Security Experts:

Google Warns Windows Users if Chrome Settings Hijacked

Google has started to prompt Chrome users if their browser settings appear to have been hijacked by malware.

The new warning was announced by Linus Upson, Google's vice president of engineering, as a means to compliment the 'reset browser settings' feature Google added in October. According to Google, the feature allows to change their browser settings back to factory defaults.

"So, you're trying to download a free screensaver or game or something else you really want," Upson blogged. "But later you find out that game came bundled with a malicious program that's trying to hijack your browser settings. You're not the only one having this problem—in fact, it's an issue that’s continuing to grow at an alarming rate. You should always be in charge of your own Chrome settings. To help keep your browser settings under your control we added a “reset browser settings” button to Chrome’s settings page in October."

"Despite this, settings hijacking remains our number one user complaint," Upson continued. "To make sure the reset option reaches everyone who might need it, Chrome will be prompting Windows users whose settings appear to have been changed if they’d like to restore their browser settings back to factory default. If you’ve been affected by settings hijacking and would like to restore your settings, just click “Reset” on the prompt below when it appears."

Clicking reset however will disable all extensions, apps and themes a user has installed. To reactive the extensions after a reset, users can turn to the Chrome menu under 'More tools>Extensions.'

"Some hijackers are especially pernicious and have left behind processes that are meant to undermine user control of settings, so you may find that you’re hijacked again after a short period of time," Upson blogged. "If that happens you can find additional help uninstalling such programs in the Chrome help forum—and remember even if you don’t see the prompt, you can always restore Chrome to a fresh state by clicking the reset button in your Chrome settings."

The announcement, made Jan. 31, came roughly two weeks after Google banned two extensions from its Chrome Web store after it was discovered the extensions were being used to deliver malware to users.  

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