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About:Blank Browser Hijacks

Date Added: August 04, 2009 02:54:44 AM
Author: Emlv PR4 Directory
Category: Blogs: Internet
 


About:Blank Browser Hijacks



By: Wayne Davis

Many things can cause your computer system to run more slowly than usual, from being overloaded with space-hogging programs to hardware issues like not enough memory. If you are noticing a substantial slowdown in performance, as well as some other telltale symptoms, you may have rogue program such as About:Blank installed in your system.



What is About: Blank?



About:Blank is known as a browser hijacker. While there are many variations, the common element is that these programs take control of your internet browser and settings. As a form of adware, About:Blank automatically displays or downloads advertisements and also reroutes your homepage to a rogue site. While certainly irritating, this rogue program should not pose serious threats to your system. Removing About:Blank hijacker, however, will improve performance and help your system run optimally. This program is a variation of Cool Web Search and is also known as HomeOldSP hijacker. Other variations include CoolWWWSearch, CSW, and CSW: Aboutblank, CoolSearcher, CWS/Aboutblank, CWS/Datanotory, CWS/Googlems, CWS/MSinfo, CWS/Smartfinder, and more.



Do You Have About: Blank in Your System?



As mentioned, if you have About:Blank installed in your computer system, you are likely to notice some telltale signs. The two most noticeable are changes in your web browser and pop-up ads. When you open a new browser page, you may find that it has directed you to a site with the address About:Blank. It is similar to an error 404 message, which says that the website could not be found. Unlike that legitimate error code, this one has a search box on the screen. If you do enter a search topic, it will not lead to a real results page but will redirect you to a site that seeks to sell you expensive, and ineffective, antivirus programs. In addition, if there is a problem with a site loading, you may be redirected to About:Blank instead of the typical error page. Changing your homepage back to its original settings temporarily solves that particular issue until you reboot or restart your machine



Characteristic of this and many other rogue programs is the presence of pop-up ads. These are either ads for various sites, mostly adult-content sites, or for rogue antivirus programs. What is unique about About:Blank is that it is able to comb through the primary keywords on the pages you are browsing and create ads related to those keywords. If you are looking at sites for electronics, for instance, it will send you a pop-up for companies that deal in these types of products. This lends the ads credibility that they do not possess.



Overall, you may notice that your computer is running much more slowly than usual. Tasks that are usually instantaneous take much longer to perform, such as switching between browser windows or opening programs from your desktop. This is because the About:Blank hijacker lives in the virtual memory of your computer. It requires a lot of memory to run, leaving far less with which to operate your programs. An easy way to check this is to shut down any open programs and click on the Processes tab in the Windows Task Manager. Look at your CPU usage. If you have no open programs and are running at eighty percent or more of your capacity, then About:Blank may be installed in your system.



What Can About: Blank Do to Your System?



If About:Blank has been installed on your computer, you will notice the problems mentioned above, including redirects to About:Blank pages, decreased speed, and a proliferation of pop-up advertisements. Clicking on these ads will direct you to sites offering ?antivirus solutions.? These sites are typically loaded with spyware, adware, and other forms of malware. Basically, these types of pop-ups are like invitations. When you click on them, you RSVP. But you also unintentionally invite a lot of other, more unwelcome, guests along into your computer. About:Blank can change your internet security settings, opening a door for these other rogue programs through a trojan called Downloader.Trojan.



How Did About: Blank Become Installed in Your System?



Rarely, the About:Blank hijacker is the result of a virus, such as the startpage trojan or the ?I Love You? virus. It is far more likely, though, to be the result of a browser hijack program, also called a browser helper object (BHO). In this case, Cool Web Search is most likely the program that has introduced About:Blank into your system. Websites featuring adult-content, which can also include gaming sites and those that have file sharing programs, are known to host malware such as Cool Web Search.



How to Protect your PC



Prevention is the best medicine when it comes to the About:Blank hijacker and other similar malware programs. Checking your CPU usage occasionally, closing pop-ups by using the Task Manager, and emptying your temporary files regularly can help you keep your system running smoothly and help you spot any potential problems early.




Author Resource:->  By Mindy Matter for http://www.removeadware.com.au/ - Here you'll learn about online privacy and browser hijacks - http://www.removeadware.com.au/articles/about-blank/ - Please link to this site when using this article.





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