HiJackThis is now Open Source

Martin Brinkmann
Feb 22, 2012
Updated • Feb 22, 2012
Security, Software

HijackThis back in the days was a sophisticated tool to scan a Windows system for traces of malicious software. Unlike conventional antivirus software which relied on signature databases and heuristics to identify malware, HijackThis concentrated on listing items in known malware locations. Included here were the computer's startup locations and important Registry keys, which were all listed after a short scan in the program interface.

The program displayed all entries it found in those locations, which meant that only experienced computer users could interpret the data without outside help. Inexperienced users had other options, from searching for a specific entry on the Internet, to posting the log on support forums or loading the log file in a program that would analyze the entries automatically.

HiJack This logs are still requested regularly on tech support forums when users are posting about malware related problems on their computer systems.

Security company Trend Micro purchased the program from the original author Merijn Bellekom back in 2007. The program by then had been downloaded by more than 10 million users which made it one of the most popular free security programs of its time.


A few days ago Trend Micro announced that they have released the source code of the latest version of HiJack This to the project hosting site Sourceforge.net. The main idea behind the move, besides public relation bonus points, is to get a community involved with the future development of the program.

Trend Micro, according to the press release that was posted on the official company website, will maintain the original source code on the Sourceforge. The company announced plans to "update the base code on SourceForge as developers make modifications" that improve the functionality or quality of the application.

Interested users can download the latest binary version of HiJack This from Sourceforge.

The Open Source release could fuel further development, which has slowed down in recent years.


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  1. Darryl Dent said on December 20, 2018 at 10:58 pm

    Hi, I was looking for a contact of Merijn that I could ask for specified direction with an issue.

    I had my synced cellphone stolen, passed onto some clever little Pakistani in Capetown, SA, who hacked me. I’ve Factory restored countless times but cant get rid of him. I have also run through months of Malicious Entry Help to no avail more than once. They do not see that a hacker posing as ‘The Administrators’ User is a threat!!!

    This clever mutt has inserted himself as ‘Administrators’, usurping all my ‘Administrator’ (without, *s* ) authority & also set up other ‘unregistered users’. Nowhere can I find him/them as a Users. I have no idea how he gets in (I run without storing passwords & changed them, Reset IP’s, he is still there). Today I found out that he has shut down the ‘Security Center’ & used a password. His old password was PAKISTAN, but this ‘Services’ p/w I cannot fathom. I’m no boffin.

    Who can I go to who will understand that – this is not a malicious software issue but a User issue for help please?

  2. Robert Palmar said on February 23, 2012 at 12:40 am

    For someone who can do a proper analysts themselves it is a good tool.
    I would did not nor would I recommend it to someone who could not.
    Not all tech forums provide good analysis and tend to use a
    standard troubleshooting protocol which is often overkill.

  3. Pietzki said on February 22, 2012 at 11:31 pm

    Be careful when recommending the auto-analysis tool Robert, it’s no replacement for proper analysis and it’s easy for users to mess up their system if they don’t know what they’re doing. Anybody who needs help analysing HJT logs should go to a tech forum and post the log there.

  4. Robert Palmar said on February 22, 2012 at 9:00 pm

    Kind of surprising but maybe I should not be surprised.
    HijackThis has been a my tool of last resort a few times.

    To help analyze log files yourself I have found this site useful:

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