Innocent internet scrolling has been the antecedent for many frantic phone calls to our office:
I was just scrolling through facebook and clicked on something interesting; now my computer is beeping at me and telling me I have to call this 1-800 number to get rid of a virus!
This issue is generally what we call a Browser Hijack, and is easy to fix by ending the tasks of your open browsers using Task Manager.
On a Windows machine, launch Task Manager by clicking ctrl + alt + delete or right-clicking on your taskbar/bottom menu bar. Then, look at the apps running in “Processes” – ending the process for the affected browser. If you aren’t sure which browser is problematic, it is okay to end the process for any that are open.
On a Mac, try “Force Quit” from the Apple menu to quit your browsers.
You will want to check your “new tab” page, your default search engine, installed extensions/plugins and your homepage to make sure that the browser hijack did not also change some of your browser settings.
The majority of browser hijacks that we see on work computers are innocent in nature, but really do stem from behaviors that should cause concern on a corporate network. Is scrolling through the internet done on a computer that also connects to your server or shared data? Next time the call to our office may not be for a simple browser hijack, but may be ransomware or a debilitating virus. Consider limiting the amount of non-work related web surfing performed on corporate devices and the corporate network.