If you thought browser hijackers are harmless, tough luck. Yes, they only change the appearance of your default browser without your consent and then perform redirects. However, the danger lies in knowing the actual characteristics of a browser hijacker.
More of a virus in action, browser hijackers can monitor your online activities, install tracking cookies, as well as capture valuable information and share it with third-parties.
Browser hijackers are designed to generate revenue for the perpetrators through clicks and site visits. The intrusive ads that redirect the user to another site when they attempt to close it as well as information collected to be shared with third-parties are a few ways these sort of programs generate income.
This is just the tip of the iceberg. Read more to find out.
Take for instance GetPDFConverterSearch, a rogue program that poses as a legitimate search engine only to demonstrate browser hijacking traits once installed. The program is designed to promote getpdfconvertersearch.com, which is an illegitimate search engine. It changes your browser configurations so that it can easily perform its dubious activities without interference.
Like other browser hijackers, GetPDFConverterSearch has tracking abilities that allow it to capture vital browsing-related data. And due to the dubious techniques used by the developers to distribute it, it is identified as a potentially unwanted app (PUA) by many reliable security software programs.
Moreover, it redirects search queries to search.yahoo.com, proving to be a fake search engine.
What Does GetPDFConverterSearch Do?
Once the GetPDFConverterSearch browser hijacker infiltrates the system, users experience the following symptoms on their devices:
- The default web browser search engine is changed to feed.pdfconverter-search.com, which redirects queries to search.yahoo.com
- A program, together with a browser extension called PDFConverterSearch, gets installed in your system
- Multiple unknown programs start emerging in your computer
- Users experience intrusive ads that redirect to insecure sites
- The user can no longer configure their default browser settings
Once a device gets infected by the GetPDFConverterSearch browser hijacker, it becomes more vulnerable to virus attacks. Constant visits to insecure sites can lead to malicious infection. Therefore, once you start experiencing symptoms of this browser hijacker, you must act swiftly and remove it permanently.
You may be wondering how you got this PUA. Well, such malicious content cannot self-execute. This means they need human input to install in your system. This is the reason why the techniques used are focused on tricking the user into thinking the app is legitimate. When the unsuspecting user is tricked and decides to install the app, it will then start to behave as intended.
Such programs are distributed through dubious ads that pop-up as notifications alerting the user of poor system performance or an error that can be fixed by a recommended app. The unsuspecting user doesn’t know that the recommended app will only install a browser hijacker and other malicious programs in their system.
Another effective method used by malicious developers is software bundling. The developers advertise supposedly legitimate software. At times, they offer paid software for free but then lace the installer with a malicious installer. The extra program is then set to install automatically if the user selects Recommended or Express installation processes. However, to avoid such, you must always select a Custom or Advanced installation process, which will give you the liberty to choose what to install.
How to Remove GetPDFConverterSearch?
The removal process of GetPDFConverterSearch can appear overwhelming. However, we have laid it out in a more comprehensive structure. The solutions provided must be followed in their recommended order to achieve better results.
Solution #1: Get Rid of GetPDFConverterSearch from the System
Since this malware makes it difficult for the user to access the browser settings, it is best to start by removing its roots from the system. To do so, follow the steps below:
- Press the Windows key, and then type Control Panel before hitting the Enter key.
- Now, look for Programs and Features options and click to open it.
- Check among the installed programs anything related to GetPDFConverterSearch. If you find anything suspicious or a program you don’t recognize, click it, and then select the Uninstall button at the top.
- Repeat the same procedure until you are certain all suspicious programs have been removed.
- Close the window and restart the system.
Solution #2: Use a Reliable Security Software to Perform a Full System Scan
To err is human. Therefore, the chances of you missing some of the malicious programs in the first step are high. This is the reason why you must download and install reliable security software. Once installed, run a full system scan, and then quarantine or remove everything flagged as malicious. Once done, restart the computer and move to the next solution.
Solution #3: Remove GetPDFConverterSearch from the Browser
Now that you have removed the hindrance to the browser settings, you can get rid of the GetPDFConverterSearch browser hijacker. Here is how you can do it on Google Chrome:
- Access the browser and click on the 3 dotted icon to access the menu.
- Click on the Settings option before selecting Search Engine.
- Choose Manage search engines, and then select Google as your default search engine.
- Find GetPDFConverterSearch and remove it from the list of search engines.
- Now, on the left pane, select Extensions.
- Go through the list of installed extensions and click on the Remove button next to the suspicious extension to get rid of it. Repeat the same process to all extensions that you don’t recognize.
- When done, click on the Settings tab at the top.
- Hover to the left pane again and this time, select the Reset and clean up option.
- Choose Restore settings to their original defaults, and then click on the Reset settings to confirm the action.
- When done, close the browser and restart the system.
Solution #4: Perform an SFC Scan
The chances of the virus tempering with important system files are high. So, even after removing it entirely from the system, you might still experience system crashes due to corrupt files. Therefore, to solve the issue, you must run an SFC scan. Here is how:
- Press Windows + R keys, and then type cmd into the text field before hitting the Ctrl + Shift + Enter keys simultaneously.
- Click on the Yes button when prompted by the UAC to launch Command Prompt with Admin privileges.
- Now, inside the Command Prompt, type sfc /scannow and hit the Enter key.
- Wait for the process to complete, and then restart the system.
Although browser hijackers are not necessarily viruses by nature, they do possess harmful traits. This means they must not be taken lightly and should be dealt with immediately. To top that, a browser hijacker can affect productivity and lower system performances. It can carry out various processes in the background, which creates an excess load on the CPU and other system resources. Keep your computer clean and tidy with a reliable anti-malware security software to enjoy a stress-free online browsing experience.