A. There may be an affiliate relationship whereby the website associated with the browser search hijack would pay the suspect site for each visitor they refer (there could be other domains involved). Hijackers may also be seeking personal information for use in identity theft.
A. The most noticeable symptom is a severe system slow down while online.
Other symptoms include unwanted changes to home or search pages, illegible
URL's, excessive pop-ups or pop-unders and new browser windows suddenly
opening (while online). Can I repair it myself? Unfortunately, not likely.
Like viruses these programs tend to make numerous changes to core system
files or system settings.
Although the programmers (or reprogrammers) of malicious programs have released several variations of browser or desktop hijacks over the years, it maybe hard to catch a live install now because most of the offending servers have been identified and shut down. Several operating system or browser patches have been issued to address the problem. However patches may or may not reverse changes to the system made by such programs and infected computers may remain symptomatic and vulnerable to some extent until professionally evaluated and repaired.