivaldi, and Safari rely on Google Safe Browsing to detect and block threats.

  • How do you know if a website is dangerous?

To check if a website contains malware, you can use the Google Safe Browsing service. Simply type in the URL of the site you want to check, and the report will let you know if the respective website contained any trace of malware in the past 90 days.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in May 2019 and has been since completely revamped and updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.