How to remove the CapitaSearch browser hijacker?

Also Known As: search.capita.space redirect
Distribution: Moderate
Damage level: Medium

CapitaSearch browser hijacker removal instructions

What is CapitaSearch?

CapitaSearch is a piece of software, classified as a browser hijacker. Following successful infiltration, it modifies browser settings in order to promote search.capita.space - a fake search engine. Additionally, CapitaSearch adds the "Managed by your organization" feature to Google Chrome browsers. Most browser hijackers spy on browsing activity. Since most users download/install CapitaSearch unintentionally, it is also considered to be a PUA (Potentially Unwanted Application). One of the dubious methods used to distribute CapitaSearch is via illegal software activation ("cracking") tools. It is noteworthy that these tools are often used to proliferate malicious content as well (e.g. ransomware, trojans and other malware).

search.capita.space browser hijacker

Popular browsers like Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox are common targets of browser hijackers. They reassign browsers' default search engine, homepage, new tab/window URLs - to the addresses of illegitimate web searchers. These seemingly minor modifications seriously affect the browsing experience. For example, with CapitaSearch installed, every single search query typed into the URL bar and every new browser tab/window opened - redirect to search.capita.space. Fake search engines have no real value to users, as they are usually unable to provide search results. Hence, they tent to redirect (or cause redirection chains leading) to legitimate search engines. The web searcher promoted by CapitaSearch (search.capita.space) cannot generate search results, so it redirects to Yahoo (search.yahoo.com). Furthermore, access to the browser settings can be restricted or denied by the browser hijacker. And any permitted changes made - automatically reset. Therefore, the only way of recovering the hijacked browser is by removing the software responsible. As mentioned in the introduction, most browser hijackers have data tracking abilities. They can monitor browsing activity (URLs visited, pages viewed, search queries, etc.) and collect vulnerable data extracted from it (IP addresses, geolocations and other details). The gathered data is highly likely to contain personally identifiable information. What is more, this data is often shared with third parties (potentially, cyber criminals), seeking to misuse it for profit. To summarize, presence of data-tracking software on systems can lead to financial loss, severe privacy issues and even identity theft. To ensure device and user safety, it is crucial to eliminate all suspicious applications and browser extensions/plug-ins immediately upon detection.

Threat Summary:
Name CapitaSearch
Threat Type Browser Hijacker, Redirect, Search Hijacker, Toolbar, Unwanted New Tab
Browser Extension(s) CapitaSearch, Capita
Promoted URL search.capita.space
Serving IP Address (search.capita.space) 212.129.28.113
Affected Browser Settings Homepage, new tab URL, default search engine
Symptoms Manipulated Internet browser settings (homepage, default Internet search engine, new tab settings). Users are forced to visit the hijacker's website and search the Internet using their search engines.
Distribution methods Deceptive pop-up ads, free software installers (bundling), fake Flash Player installers.
Damage Internet browser tracking (potential privacy issues), display of unwanted ads, redirects to dubious websites.
Malware Removal (Windows)

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Find Local ClassifiedsDownload Apps NowDictionaryPro are a couple examples of other browser hijackers. They seldom appear suspect, as they typically look legitimate and useful. Browser hijackers tempt users into download/installation with offers of various features/abilities. However, the promised functionalities rarely work. This is typical of all PUAs. Functionality, user convenience and safety - are irrelevant, as the only purpose of unwanted apps is to generate revenue for the developers. Therefore, instead of delivering on any promises, PUAs can hijack browsers, force-open untrustworthy and malicious websites, run intrusive advert campaigns and collect private information.

How did CapitaSearch install on my computer?

PUAs can be downloaded/installed not just together with illegal activation tools ("cracks") but with other products as well. This deceptive marketing methods of pre-packing software with unwanted or malicious additions - is called "bundling". While it is often possible to decline such added content, by rushing through download/installation processes (e.g. by skipping steps and sections, etc.) - users risk missing any opt-out options. Some PUAs have "official" download webpages. Intrusive ads proliferate these applications as well. Upon being clicked, they can execute scripts to stealthily download/install PUAs.

How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications?

