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Removal instructions for PDFSearches

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Metallica

Metallica

    Spyware Veteran

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Content is republished with permission from Malwarebytes.

What is PDFSearches?

The Malwarebytes research team has determined that PDFSearches is a search hijacker. These so-called "hijackers" manipulate your browser(s), for example to change your startpage or searchscopes, so that the affected browser visits their site or one of their choice.
This particular one is a search hijacker and uses web push notifications.

notifications.png

How do I know if my computer is affected by PDFSearches?

You may see this entry in your list of installed Chrome extensions:

main.png

and these warnings during install:

warning1.png

warning2.png

warning3.png

You will see this icon in your Chrome menu-bar:

icons.png

and this changed setting:

warning5.png

How did PDFSearches get on my computer?

Browser hijackers use different methods for distributing themselves. This particular one was downloaded from the webstore:

webstore.png

after a redirect from their website:

website.png

How do I remove PDFSearches?

Our program Malwarebytes can detect and remove this potentially unwanted program.
  • Please download Malwarebytes for Windows to your desktop.
  • Double-click MBSetup.exe and follow the prompts to install the program.
  • When your Malwarebytes for Windows installation completes, the program opens to the Welcome to Malwarebytes screen.
  • Click on the Get started button.
  • Click Scan to start a Threat Scan.
  • When the scan is finished click Quarantine to remove the found threats.
  • Reboot the system if prompted to complete the removal process.
Is there anything else I need to do to get rid of PDFSearches?
  • No, Malwarebytes removes PDFSearches completely.
  • If you have allowed the notifications you can read here how to disable them.
How would the full version of Malwarebytes help protect me?

We hope our application and this guide have helped you eradicate this hijacker.

As you can see below the full version of Malwarebytes would have protected you against the PDFSearches hijacker. It would have blocked their website, giving you a chance to stop before it became too late.

protection2.png


Technical details for experts

Possible signs in FRST logs:

CHR DefaultSearchURL: Default -> hxxps://feed.pdf-searches.com/?q={searchTerms}&publisher=pdfsearches&barcodeid=573210000000000
CHR DefaultSearchKeyword: Default -> PDFSearches
CHR DefaultSuggestURL: Default -> hxxps://api.pdf-searches.com/suggest/get?q={searchTerms}
CHR Extension: (PDFSearches) - C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Extensions\pcobomgbaidijbidjaolnbnpdkjoijga [2020-06-22]
Alterations made by the installer:

File system details [View: All details] (Selection)
---------------------------------------------------
    Adds the folder C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Extensions\pcobomgbaidijbidjaolnbnpdkjoijga\1.1.0_0
       Adds the file manifest.json"="6/22/2020 8:56 AM, 2079 bytes, A
    Adds the folder C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Extensions\pcobomgbaidijbidjaolnbnpdkjoijga\1.1.0_0\_metadata
       Adds the file computed_hashes.json"="6/22/2020 8:56 AM, 6255 bytes, A
       Adds the file verified_contents.json"="6/2/2020 12:31 PM, 2049 bytes, A
    Adds the folder C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Extensions\pcobomgbaidijbidjaolnbnpdkjoijga\1.1.0_0\images
       Adds the file logo-white-text.png"="6/2/2020 12:31 PM, 0 bytes, A
    Adds the folder C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Extensions\pcobomgbaidijbidjaolnbnpdkjoijga\1.1.0_0\images\icons
       Adds the file 128x128.png"="6/22/2020 8:56 AM, 5636 bytes, A
       Adds the file 16x16.png"="6/22/2020 8:56 AM, 586 bytes, A
       Adds the file 64x64.png"="6/22/2020 8:56 AM, 2679 bytes, A
    Adds the folder C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Extensions\pcobomgbaidijbidjaolnbnpdkjoijga\1.1.0_0\scripts
       Adds the file background.js"="6/2/2020 12:31 PM, 514563 bytes, A
       Adds the file sitecontent.js"="6/2/2020 12:31 PM, 77 bytes, A
    Adds the folder C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Sync Extension Settings\pcobomgbaidijbidjaolnbnpdkjoijga
       Adds the file 000003.log"="6/22/2020 9:01 AM, 811 bytes, A
       Adds the file CURRENT"="6/22/2020 8:56 AM, 16 bytes, A
       Adds the file LOCK"="6/22/2020 8:56 AM, 0 bytes, A
       Adds the file LOG"="6/22/2020 9:01 AM, 183 bytes, A
       Adds the file MANIFEST-000001"="6/22/2020 8:56 AM, 41 bytes, A
    Adds the folder C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Web Applications\_crx_pcobomgbaidijbidjaolnbnpdkjoijga
       Adds the file PDFSearches.ico"="6/22/2020 8:56 AM, 183585 bytes, A
       Adds the file PDFSearches.ico.md5"="6/22/2020 8:56 AM, 16 bytes, A

