How to stop getting redirected to and from pdfsrch.com?

Also Known As: pdfsrch.com browser hijacker
Distribution: Low
Damage level: Medium

Pdfsrch.com redirect removal instructions

What is pdfsrch.com?

Pdfsrch.com is the address of a fake search engines. These illegitimate web searching tools are typically unable to provide search results. They are promoted by PUAs (Potentially Unwanted Applications) classified as browser hijackers. Pdfsrch.com has been observed being promoted by 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 abilities, which are employed to spy on users' browsing activity.

pdfsrch.com browser hijacker

Browser hijackers appear legitimate and offer various "useful" functionalities. However, the advertised features are rarely operational. They are designed to target Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Internet Explorer and other popular browsers with large user bases. Following successful infiltration, browser hijackers reassign browsers' homepage, default search engine and new tab/widow URLs to the addresses of fake web searchers. To elaborate, with a browser hijacker promoting pdfsrch.com installed: every new browser tab/window opened and every single web search done via the URL bar - redirect to pdfsrch.com. As mentioned in the introduction, illegitimate web searchers are seldom capable of actually providing search results, 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, it redirects either 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 tot make to their browsers can be automatically reset, if access to the settings is permitted at all. Most browser hijackers can track data. They can 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 highly likely to contain personally identifiable information. What is more, browser hijacker developers often monetize this information by sharing it with and/or selling it to third parties (potentially, cyber criminals). To summarize, presence of data-tracking software can lead to financial losses, severe privacy issues and even identity theft. To ensure device integrity and user safety, it is strongly recommended to eliminate all suspect applications and browser extensions/plug-ins immediately upon detection.

Threat Summary:
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 54.230.209.20
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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Mybrowser-search.comsearchred01.xyzprudensearch.com and pdfmagicsearch.com are some examples of other illegitimate search engines. At first glance, they may appear genuine and useful. These web searchers often claim that they can provide accurate search results, improve web search privacy and safety, etc. However, they typically cannot generate search results at all. In the rare cases when they can, the results tend to be inaccurate and/or promote untrustworthy/malicious websites.

How did pdfsrch.com install on my computer?

Some PUAs have "official" promotional webpages, from which they can be downloaded. However, they are more commonly downloaded/installed together with other products. This deceptive marketing technique of pre-packing regular software with unwanted or malicious additions - is called "bundling". Rushed download/installation processes (e.g. ignored terms, skipped steps and sections, used pre-set options, etc.) - increase the risk of inadvertent installation of dubious and/or bundled content. Intrusive advertisements proliferate these applications as well. Once clicked on, they can execute scripts to download/install PUAs without user consent.

How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications?

It is recommended to always research products prior to download/installation. Only official and verified download channels should be used. Untrustworthy download sources, like: 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 are advised against use. Download and installation processes must be treated with care; that includes - reading terms, studying all available options, using the "Custom" or "Advanced" settings and opting-out from additional apps, tools, features, and so on. It is just as important to exercise caution when browsing. Intrusive adverts usually look ordinary, however they redirect to various unreliable and questionable sites (e.g. gambling, pornography, adult-dating, etc.). In case of encounters with such ads/redirects, the system must be inspected and all suspicious applications and/or browsing extensions/plug-ins removed without delay. If your computer is already infected with browser hijackers, we recommend running a scan with Malwarebytes for Windows to automatically eliminate it.

Easy Conversion browser hijacker, which promotes pdfsrch.com, asking for various permissions:

pdfsrch.com promoting browser hijacker asking for permissions

Website used to promote Easy Conversion browser hijacker:

Easy conversion browser hijacker promoter

Appearance of pdfsrch.com redirecting to Yahoo (GIF):

pdfsrch.com redirects to Yahoo gif

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Quick menu:

pdfsrch.com redirect 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.

pdfsrch.com browser hijacker uninstall via Control Panel

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 (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.

pdfsrch.com redirect removal from Internet browsers:

Video showing how to remove browser redirects:

Internet Explorer logoRemove malicious add-ons from Internet Explorer:

Removing pdfsrch.com 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 pdfsrch.com 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://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:

Removing pdfsrch.com 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 "pdfsrch.com".

Optional method:

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.

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 pdfsrch.com 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 all recently-installed suspicious browser add-ons and remove them.

Change your homepage:

Removing pdfsrch.com 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, 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:

Removing pdfsrch.com 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 "pdfsrch.com" 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 pdfsrch.com browser hijacker, 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 pdfsrch.com 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 all recently installed browser plug-ins.

Change your homepage:

Removing pdfsrch.com 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 remove hxxp://pdfsrch.com and enter your preferred domain, which will open each time you start Mozilla Firefox.

Change your default search engine:

Removing pdfsrch.com 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 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, 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 pdfsrch.com browser hijacker, 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 pdfsrch.com browser hijacker from your Internet browsers, please ask for assistance in our malware support forum.

Post a comment:
If you have additional information on pdfsrch.com browser hijacker or it's removal please share your knowledge in the comments section below.

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.

PCrisk security portal is brought by a company RCS LT. Joined forces of security researchers help educate computer users about the latest online security threats. More information about the company RCS LT.

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Software uninstall instructions
Malware activity

Global malware activity level today:

Medium threat activity

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

QR Code
pdfsrch.com browser hijacker 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 pdfsrch.com browser hijacker on your mobile device.
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