Removing HDPDFConverterSearch browser hijacker and the redirects it causes
Written by Tomas Meskauskas on
What is HDPDFConverterSearch?
After analyzing the HDPDFConverterSearch browser extension, we determined that it operates as a browser hijacker. This piece of software modifies browser settings to promote the hdpdfconvertersearch.com fake search engine.
HDPDFConverterSearch browser hijacker overview
Following successful installation onto our test machine, HDPDFConverterSearch assigned hdpdfconvertersearch.com as the browser's default search engine and new tab/window and homepage URLs. Hence, when we opened a new browser tab/window or typed a search query into the URL bar - it caused a redirect to the hdpdfconvertersearch.com website.
Illegitimate search engines usually cannot provide search results, so they redirect to genuine ones. Hdpdfconvertersearch.com is not an exception to this. We observed it redirecting to Yahoo (search.yahoo.com) and nearbyme.io fake search engine. While nearbyme.io can generate search results - they are inaccurate and may promote dubious/malicious content.
Browser-hijacking software typically employs persistence-ensuring techniques to prevent users from restoring their browsers.
Furthermore, most browser hijackers have data tracking abilities, and this likely applies to HDPDFConverterSearch. Software of this type commonly targets browsing data (e.g., visited URLs, viewed webpages, searched queries, etc.), personally identifiable details, usernames/passwords, credit card numbers, etc. The gathered data is monetized via sale to third-parties (potentially, cyber criminals).
To summarize, the presence of browser-hijacking software like HDPDFConverterSearch on devices - can lead to system infections, severe privacy issues, financial losses, and even identity theft.
|Threat Type||Browser Hijacker, Redirect, Search Hijacker, Toolbar, Unwanted New Tab|
|Detection Names (hdpdfconvertersearch.com)||Heimdal Security (Malicious), Full List Of Detections (VirusTotal)|
|Serving IP Address (hdpdfconvertersearch.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.
Browser hijacker examples
We have analyzed thousands of browser hijackers; VideoSearches, Go Dark, SearchHDConverter, and Like Dark are just a few examples. Browser-hijacker software appears legitimate and offers "handy" features. However, these functions are seldom operational. Therefore, not only is this software useless, but it also endangers device/user safety.
How did HDPDFConverterSearch install on my computer?
Browser hijackers can be bundled (packed together) with ordinary programs. Download from dubious channels (e.g., unofficial and freeware websites, Peer-to-Peer sharing networks, etc.) and rushed installations (e.g., ignored terms, used "Easy/Quick" settings, etc.) - increase the risk of allowing bundled content into the system.
Browser-hijacking software can also have "official" download pages, and it is often spread via deceptive websites. These webpages are seldom accessed intentionally. Most users enter them through sites using rogue advertising networks, intrusive ads, spam browser notifications, mistyped URLs, and installed adware.
Intrusive advertisements proliferate browser hijackers as well. Upon being clicked, some of these adverts can execute scripts to make downloads/installations without user consent.
How to avoid installation of browser hijackers?
We strongly advise researching software and downloading from official/trustworthy channels. Furthermore, installation processes must be approached with caution. Therefore, we recommend reading terms, studying possible options, using the "Custom/Advanced" settings, and opting-out of all additions.
We also advise being vigilant when browsing - since fraudulent and malicious content tends to appear legitimate. For example, intrusive adverts look harmless yet redirect to highly questionable websites (e.g., gambling, pornography, adult-dating, etc.).
If you experience such advertisements and/or redirects, check the system and immediately remove all suspicious applications and browser extensions/plug-ins. If your computer is already infected with HDPDFConverterSearch, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows to automatically eliminate this browser hijacker.
Appearance of hdpdfconvertersearch.com redirecting to the nearbyme.io fake search engine (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 HDPDFConverterSearch?
- STEP 1. Uninstall HDPDFConverterSearch application using Control Panel.
- STEP 2. Remove HDPDFConverterSearch browser hijacker from Google Chrome.
- STEP 3. Remove hdpdfconvertersearch.com homepage and default search engine from Mozilla Firefox.
- STEP 4. Remove hdpdfconvertersearch.com redirect from Safari.
- STEP 5. Remove rogue plug-ins from Microsoft Edge.
HDPDFConverterSearch 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, "HDPDFConverterSearch"), select these entries and click "Uninstall" or "Remove".
After uninstalling the potentially unwanted applications (which cause browser redirects to the hdpdfconvertersearch.com website), scan your computer for any remaining unwanted components. To scan your computer, use recommended malware removal software.
HDPDFConverterSearch browser hijacker removal from Internet browsers:
Video showing how to remove browser redirects:
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 "HDPDFConverterSearch" 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 "HDPDFConverterSearch", look for a browser hijacker URL (hxxp://www.hdpdfconvertersearch.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 "hdpdfconvertersearch.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 hdpdfconvertersearch.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 "HDPDFConverterSearch", 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 "HDPDFConverterSearch", remove hxxp://hdpdfconvertersearch.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 hdpdfconvertersearch.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 hdpdfconvertersearch.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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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What is the purpose of forcing users to visit hdpdfconvertersearch.com website?
Browser hijackers cause redirects to fake search engines like hdpdfconvertersearch.com since through them - the developers generate revenue.
Is visiting hdpdfconvertersearch.com a threat to my privacy?
Most likely, yes. Sites like hdpdfconvertersearch.com usually collect (and sell) information about their visitors.
How did a browser hijacker infiltrate my computer?
Browser hijackers are primarily distributed via misleading promotional webpages, freeware and third-party download websites, online scams, P2P sharing networks, fake updates, spam browser notifications, and intrusive advertisements.
Will Combo Cleaner help me remove HDPDFConverterSearch browser hijacker?
Yes, Combo Cleaner can scan devices and eliminate all the browser-hijacking applications present. Note that manual removal (unaided by security programs) might not be a perfect solution when multiple browser hijackers have infiltrated the system. In some cases, when one browser hijacker is eliminated - the others simply re-install it. Additionally, removal-related settings may be inaccessible with browser-hijacking software installed. Therefore, browser hijackers must be removed thoroughly and all at once.
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