What is pdfsrch.com?
pdfsrch.com is the address of a fake search engine. These bogus search tools are typically unable to provide unique results. They are promoted by Potentially Unwanted Applications (PUAs) classified as browser hijackers.
Note that pdfsrch.com has been observed being promoted by the DoctoPDF, PDF Opener, MyDocsToPDF, ViewPDF, EasyConvert and Easy Conversion browser hijackers. This rogue software makes modifications to browser settings and restricts/denies access to them.
Additionally, most browser hijackers have data tracking capabilities, which are employed to monitor users' browsing activity.
Browser hijackers may seem legitimate and offer various "useful" functionalities, however, the advertised features are rarely operational. They target Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Internet Explorer and other popular browsers with large user bases.
Following successful infiltration, browser hijackers reassign the homepage, default search engine and new tab/widow URLs to the addresses of fake search engines. To elaborate, with a browser hijacker promoting pdfsrch.com installed, each new browser tab/window opened and each search made via the URL bar, redirects to pdfsrch.com.
As mentioned, bogus search engines are seldom capable of providing useful results, and so they tend to redirect to (or cause redirection chains ending with) Yahoo, Google, Bing and other genuine search engines. This is the case with pdfsrch.com, which redirects to Yahoo (search.yahoo.com) or Bing (bing.com).
Furthermore, recovering a hijacked browser is impossible without removing the software affecting it, since any changes users attempt to make to are automatically reset (if access is permitted at all). Most browser hijackers can track data.
They monitor browsing activity (URLs visited, pages viewed, search queries typed, etc.) and collect sensitive information extracted from it (IP addresses, geolocations and other details). This data is likely to contain personally identifiable information.
Furthermore, browser hijacker developers often monetize this information by sharing it with and/or selling it to third parties (potentially, cyber criminals). To summarize, the presence of data-tracking software can lead to financial loss, serious privacy issues and even identity theft.
To ensure device integrity and user safety, you are strongly advised to eliminate all suspect applications and browser extensions/plug-ins immediately upon detection.
|Name||pdfsrch.com browser hijacker|
|Threat Type||Browser Hijacker, Redirect, Search Hijacker, Toolbar, Unwanted New Tab.|
|Affected Browser Settings||Homepage, new tab URL, default search engine.|
|Serving IP Address||188.8.131.52|
|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.
mybrowser-search.com, searchred01.xyz, prudensearch.com and pdfmagicsearch.com are some examples of other bogus search engines. On initial inspection, they may seem genuine and useful, and they often claim that they can provide accurate search results, improve web search privacy and safety, etc, however, they typically cannot generate any search results at all.
In the rare cases when they can, the results tend to be inaccurate and/or promote untrusted/malicious websites.
How did pdfsrch.com install on my computer?
Some PUAs have "official" promotional web pages, from which they can be downloaded, however, they are more commonly downloaded/installed with other products. This deceptive marketing technique of pre-packing regular software with unwanted or malicious additions is called "bundling".
Rushing download/installation processes (e.g. ignoring terms, skipping steps, using pre-set options, etc.) increases the risk of inadvertent installation of dubious and/or bundled content. Intrusive advertisements proliferate these applications as well. Once clicked, they can execute scripts to download/install PUAs without users' consent.
How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications
You are advised to research all products prior to download/installation. Use only official and verified download channels. Untrusted download sources such as unofficial and free file-hosting websites, P2P sharing networks (BitTorrent, eMule, Gnutella, etc.) and other third party downloaders can offer deceptive and bundled content.
Therefore, they should be avoided. Treat download and installation processes with caution - read the terms, study all available options, use the "Custom" or "Advanced" settings, and opt-out of additional apps, tools, features, and so on. It is also important to exercise caution when browsing.
Intrusive ads usually seem normal, however, they often redirect to dubious sites (e.g. gambling, pornography, adult-dating, etc.).
If you encounter these ads/redirects, check the system and remove all suspicious applications and browsing extensions/plug-ins without delay. If your computer is already infected with browser hijackers, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows to automatically eliminate it.
Easy Conversion browser hijacker, which promotes pdfsrch.com, asking for various permissions:
Website used to promote Easy Conversion browser hijacker:
Appearance of pdfsrch.com redirecting to Yahoo (GIF):
Instant automatic malware removal:
Manual threat removal might be a lengthy and complicated process that requires advanced computer 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 pdfsrch.com?
- STEP 1. Uninstall unwanted applications using Control Panel.
- STEP 2. Remove pdfsrch.com redirect from Internet Explorer.
- STEP 3. Remove pdfsrch.com 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.
pdfsrch.com redirect 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, select these entries and click "Uninstall" or "Remove".
After uninstalling the potentially unwanted applications that 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.
pdfsrch.com redirect 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 "pdfsrch.com".
If you continue to have problems with removal of the pdfsrch.com browser hijacker, 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 all 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, 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 browser hijacker, 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 all 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 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 browser hijacker 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 browser hijacker, 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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