How to remove malware from a Chrome browser
Is your Chrome browser displaying constant disruptive ads? Did some suspicious browser extension get installed without your permission? Does the homepage change to Yahoo Search instead of Google? Have your browser settings changed?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, chances are that your Chrome browser has been hijacked, infected with malware, adware, or otherwise compromised. But worry not, because there’s a way to fix this.
In this article, we’ll explain how to remove malware from Chrome and suggest ways to protect your device and browser from future malware infections. Keep on reading.
The easiest way to get rid of adware and Chrome browser hijackers is to use antivirus software. Bitdefender can provide excellent protection against most malicious programs.
What is the Google Chrome virus?
The Google Chrome virus is a browser hijacker (a type of malware) which changes the browser’s settings and configuration without permission from the user. This leads to pop-up ads, redirects to suspicious websites, homepage changes, and certain browser settings being deleted.
The virus is most often used to scare users into giving away personal information, downloading malicious files, and installing suspicious browser extensions and malware. It is usually also accompanied by adware – malicious software created to display unwanted and annoying pop-up ads.
|Name||The Google Chrome virus|
|Threat type||Scareware/ adware/ malware/ hijacker|
|Devices||Any device that has Google Chrome|
|Symptoms||Redirects to suspicious websites, pop-up ads, persistent unwanted browser extensions, changes to homepage|
|Damage||Tracking, installation of unwanted apps. Can also scare into giving away personal information, downloading malicious files.|
How do I know my Chrome browser is infected with malware?
If anything happens to your Chrome browser, you will most likely notice it at once. However, it can sometimes be difficult to recognise if what you’re seeing is a result of a bug or malfunction, or if it’s actually a malware infection. So here are the most prominent signs that your Chrome browser has been hijacked:
- The homepage keeps changing. For example, once you open the Chrome app, instead of the Google homepage, you get redirected to Yahoo or some other browser that you for sure haven’t installed on your device.
- Frequent permission pop-ups. These pop-ups usually ask to know your location, show notifications, or install browser extensions.
- Unwanted and annoying ads. We’ve all seen our fair share of annoying ads pop-up once in a while, but if your Chrome browser has been infected, these ads will appear every couple of seconds and will often contain explicit content and/or urge you to buy or install something.
- Redirects to insecure websites. This can happen when you’re visiting a trusted page, but instead of that, the browser randomly redirects you to an insecure (HTTP) and suspicious website. These websites usually are badly designed and persistently suggest you to download or buy something.
- Suspicious browser extensions. If you notice any browser extensions that you yourself haven’t installed, and especially if they keep getting installed after you’ve removed them – chances are that your browser has been hijacked.
Why do pop-up ads keep appearing on Chrome?
Pop-up ads on Chrome most likely keep appearing because the browser has been infected with a virus. It can be either a browser hijacker which changes the browser settings, or adware. In the latter case, pop-up ads are appearing not only on your browser but also while using the device in general.
However, sometimes pop-up ads or redirects can be a result of other websites trying to earn money from ads. For example, a free streaming website will display ads that cover your screen, or redirect to another website when you’re trying to play a video. For each ad or redirect, they earn money.
How to get rid of the Google Chrome virus?
If your Chrome browser has been hijacked, don’t worry too much – there are steps you can take to get rid of the virus and have your normal browsing experience back.
Remove unwanted applications from your device
Here’s how to remove adware and unwanted suspicious programs from Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android devices:
Download and install a reliable antivirus software, scan your device and follow antivirus recommendations. You can also remove malware from Windows manually or take these steps:
- Open Chrome and click on the three dots in the upper right corner
- Go to Settings >> Advanced >> Reset and clean up
- Click on clean up computer and select “Find harmful software”
- If any malicious programs are found, remove them
Download and install a trustworthy antivirus software and run a scan. Follow the recommendations.
