Browser Helper Object (BHO) is a term used for dynamic-link library (DLL) plug-ins that extend the browser functionality. BHO’s are used as add-ons to web browsers such as Internet Explorer. They are capable of adding functionality to web browsers and customizing the user’s browsing experience.
BHO’s are most often seen as being installed as a toolbar or other plugin. BHO’s can be used to perform multiple tasks such as changing the default page of the browser or even adding additional functionality to the browser such as enhanced search features or richer media experiences. They are also used as a way of delivering targeted advertisements to the user. BHO’s can be delivered as part of a legitimate software package or even delivered from an external source such as a malicious website.
In order for a BHO to be included in a browser, the user must usually opt in to the installation process. BHO’s can be disabled or removed via the Add/Remove Programs control panel. However, it is important to be aware that maliciously crafted BHO’s can be used as a vector for malware and other malicious software.
Browser Helper Objects are generally beneficial to users in terms of enhancing their online experience. They provide a way for additional features to be easily added to the browser, as well as the possibility of providing more targeted advertisements to users. BHO’s can, however, be abused and users should be aware of the risk involved in installing them on their browser.