It is recommended to research products before download/installation and/or purchase. All downloads should be done only from official and verified sources. Untrustworthy channels, e.g. unofficial and free file-hosting (freeware) websites, P2P sharing networks (BitTorrent, eMule, Gnutella, etc.) and other third party downloaders - can offer deceptive/bundled content. Software must be activated with tools/functions provided by genuine developers, as illegal activation ("cracking") tools are commonly used to distribute PUAs and malware. When downloading/installing, it is important to read terms, study all available options, use the "Custom/Advanced" settings and opt-out from additional apps, tools, functions and so on. Intrusive advertisements appear legitimate and harmless, however they redirect to various questionable sites (e.g. gambling, pornography, adult-dating and others). In case of encounters with adverts/redirects of this kind, users should check the system and remove all dubious applications and/or browser extensions/plug-ins without delay. If your computer is already infected with CapitaSearch, we recommend running a scan with Malwarebytes for Windows to automatically eliminate this browser hijacker.

Screenshots of rogue installation setups ("cracking" tools) used to distribute CapitaSearch browser hijacker:

CapitaSearch browser hijacker installation setup

CapitaSearch browser hijacker installation setup

CapitaSearch browser hijacker managing the Google Chrome browser:

CapitaSearch browser hijacker managing Chrome

Appearance of CapitaSearch browser hijacker / search.capita.space redirect (GIF):

CapitaSearch browser hijacker appearance GIF

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Quick menu:

CapitaSearch browser hijacker removal:

Windows 7 users:

Accessing Programs and Features (uninstall) in Windows 7

Click Start (Windows Logo at the bottom left corner of your desktop), choose Control Panel. Locate Programs and click Uninstall a program.

Windows XP users:

Accessing Add or Remove Programs in Windows XP

Click Start, choose Settings and click Control Panel. Locate and click Add or Remove Programs.

Windows 10 and Windows 8 users:

Accessing Programs and Features (uninstall) in Windows 8

Right-click in the lower left corner of the screen, in the Quick Access Menu select Control Panel. In the opened window choose Programs and Features.

Mac OSX users:

Uninstall app in OSX (Mac)

Click Finder, in the opened screen select Applications. Drag the app from the Applications folder to the Trash (located in your Dock), then right click the Trash icon and select Empty Trash.

search.capita.space browser hijacker uninstall via Control Panel

In the uninstall programs window: look for any recently installed suspicious applications (for example, "CapitaSearch"), select these entries and click "Uninstall" or "Remove".

After uninstalling the potentially unwanted applications (which cause browser redirects to the search.capita.space website), scan your computer for any remaining unwanted components. To scan your computer, use recommended malware removal software.

CapitaSearch browser hijacker removal from Internet browsers:

Video showing how to remove browser redirects:

Internet Explorer logoRemove malicious add-ons from Internet Explorer:

Removing search.capita.space related Internet Explorer extensions

Click the "gear" icon Internet Explorer options icon (at the top right corner of Internet Explorer), select "Manage Add-ons". Look for any recently installed suspicious extensions, select these entries and click "Remove".

Change your homepage:

Removing search.capita.space from Internet Explorer homepage

Click the "gear" icon Internet Explorer options icon (at the top right corner of Internet Explorer), select "Internet Options", in the opened window remove hxxp://search.capita.space and enter your preferred domain, which will open each time you launch Internet Explorer. You can also enter about: blank to open a blank page when you start Internet Explorer.

Change your default search engine:

Removing search.capita.space from Internet Explorer default search engine

Click the "gear" icon Internet Explorer options icon (at the top right corner of Internet Explorer), select "Manage Add-ons". In the opened window, select "Search Providers", set "Google", "Bing", or any other preferred search engine as your default and then remove "CapitaSearch".

Optional method:

If you continue to have problems with removal of the search.capita.space redirect, reset your Internet Explorer settings to default.

Windows XP users: Click Start, click Run, in the opened window type inetcpl.cpl In the opened window click the Advanced tab, then click Reset.

Resetting Internet Explorer settings to default on Windows XP

Windows Vista and Windows 7 users: Click the Windows logo, in the start search box type inetcpl.cpl and click enter. In the opened window click the Advanced tab, then click Reset.

