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Removal instructions for PDFSearchz

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#1
Metallica

Metallica

    Spyware Veteran

  • GeekU Moderator
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Content is republished with permission from Malwarebytes.

What is PDFSearchz?

The Malwarebytes research team has determined that PDFSearchz 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.

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

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

main.png

and this changed setting:

warning5.png

You may have noticed these warnings during install:

warning1.png

warning2.png

warning3.png

warning4.png

How did PDFSearchz 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 PDFSearchz?

Our program Malwarebytes can detect and remove this search hijacker.
  • 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 PDFSearchz?
  • No, Malwarebytes removes PDFSearchz completely.
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 PDFSearchz hijacker. It would have blocked their website, giving you a chance to stop it before it became too late.

protection1.png


Technical details for experts

Possible signs in FRST logs:

CHR DefaultSearchURL: Default -> hxxps://feed.pdf-searchz.com/?q={searchTerms}&publisher=pdfsearchz&barcodeid=573640000000000
CHR DefaultSearchKeyword: Default -> PDFSearchz
CHR DefaultSuggestURL: Default -> hxxps://api.pdf-searchz.com/suggest/get?q={searchTerms}
CHR Extension: (PDFSearchz) - C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Extensions\pglpalgpiohhbjhgpeajfoeedbpgogfi [2020-10-02]
Alterations made by the installer:

File system details  
---------------------------------------------
    Adds the folder C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Extensions\pglpalgpiohhbjhgpeajfoeedbpgogfi\1.1.0_0
       Adds the file manifest.json"="10/2/2020 12:15 PM, 2067 bytes, A
    Adds the folder C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Extensions\pglpalgpiohhbjhgpeajfoeedbpgogfi\1.1.0_0\_metadata
       Adds the file computed_hashes.json"="10/2/2020 12:15 PM, 6255 bytes, A
       Adds the file verified_contents.json"="6/2/2020 12:45 PM, 2049 bytes, A
    Adds the folder C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Extensions\pglpalgpiohhbjhgpeajfoeedbpgogfi\1.1.0_0\images
       Adds the file logo-white-text.png"="6/2/2020 12:45 PM, 0 bytes, A
    Adds the folder C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Extensions\pglpalgpiohhbjhgpeajfoeedbpgogfi\1.1.0_0\images\icons
       Adds the file 128x128.png"="10/2/2020 12:15 PM, 5636 bytes, A
       Adds the file 16x16.png"="10/2/2020 12:15 PM, 586 bytes, A
       Adds the file 64x64.png"="10/2/2020 12:15 PM, 2679 bytes, A
    Adds the folder C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Extensions\pglpalgpiohhbjhgpeajfoeedbpgogfi\1.1.0_0\scripts
       Adds the file background.js"="6/2/2020 12:45 PM, 514547 bytes, A
       Adds the file sitecontent.js"="6/2/2020 12:45 PM, 77 bytes, A
    Adds the folder C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Sync Extension Settings\pglpalgpiohhbjhgpeajfoeedbpgogfi
       Adds the file 000003.log"="10/2/2020 12:17 PM, 767 bytes, A
       Adds the file CURRENT"="10/2/2020 12:15 PM, 16 bytes, A
       Adds the file LOCK"="10/2/2020 12:15 PM, 0 bytes, A
       Adds the file LOG"="10/2/2020 12:15 PM, 183 bytes, A
       Adds the file MANIFEST-000001"="10/2/2020 12:15 PM, 41 bytes, A
    Adds the folder C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Web Applications\_crx_pglpalgpiohhbjhgpeajfoeedbpgogfi
       Adds the file PDFSearchz.ico"="10/2/2020 12:15 PM, 183585 bytes, A
       Adds the file PDFSearchz.ico.md5"="10/2/2020 12:15 PM, 16 bytes, A

Registry details  
------------------------------------------
    [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Google\Chrome\PreferenceMACs\Default\extensions.settings]
       "pglpalgpiohhbjhgpeajfoeedbpgogfi"="REG_SZ", "30FAC30DD7C71DFADB1C505C9359B18D2D9516BAEEC2F2CFABEF6915F9214D44"
Malwarebytes log:

