What is DoctoPDF?
DoctoPDF is a browser hijacker, advertised as a tool capable of converting doc file format to PDF documents. Following successful installation, this piece of software modifies browsers in order to promote pdfsrch.com - a fake search engine. Additionally, DoctoPDF spies on users' browsing activity.
Due to this browser hijackers dubious proliferation methods, it is considered to be a PUA (Potentially Unwanted Application).
Popular browsers like Google Chrome, Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox are common targets of browser hijackers. They assign the addresses of illegitimate web searchers as browsers' default search engine, homepage and new tab/window URLs.
With a browser hijacker infiltrated into the browser/system, every single search query typed into the URL bar and new browser tab/window opened - redirect to the promoted address. DoctoPDF promotes pdfsrch.com in this manner, hence the aforementioned actions redirect to the fake search engine.
These illegitimate web searching tools have no genuine value to users as they are typically unable to generate search results, so they tend to redirect (or cause redirection chains leading) to Google, Yahoo, Bing and other legitimate search engines. This is the case with pdfsrch.com as well - it redirects to Yahoo (search.yahoo.com).
Furthermore, any changes users attempt to make can be automatically undone, if access to the browsers' settings is permitted at all. Therefore, it is impossible to recover an affected browser without removing the browser hijacker. As mentioned in the introduction, DoctoPDF has data tracking abilities.
It can monitor browsing activity (URLs visited, webpages viewed, search queries, etc.) and collect users' personal information (IP addresses, geolocations and other details). It is highly likely for this sensitive data to be shared with third parties (potentially, cyber criminals), seeking to misuse it for financial gain.
In summary, presence of data-tracking content on systems can lead to financial loss, serious privacy issues and even identity theft. To protect device integrity and user safety, it is strongly recommended to eliminate all suspect applications and browser extensions/plug-ins without delay.
|Threat Type||Browser Hijacker, Redirect, Search Hijacker, Toolbar, Unwanted New Tab|
|Supposed Functionality||File format conversion (doc to PDF)|
|Serving IP Address (pdfsrch.com)||220.127.116.11|
|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 Combo Cleaner.
Quick To Email, Manuals Finder, Find Local Classifieds are a couple examples of browser hijackers. This software usually appears legitimate and useful. They tempt users into download/installation with offers of various "handy" functionalities. While the promised features differ, browser hijackers operate in much the same fashion.
Additionally, the advertised functionalities are rarely operational. In fact, this applies to all PUAs. Unwanted apps have but one goal - to generate profit at user expense; hence, functionality and user safety are irrelevant.
Instead of delivering on any promises, PUAs modify browsers, cause redirects, deliver intrusive ad (e.g. pop-up, banner, coupon, etc.) campaigns and track private information.
How did DoctoPDF install on my computer?
Select PUAs (e.g. DoctoPDF) have "official" promotional pages, from which they can be downloaded. These apps can also be downloaded/installed together with other products. This deceptive marketing tactic of pre-packing ordinary software together with unwanted or malicious additions - is called "bundling".
While there are often opt-out options available, by skipping steps and sections - users can miss them and unintentionally allow bundled content into their device. Intrusive advertisements can infiltrate such applications into systems as well. Upon being clicked, they can execute scripts designed to download/install PUAs, without user consent.
How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications?
All products must be researched before download/installation and/or purchase. It is recommended to always use official and verified download channels.
Untrustworthy sources, like: unofficial and free file-hosting (freeware) websites, Peer-to-Peer sharing networks (BitTorrent, Gnutella, eMule, etc.) and other third party downloaders - commonly offer deceptive and/or bundled content; therefore, they are advised against use.
When downloading/installing, it is important to read terms, explore all possible options, use the "Custom/Advanced" settings and opt-out from supplementary apps, tools, functions and other additions. Intrusive adverts appear legitimate and harmless, however they redirect to various unreliable and questionable sites (e.g. adult-dating, pornography, gambling and others).
In case of encounters with ads/redirects of this kind, users should inspect the system and immediately remove all suspicious applications and/or browser extensions/plug-ins from it. If your computer is already infected with DoctoPDF, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows to automatically eliminate this browser hijacker.
DoctoPDF browser hijacker asking for various permissions:
Website promoting DoctoPDF browser hijacker:
Another site used to promote DoctoPDF browser hijacker:
Instant automatic malware removal:
Manual threat removal might be a lengthy and complicated process that requires advanced IT skills. Combo Cleaner is a professional automatic malware removal tool that is recommended to get rid of malware. Download it by clicking the button below:
- What is DoctoPDF?
- STEP 1. Uninstall DoctoPDF application using Control Panel.
- STEP 2. Remove pdfsrch.com redirect from Internet Explorer.
- STEP 3. Remove DoctoPDF browser hijacker from Google Chrome.
- STEP 4. Remove pdfsrch.com homepage and default search engine from Mozilla Firefox.
- STEP 5. Remove pdfsrch.com redirect from Safari.
- STEP 6. Remove rogue plug-ins from Microsoft Edge.
DoctoPDF browser hijacker removal:
Windows 11 users:
Right-click on the Start icon, select Apps and Features. In the opened window search for the application you want to uninstall, after locating it, click on the three vertical dots and select Uninstall.
Windows 10 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.
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.
macOS (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, "DoctoPDF"), select these entries and click "Uninstall" or "Remove".
After uninstalling the potentially unwanted applications (which cause browser redirects to the pdfsrch.com website), scan your computer for any remaining unwanted components. To scan your computer, use recommended malware removal software.
DoctoPDF 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://pdfsrch.com 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 "DoctoPDF".
If you continue to have problems with removal of the pdfsrch.com 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 "DoctoPDF" 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 "DoctoPDF", look for a browser hijacker URL (hxxp://www.pdfsrch.com) 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 "pdfsrch.com", 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 pdfsrch.com 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 plugins from Mozilla Firefox:
Click the Firefox menu (at the top right corner of the main window), select "Add-ons". Click on "Extensions" and remove "DoctoPDF", 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 "DoctoPDF", remove hxxp://pdfsrch.com 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 pdfsrch.com 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 pdfsrch.com 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.
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