Technology

When a browser becomes malware

Q: How can I get rid of the Chromium browser on my laptop? It’s pervasive and intrusive.

Tom Urban, Toledo, Ohio

A: The original Chromium browser is neither intrusive nor difficult to uninstall. What you probably have is an altered Chromium browser that can tamper with web searches and admit malicious software.

The original Chromium browser was built with open-source programming code and made available for free online. That allowed individuals or companies to modify the browser and remarket it. For example, Google offers its own variation of the Chromium browser, called Chrome. But while Chrome is tightly controlled by Google to prevent tampering, Chromium can be modified by anyone, including hackers.

One sign that you have a malicious version of Chromium is that it’s difficult to uninstall because it doesn’t show up in the list of programs in your PC’s control panel. Other signs include browser actions, such as redirecting you to malicious websites, generating a steady flow of advertisements, changing your browser homepage, and altering or uninstalling other browsers on your PC. All this activity can also slow PC performance and reduce internet access speed.

In addition, when you download a malicious version of Chromium, you may inadvertently download other malicious software at the same time.

Assuming that you can’t uninstall Chromium via the control panel, run the free version of the Malwarebytes security program (see tinyurl.com/jsdacdk). To be sure the malicious browser is gone, run the security program HitmanPro (see tinyurl.com/6cev7t, free use for 30 days) and the free version of the file cleanup program CCleaner (see tinyurl.com/okyvdo7).

Also, fix any changes that Chromium may have made to other browsers on your PC (see tinyurl.com/z5lk4qd, go to “Chromium removal steps” and read Step 2).

Q: I use an iCom hearing device that can receive Bluetooth wireless signals from phones and computers. I’d like to use it to listen to my new Sony TV, but the TV lacks Bluetooth. Is there a way to add Bluetooth capability to the TV?

Anoop Sandhu, Plymouth, Minn.

A: Yes. Plug an external Bluetooth wireless transmitter into your TV’s “audio out” jack. The transmitter will then rebroadcast the TV’s sound to your Bluetooth-equipped iCom device, which in turn wirelessly connects to your hearing aids. Note that the first time you use this method, you will need to wirelessly “pair” (connect) your iCom unit to the Bluetooth transmitter (see tinyurl.com/j5e352r).

Which Bluetooth transmitter you should buy depends partly on how many hearing devices you want to connect to the TV; some transmitters can handle only one connection at a time.

It also depends on the transmitter’s “latency,” a delay it adds to the TV’s sound. The higher the latency, the more out-of-sync the sound will be with the TV picture. A low-latency Bluetooth transmitter for a TV should have a delay of about 40 ms (milliseconds), about one-fourth the delay time of standard Bluetooth. The units cost $40 and up, and are available online (search Google for “Bluetooth TV low latency”) and at electronics stores.

  Comments