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Removing the Capital Buff browser hijacker and the redirects it causes

Also Known As: capital-buff.com redirect
Damage level: Medium

What is Capital Buff?

While investigating suspicious software-promoting websites, we discovered the Capital Buff browser extension. The page endorsing it described this software as an efficiency-increasing tool that has a to-do list widget and is capable of organizing browser bookmarks.

After analyzing Capital Buff, we learned that it is a browser hijacker. In other words, this extension modifies browsers to promote the capital-buff.com fake search engine and spies on users' browsing activity.

capital-buff.com browser hijacker

Capital Buff browser hijacker overview

Following installation on our test machine, Capital Buff changed the browser's default search engine, homepage, and new tab/window URLs – to the capital-buff.com website. Hence, whenever a new browser tab/window was opened or a search query was entered into the URL bar – it resulted in a redirect to this fake search engine.

Additionally, like most browser hijackers, Capital Buff employs persistence-ensuring techniques to prevent users from recovering their browsers.

Illegitimate search engines usually cannot provide search results, so they redirect to genuine ones. This also applies to capital-buff.com; at the time of research, it redirected to the Bing search engine (bing.com). However, this site might land elsewhere since redirects may depend on various factors (e.g., user geolocation, etc.).

Furthermore, Capital Buff has data-tracking abilities. Targeted information may include: visited URLs, viewed webpages, searched queries, bookmarks, usernames/passwords, personally identifiable details, finance-related data, etc. The gathered information can be sold to third-parties or otherwise abused for profit.

To summarize, the presence of browser-hijacking software like Capital Buff on devices can lead to system infections, serious privacy issues, financial losses, and even identity theft.

Threat Summary:
Name Capital Buff
Threat Type Browser Hijacker, Redirect, Search Hijacker, Toolbar, Unwanted New Tab
Browser Extension(s) Capital Buff
Supposed Functionality Efficiency tool that allows users to create to-do lists, and it can manage browser bookmarks.
Promoted URL capital-buff.com
Detection Names (capital-buff.com) N/A (VirusTotal)
Serving IP Address (capital-buff.com) 18.64.183.126
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).
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.
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To use full-featured product, you have to purchase a license for Combo Cleaner. 7 days free trial available. Combo Cleaner is owned and operated by Rcs Lt, the parent company of PCRisk.com read more.

Browser hijacker examples

World Clock TabGames DayArt TabRacing Cars Tab, and Nature NewTab Extension are merely some examples of browser hijackers we have analyzed recently.

This software usually appears harmless and offers handy functionalities. However, the features seldom work as promised, and in most cases – they do not work at all. Even if the functions operate as indicated by the software's promotional material – that is not proof of its legitimacy or safety.

How did Capital Buff install on my computer?

We obtained Capital Buff from its "official" promotional webpage. In addition to such sites, browser hijackers are endorsed by deceptive/scam websites. Most users enter such pages via redirects caused by misspelled URLs, sites using rogue advertising networks, spam browser notifications, intrusive ads, or installed adware.

"Bundling" – packing ordinary program installers with unwanted/malicious additions – is also used to distribute browser-hijacking software. Download from dubious channels (e.g., freeware and third-party sites, P2P sharing networks, etc.) and rushed installation (e.g., used "Quick/Easy" settings, etc.) increase the risk of allowing bundled content into the device.

Browser hijackers are proliferated through intrusive advertisements as well. When clicked on, some of the adverts can execute scripts to perform downloads/installations without user permission.

How to avoid installation of browser hijackers?

We strongly recommend researching software and downloading it from official/trustworthy sources. Installation must be treated with caution, e.g., by reading terms, inspecting available options, using the "Custom/Advanced" settings, and opting out of additional applications, extensions, tools, etc.

We advise being vigilant when browsing since fake and malicious content typically appears legitimate and innocuous. For example, intrusive adverts may look harmless yet redirect to highly questionable websites (e.g., adult dating, pornography, gambling, etc.).

