CapitaSearch browser hijacker removal instructions
What is CapitaSearch?
CapitaSearch is rogue software classified as a browser hijacker. Following successful infiltration, it modifies browser settings to promote search.capita.space (a fake search engine). Additionally, CapitaSearch adds the "Managed by your organization" feature to Google Chrome browsers. Browser hijackers can also monitor browsing activity. Since most users download/install CapitaSearch unintentionally, it is also classified as a Potentially Unwanted Application (PUA). One of the dubious methods used to distribute CapitaSearch is via illegal software activation ("cracking") tools, which are often employed to proliferate malicious content as well (e.g. ransomware, Trojans and other malware).
Popular browsers such as Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox are common targets of browser hijackers. They reassign the default search engine, homepage, and new tab/window URLs to the addresses of bogus search engines. These seemingly minor modifications significantly affect the browsing experience. For example, with CapitaSearch installed, each search query typed into the URL bar and each new browser tab/window opened redirects to search.capita.space. Fake search engines have no real value to regular users and are unable to provide unique results. Therefore, they redirect to (or cause redirection chains leading to) legitimate search engines. The web searcher promoted by CapitaSearch (search.capita.space) cannot generate unique results, and so redirects to Yahoo (search.yahoo.com). Furthermore, access to browser settings can be restricted or denied by the browser hijacker, and any permitted changes made are automatically reset. Therefore, the only way of recovering the hijacked browser is by removing the software responsible. As mentioned, most browser hijackers have data tracking capabilities. 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 likely to contain personally identifiable information. Furthermore, this data is often shared with third parties (potentially, cyber criminals) seeking to misuse it for profit. To summarize, the presence of data-tracking software on systems can lead to financial loss, serious 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 Type||Browser Hijacker, Redirect, Search Hijacker, Toolbar, Unwanted New Tab.|
|Browser Extension(s)||CapitaSearch, Capita|
|Serving IP Address (search.capita.space)||18.104.22.168|
|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)||
To eliminate possible malware infections, scan your computer with legitimate antivirus software. Our security researchers recommend using Malwarebytes.
Find Local Classifieds, Download Apps Now, and DictionaryPro are some examples of other browser hijackers. They may seem legitimate and useful, however, browser hijackers tempt users into download/installation with offers of various features/capabilities. The functionality promised rarely works. This is typical of all PUAs, the only purpose of which is to generate revenue for the developers. Rather than delivering any real value, PUAs hijack browsers, force-open untrusted and malicious websites, run intrusive ad campaigns and collect private information.
How did CapitaSearch install on my computer?
PUAs are downloaded/installed not just 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. skipping steps and sections, etc.), many users risk missing any opt-out options. Some PUAs have "official" download web pages from which they are downloaded. Intrusive ads proliferate these applications as well - when clicked, they can execute scripts to stealthily download/install PUAs.
How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications
You are advised to research all products before download/installation or purchase. All downloads should be performed only from official and verified sources. Untrusted channels such as 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 the terms, study all available options, use the "Custom/Advanced" settings and opt-out of additional apps, tools, functions and so on. Intrusive advertisements may seem legitimate and harmless, however, they can redirect to dubious sites (e.g. gambling, pornography, adult-dating and others). If you encounter ads/redirects of this kind, check the system and remove all dubious applications and 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 managing the Google Chrome browser:
Appearance of CapitaSearch browser hijacker/search.capita.space redirect (GIF):
Instant automatic malware removal:
Manual threat removal might be a lengthy and complicated process that requires advanced computer skills. Malwarebytes is a professional automatic malware removal tool that is recommended to get rid of malware. Download it by clicking the button below:
- What is CapitaSearch?
- STEP 1. Uninstall CapitaSearch application using Control Panel.
- STEP 2. Remove search.capita.space redirect from Internet Explorer.
- STEP 3. Remove CapitaSearch browser hijacker from Google Chrome.
- STEP 4. Remove search.capita.space homepage and default search engine from Mozilla Firefox.
- STEP 5. Remove search.capita.space redirect from Safari.
- STEP 6. Remove rogue plug-ins from Microsoft Edge.
CapitaSearch browser hijacker removal:
Windows 7 users:
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:
Click Start, choose Settings and click Control Panel. Locate and click Add or Remove Programs.
Windows 10 and Windows 8 users:
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:
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.
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 that 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:
Remove malicious add-ons from Internet Explorer:
Click the "gear" 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:
Click the "gear" 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:
Click the "gear" 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".
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.
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.
Windows 8 users: Open Internet Explorer and click the gear icon. Select Internet Options.
In the opened window, select the Advanced tab.
Click the Reset button.
Confirm that you wish to reset Internet Explorer settings to default by clicking the Reset button.
Remove malicious extensions from Google Chrome:
Click the 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:
Click the 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:
To change your default search engine in Google Chrome: Click the 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".
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 (at the top right corner of Google Chrome) and select Settings. Scroll down to the bottom of the screen. Click the Advanced… link.
After scrolling to the bottom of the screen, click the Reset (Restore settings to their original defaults) button.
In the opened window, confirm that you wish to reset Google Chrome settings to default by clicking the Reset button.
Remove malicious plug-ins from Mozilla Firefox:
Click the Firefox menu (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:
To reset your homepage, click the Firefox menu (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:
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 button.
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, in the opened menu, click Help.
Select Troubleshooting Information.
In the opened window, click the Refresh Firefox button.
In the opened window, confirm that you wish to reset Mozilla Firefox settings to default by clicking the Refresh Firefox button.
Remove malicious extensions from Safari:
Make sure your Safari browser is active and click Safari menu, then select Preferences...
In the preferences window select the Extensions tab. Look for any recently installed suspicious extensions and uninstall them.
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.
In the preferences window select Search tab and make sure that your preferred Internet search engine is selected.
Make sure your Safari browser is active and click on Safari menu. From the drop down menu select Clear History and Website Data...
In the opened window select all history and click the Clear History button.
Remove malicious extensions from Microsoft Edge:
Click the Edge 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:
Click the Edge 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:
To change your default search engine in Microsoft Edge: Click the Edge 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 near it and select "Disable".
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 (at the top right corner of Microsoft Edge) and select Settings.
In the opened settings menu select Reset settings.
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.
- If this did not help, follow these alternative instructions explaining how to reset the Microsoft Edge browser.
A 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.
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.
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