You can also remove viruses from your Mac by yourself:
- Open “Finder” and go to the “Applications” folder
- Scroll through the list of apps
- Detect and delete any applications that you don’t recognize
- Empty the trash. Any remains left from a program can restore the program itself and continue spreading malware.
iOS and Android:
If your iOS or Android device has been infected, our guide on how to remove viruses from your phone can help. Also, here are some steps you can take right now:
- Install an antivirus program, run a scan, and follow recommendations to remove any suspicious apps.
- You can also look through the apps you have on your device and remove the ones that you don’t recognize.
- For Android, use the Google Play store scanner to scan for any suspicious apps.
If you did everything that’s been recommended but Chrome is still not working properly and ads still pop up, a factory settings reset might be necessary.
Remove Google Chrome adware from your browser
Here are the steps you need to take to remove the Google Chrome virus and adware from your browser:
Step 1. Reset browser settings
- Open Chrome and click on the three dots in the upper right corner
- Go to Settings >> Advanced
- Click on Reset and clean up
- Choose Restore settings to their original defaults
Step 2. Change default ads permissions
- Go to Chrome settings
- Go to Security and privacy settings >> Site settings
- Click on pop-ups and redirects and select “don’t allow sites to send pop-ups and redirects”
- Go back to Site settings >> Additional content settings
- Click on ads and choose “Block ads on sites that show intrusive or misleading ads”
Step 3. Remove unwanted browser extensions
- Open Chrome and click on the puzzle piece icon in the top right corner
- Find the unwanted extension and click on the three dots on the right
- Click on remove from Chrome
How can I protect my PC from viruses?
Getting a virus on your device or browser is no fun. Luckily, there are some things you can do to avoid it. Here are some actions you can take to protect your PC from malware:
- Use antivirus software. A good antivirus software will scan every file on your device, recommend actions to take in case of malware infections, and provide an all-around device protection. Our favorite antivirus is Bitdefender.
- Avoid untrustworthy websites. Suspicious websites may contain malicious links or pop-up messages saying your device has been infected with malware when it, in fact, hasn’t.
- Download files and programs only from official sources. Files from pirating websites or other unofficial sources often contain malware, so downloading them from legitimate sites is the best way to go.
- Don’t click on suspicious links. They can lead to malicious websites, download and install malware, or otherwise compromise your device and/or browser.
- Don’t open suspicious emails. Phishing attacks are among the most common and the most dangerous online threats. If you get an email that you weren’t expecting, especially one that promises limited deals or asks for immediate action – report it as spam and block the sender without opening it or attached files. If it was sent to a corporate email account, let your security team know.
- Scan files and documents before downloading. Install an antivirus browser extension and scan every file you want to download. That way, you will avoid accidentally downloading malware.
While getting your browser infected with malware is sometimes scary and oftentimes annoying, there are ways to fix the problem. You can do that by resetting browser settings, removing unwanted apps manually, and/or using a quality antivirus such as Bitdefender. The latter option will also help you avoid malware in the future and ensure utmost safety of your device.
What’s more, you can take actions towards protecting your computer, phone or tablet right this minute. Simply avoiding clicking on suspicious links or downloading files from unknown sources will get you a long way in dealing with scammers and bad actors while browsing.
All in all, we hope this article has helped you get rid of the Google Chrome virus. If you have questions, please share them in the comments below and we’ll do our best to help you.
How do I get rid of a browser hijacker in Chrome?
To get rid of a browser hijacker in Chrome, you’ll need to reset browser settings, uninstall unwanted and suspicious applications from your device, and remove unwanted and malicious browser extensions.
Is the Chrome browser safe?
Yes, the Google Chrome browser is completely safe to use. However, because it is so popular, scammers tend to target the users of Chrome the most, so you have to be careful and avoid clicking on suspicious links, opening emails, or downloading files from unknown sources. Also, you shouldn't visit untrustworthy sites.
Will reinstalling Chrome remove malware?
After you uninstall and install Chrome again and log into your Google account, it will restore any settings, extensions, and potentially malware from the cloud backup. So if resetting browser settings and removing extensions didn’t help, reinstalling Chrome won’t remove malware either.