Resetting Internet Explorer settings to default on Windows 7

Windows 8 users: Open Internet Explorer and click the gear icon. Select Internet Options.

Reseting Internet Explorer settings to default in Windows 8 - accessing

In the opened window, select the Advanced tab.

Resetting Internet Explorer settings to default on Windows 8 - Internet options advanced tab

Click the Reset button.

Resetting Internet Explorer settings to default on Windows 8 - click the Reset button in the Internet options advanced tab

Confirm that you wish to reset Internet Explorer settings to default by clicking the Reset button.

Resetting Internet Explorer settings to default on Windows 8 - confirm settings reset to default by clicking the reset button

Google Chrome logoRemove malicious extensions from Google Chrome:

Removing search.capita.space related Google Chrome extensions

Click the Chrome menu icon Google Chrome menu icon (at the top right corner of Google Chrome), select "More tools" and click "Extensions". Locate "CapitaSearch" and other recently-installed suspicious browser add-ons, and remove them.

Change your homepage:

Removing search.capita.space from Google Chrome homepage

Click the Chrome menu icon Google Chrome menu icon (at the top right corner of Google Chrome), select "Settings". In the "On startup" section, disable "CapitaSearch" (or simply "Capita"), look for a browser hijacker URL (hxxp://www.search.capita.space) below the “Open a specific or set of pages” option. If present click on the three vertical dots icon and select “Remove”.

Change your default search engine:

Removing search.capita.space from Google Chrome default search engine

To change your default search engine in Google Chrome: Click the Chrome menu icon Google Chrome menu icon (at the top right corner of Google Chrome), select "Settings", in the "Search engine" section, click "Manage search engines...", in the opened list look for "search.capita.space", when located click the three vertical dots near this URL and select "Remove from list".

Optional method:

If you continue to have problems with removal of the search.capita.space redirect, reset your Google Chrome browser settings. Click the Chrome menu icon Google Chrome menu icon (at the top right corner of Google Chrome) and select Settings. Scroll down to the bottom of the screen. Click the Advanced… link.

Google Chrome settings reset step 1

After scrolling to the bottom of the screen, click the Reset (Restore settings to their original defaults) button.

Google Chrome settings reset step 2

In the opened window, confirm that you wish to reset Google Chrome settings to default by clicking the Reset button.

Google Chrome settings reset step 3

Mozilla Firefox logoRemove malicious plugins from Mozilla Firefox:

Removing search.capita.space related Mozilla Firefox extensions

Click the Firefox menu firefox menu icon (at the top right corner of the main window), select "Add-ons". Click on "Extensions" and remove "CapitaSearch", as well as all other recently installed browser plug-ins.

Change your homepage:

Removing search.capita.space from Mozilla Firefox homepage

To reset your homepage, click the Firefox menu firefox menu icon (at the top right corner of the main window), then select "Options", in the opened window disable "CapitaSearch", remove hxxp://search.capita.space and enter your preferred domain, which will open each time you start Mozilla Firefox.

Change your default search engine:

Removing search.capita.space from Mozilla Firefox default search engine

In the URL address bar, type about:config and press Enter.
Click "I'll be careful, I promise!".
In the search filter at the top, type: "extensionControlled"
Set both results to "false" by either double-clicking each entry or clicking the Mozilla Firefox switch about:config entry button button.

Optional method:

Computer users who have problems with search.capita.space redirect removal can reset their Mozilla Firefox settings.

Open Mozilla Firefox, at the top right corner of the main window, click the Firefox menu, firefox menu icon in the opened menu, click Help.

Accessing settings (Reset Firefox to default settings step 1)

Select Troubleshooting Information.

Accessing Troubleshooting Information (Reset Firefox to default settings step 2)

In the opened window, click the Refresh Firefox button.

Clicking on Refresh Firefox button (Reset Firefox to default settings step 3)

In the opened window, confirm that you wish to reset Mozilla Firefox settings to default by clicking the Refresh Firefox button.