If you keep experiencing such ads/redirects, check the device and immediately remove all suspicious applications and browser extensions/plug-ins. If your computer is already infected with Capital Buff, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows to automatically eliminate this browser hijacker.

Appearance of capital-buff.com redirecting to the Bing search engine (GIF):

Capital Buff browser hijacker redirecting to Bing (GIF)

Permissions asked by Capital Buff browser hijacker:

Capital Buff browser hijacker asking for permissions

Websites promoting Capital Buff browser hijacker:

Sample 1:

Website used to promote Capital Buff browser hijacker (sample 1)

Sample 2:

Website used to promote Capital Buff browser hijacker (sample 2)

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▼ DOWNLOAD Combo Cleaner By downloading any software listed on this website you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. To use full-featured product, you have to purchase a license for Combo Cleaner. 7 days free trial available. Combo Cleaner is owned and operated by Rcs Lt, the parent company of PCRisk.com read more.

Quick menu:

Capital Buff browser hijacker removal:

Windows 11 users:

Accessing Apps and Features in Windows 11

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:

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.

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.

macOS (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.

Browser-hijacking application 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, scan your computer for any remaining unwanted components. To scan your computer, use recommended malware removal software.

Capital Buff browser hijacker removal from Internet browsers:

Video showing how to remove Capital Buff browser hijacker using Combo Cleaner:

Google Chrome logoRemove malicious extensions from Google Chrome:

Removing capital-buff.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 "Capital Buff" and other recently-installed suspicious extensions, select these entries and click "Remove".

Change your homepage:

Removing capital-buff.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, disable "Capital Buff", look for a browser hijacker URL (hxxp://www.capital-buff.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 capital-buff.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 "capital-buff.com", when located click the three vertical dots near this URL and select "Delete".

  • If you continue to have problems with browser redirects and unwanted advertisements - Reset Google Chrome.

Optional method:

If you continue to have problems with removal of the capital-buff.com redirect, 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 extensions from Mozilla Firefox:

Removing capital-buff.com related Mozilla Firefox extensions

Click the Firefox menu firefox menu icon (at the top right corner of the main window), select "Add-ons and themes". Click "Extensions", in the opened window locate "Capital Buff", as well as all recently-installed suspicious extensions, click on the three dots and then click "Remove".

Change your homepage:

Removing capital-buff.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 "Settings", in the opened window disable "Capital Buff", remove hxxp://capital-buff.com and enter your preferred domain, which will open each time you start Mozilla Firefox.

Change your default search engine:

Removing capital-buff.com from Mozilla Firefox default search engine

In the URL address bar, type "about:config" and press Enter. Click "Accept the Risk and Continue".

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 capital-buff.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, 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 capital-buff.com redirect, 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.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is the purpose of forcing users to visit capital-buff.com website?

Cyber criminals (i.e., developers of browser hijackers and fake search engines) generate revenue through redirects to websites like capital-buff.com.

Is visiting capital-buff.com a threat to my privacy?

Most likely, yes. Sites like capital-buff.com typically collect information about their visitors.

How did a browser hijacker infiltrate my computer?

Browser hijackers are most commonly spread through deceptive promotional webpages, bundled installation setups, freeware and free file-hosting websites, P2P sharing networks, online scams, spam browser notifications, and intrusive advertisements.

Will Combo Cleaner help me remove Capital Buff browser hijacker?

Yes, Combo Cleaner is capable of scanning computers and eliminating installed browser-hijacking apps. Keep in mind that manual removal (unaided by security software) might be ineffective, especially when multiple browser hijackers are present. Since when one is removed – the others may simply reinstall it. What is more, removal-related settings might be unmodifiable with this software installed. Therefore, it is crucial to eliminate browser hijackers thoroughly and all at once.

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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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Malware activity

Global malware activity level today:

Medium threat activity

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

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