Registry details [View: All details] (Selection)
------------------------------------------------
    [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Google\Chrome\PreferenceMACs\Default\extensions.settings]
       "pcobomgbaidijbidjaolnbnpdkjoijga"="REG_SZ", "D9DD58C67FD675514C55010336AE17D400628D7FCD4DAC5C9A30B4974C3BA554"
Malwarebytes log:

Malwarebytes
www.malwarebytes.com

-Log Details-
Scan Date: 6/22/20
Scan Time: 9:14 AM
Log File: 0752051c-b458-11ea-ace4-00ffdcc6fdfc.json

-Software Information-
Version: 4.1.0.56
Components Version: 1.0.931
Update Package Version: 1.0.25853
License: Premium

-System Information-
OS: Windows 7 Service Pack 1
CPU: x64
File System: NTFS
User: {computername}\{username}

-Scan Summary-
Scan Type: Threat Scan
Scan Initiated By: Manual
Result: Completed
Objects Scanned: 231500
Threats Detected: 11
Threats Quarantined: 11
Time Elapsed: 3 min, 39 sec

-Scan Options-
Memory: Enabled
Startup: Enabled
Filesystem: Enabled
Archives: Enabled
Rootkits: Disabled
Heuristics: Enabled
PUP: Detect
PUM: Detect

-Scan Details-
Process: 0
(No malicious items detected)

Module: 0
(No malicious items detected)

Registry Key: 0
(No malicious items detected)

Registry Value: 1
Adware.SearchEngineHijack.Generic, HKCU\SOFTWARE\GOOGLE\CHROME\PREFERENCEMACS\Default\extensions.settings|pcobomgbaidijbidjaolnbnpdkjoijga, Quarantined, 15193, 799722, , , , 

Registry Data: 0
(No malicious items detected)

Data Stream: 0
(No malicious items detected)

Folder: 2
Adware.SearchEngineHijack.Generic, C:\USERS\{username}\APPDATA\LOCAL\GOOGLE\CHROME\USER DATA\Default\Sync Extension Settings\pcobomgbaidijbidjaolnbnpdkjoijga, Quarantined, 15193, 799722, , , , 
Adware.SearchEngineHijack.Generic, C:\USERS\{username}\APPDATA\LOCAL\GOOGLE\CHROME\USER DATA\DEFAULT\EXTENSIONS\PCOBOMGBAIDIJBIDJAOLNBNPDKJOIJGA, Quarantined, 15193, 799722, 1.0.25853, , ame, 

File: 8
Adware.SearchEngineHijack.Generic, C:\USERS\{username}\APPDATA\LOCAL\GOOGLE\CHROME\USER DATA\Default\Secure Preferences, Replaced, 15193, 799722, , , , 
Adware.SearchEngineHijack.Generic, C:\USERS\{username}\APPDATA\LOCAL\GOOGLE\CHROME\USER DATA\Default\Preferences, Replaced, 15193, 799722, , , , 
Adware.SearchEngineHijack.Generic, C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Sync Extension Settings\pcobomgbaidijbidjaolnbnpdkjoijga\000003.log, Quarantined, 15193, 799722, , , , 
Adware.SearchEngineHijack.Generic, C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Sync Extension Settings\pcobomgbaidijbidjaolnbnpdkjoijga\CURRENT, Quarantined, 15193, 799722, , , , 
Adware.SearchEngineHijack.Generic, C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Sync Extension Settings\pcobomgbaidijbidjaolnbnpdkjoijga\LOCK, Quarantined, 15193, 799722, , , , 
Adware.SearchEngineHijack.Generic, C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Sync Extension Settings\pcobomgbaidijbidjaolnbnpdkjoijga\LOG, Quarantined, 15193, 799722, , , , 
Adware.SearchEngineHijack.Generic, C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Sync Extension Settings\pcobomgbaidijbidjaolnbnpdkjoijga\MANIFEST-000001, Quarantined, 15193, 799722, , , , 
Adware.SearchEngineHijack.Generic, C:\USERS\{username}\APPDATA\LOCAL\GOOGLE\CHROME\USER DATA\DEFAULT\EXTENSIONS\PCOBOMGBAIDIJBIDJAOLNBNPDKJOIJGA\1.1.0_0\MANIFEST.JSON, Quarantined, 15193, 799722, 1.0.25853, , ame, 

Physical Sector: 0
(No malicious items detected)

WMI: 0
(No malicious items detected)


(end)
As mentioned before the full version of Malwarebytes could have protected your computer against this threat.
We use different ways of protecting your computer(s):
  • Dynamically Blocks Malware Sites & Servers
  • Malware Execution Prevention
Save yourself the hassle and get protected.
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