Confirm your want to reset Firefox settings to default (Reset Firefox to default settings step 4)

safari browser logoRemove malicious extensions from Safari:

Removing browser hijackers from safari step 1 - accessing preferences

Make sure your Safari browser is active and click Safari menu, then select Preferences...

removing browser hijacker from safari step 2 - removing extensions

In the preferences window select the Extensions tab. Look for any recently installed suspicious extensions and uninstall them.

Removing browser hijackers from safari step 3 - changing homepage

In the preferences window select General tab and make sure that your homepage is set to a preferred URL, if its altered by a browser hijacker - change it.

removing browser hijackers from safari step 4 - changing the default Internet search engine

In the preferences window select Search tab and make sure that your preferred Internet search engine is selected.

Optional method:

Make sure your Safari browser is active and click on Safari menu. From the drop down menu select Clear History and Website Data...

resetting safari step 1

In the opened window select all history and click the Clear History button.

resetting safari step 2

Microsoft Edge (Chromium) logoRemove malicious extensions from Microsoft Edge:

Removing browser hijackers from Microsoft Edge step 1

Click the Edge menu icon Microsoft Edge (chromium) menu icon (at the top right corner of Microsoft Edge), select "Extensions". Locate any recently-installed suspicious browser add-ons, and remove them.

Change your homepage and new tab settings:

Removing browser hijackers from Microsoft Edge step 2

Click the Edge menu icon Microsoft Edge (chromium) menu icon (at the top right corner of Microsoft Edge), select "Settings". In the "On startup" section look for the name of the browser hijacker and click "Disable".

Change your default Internet search engine:

Removing browser hijackers from Microsoft Edge step 3

To change your default search engine in Microsoft Edge: Click the Edge menu icon Microsoft Edge (chromium) menu icon (at the top right corner of Microsoft Edge), select "Privacy and services", scroll to bottom of the page and select "Address bar". In the "Search engines used in address bar" section look for the name of the unwanted Internet search engine, when located click the "Disable" button near it. Alternatively you can click on "Manage search engines", in the opened menu look for unwanted Internet search engine. Click on the puzzle icon Microsoft Edge (Chromium) puzzle icon near it and select "Disable".

Optional method:

If you continue to have problems with removal of the search.capita.space redirect, reset your Microsoft Edge browser settings. Click the Edge menu icon Microsoft Edge (chromium) menu icon (at the top right corner of Microsoft Edge) and select Settings.

Microsoft Edge (Chromium) reset step 1

In the opened settings menu select Reset settings.

Microsoft Edge (Chromium) reset step 2

Select Restore settings to their default values. In the opened window, confirm that you wish to reset Microsoft Edge settings to default by clicking the Reset button.

Microsoft Edge (Chromium) reset step 3

  • If this did not help, follow these alternative instructions explaining how to reset the Microsoft Edge browser.

Summary:

declining installation of browser hijackers while downloading free software sampleA browser hijacker is a type of adware infection that modifies Internet browser settings by assigning the homepage and default Internet search engine settings to some other (unwanted) website URL. Commonly, this type of adware infiltrates operating systems through free software downloads. If your download is managed by a download client, ensure that you decline offers to install advertised toolbars or applications that seek to change your homepage and default Internet search engine settings.

Removal assistance:
If you are experiencing problems while trying to remove search.capita.space redirect from your Internet browsers, please ask for assistance in our malware support forum.

Post a comment:
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About the author:

Tomas Meskauskas

Tomas Meskauskas - expert security researcher, professional malware analyst.

I am passionate about computer security and technology. I have an experience of over 10 years working in various companies related to computer technical issue solving and Internet security. I have been working as an author and editor for pcrisk.com since 2010. Follow me on Twitter and LinkedIn to stay informed about the latest online security threats. Contact Tomas Meskauskas.

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Malware activity

Global malware activity level today:

Medium threat activity

Increased attack rate of infections detected within the last 24 hours.

QR Code
search.capita.space redirect QR code
A QR code (Quick Response Code) is a machine-readable code which stores URLs and other information. This code can be read using a camera on a smartphone or a tablet. Scan this QR code to have an easy access removal guide of search.capita.space redirect on your mobile device.
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