Malwarebytes
www.malwarebytes.com

-Log Details-
Scan Date: 10/2/20
Scan Time: 12:24 PM
Log File: 79894be0-0499-11eb-85ae-00ffdcc6fdfc.json

-Software Information-
Version: 4.2.1.89
Components Version: 1.0.1045
Update Package Version: 1.0.30660
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: 231745
Threats Detected: 11
Threats Quarantined: 11
Time Elapsed: 5 min, 47 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|pglpalgpiohhbjhgpeajfoeedbpgogfi, Quarantined, 15382, 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\pglpalgpiohhbjhgpeajfoeedbpgogfi, Quarantined, 15382, 799722, , , , , , 
Adware.SearchEngineHijack.Generic, C:\USERS\{username}\APPDATA\LOCAL\GOOGLE\CHROME\USER DATA\DEFAULT\EXTENSIONS\PGLPALGPIOHHBJHGPEAJFOEEDBPGOGFI, Quarantined, 15382, 799722, 1.0.30660, , ame, , , 

File: 8
Adware.SearchEngineHijack.Generic, C:\USERS\{username}\APPDATA\LOCAL\GOOGLE\CHROME\USER DATA\Default\Secure Preferences, Replaced, 15382, 799722, , , , , F60C271743752ED5ECF09928559178F0, 687DDF645690A1987205E7FE8E4ECC0429C2FA572E68469B067CBF9B7789A0DF
Adware.SearchEngineHijack.Generic, C:\USERS\{username}\APPDATA\LOCAL\GOOGLE\CHROME\USER DATA\Default\Preferences, Replaced, 15382, 799722, , , , , E6E0B91E1970090F0545B9281C0A71ED, 1B465C503EBFD43A42AC7D14F7205058501C41D085CB3F67DCB00B5E2EE46F39
Adware.SearchEngineHijack.Generic, C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Sync Extension Settings\pglpalgpiohhbjhgpeajfoeedbpgogfi\000003.log, Quarantined, 15382, 799722, , , , , 239B58B6FB7A805F78CA191B9851A7D3, 8180D0D53FC895BE5EA3EB3B32AE660241FA6F72BAFE751752B31E82FE15FE59
Adware.SearchEngineHijack.Generic, C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Sync Extension Settings\pglpalgpiohhbjhgpeajfoeedbpgogfi\CURRENT, Quarantined, 15382, 799722, , , , , 46295CAC801E5D4857D09837238A6394, 0F1BAD70C7BD1E0A69562853EC529355462FCD0423263A3D39D6D0D70B780443
Adware.SearchEngineHijack.Generic, C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Sync Extension Settings\pglpalgpiohhbjhgpeajfoeedbpgogfi\LOCK, Quarantined, 15382, 799722, , , , , , 
Adware.SearchEngineHijack.Generic, C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Sync Extension Settings\pglpalgpiohhbjhgpeajfoeedbpgogfi\LOG, Quarantined, 15382, 799722, , , , , 6FA8ED0A2DC5D13585D34B240181CBF0, 6A9DFD4910BB8424011CA3C9B2FA9F833FE6357841D1DA6B3F32427EA4A1FF58
Adware.SearchEngineHijack.Generic, C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Sync Extension Settings\pglpalgpiohhbjhgpeajfoeedbpgogfi\MANIFEST-000001, Quarantined, 15382, 799722, , , , , 5AF87DFD673BA2115E2FCF5CFDB727AB, F9D31B278E215EB0D0E9CD709EDFA037E828F36214AB7906F612160FEAD4B2B4
Adware.SearchEngineHijack.Generic, C:\USERS\{username}\APPDATA\LOCAL\GOOGLE\CHROME\USER DATA\DEFAULT\EXTENSIONS\PGLPALGPIOHHBJHGPEAJFOEEDBPGOGFI\1.1.0_0\MANIFEST.JSON, Quarantined, 15382, 799722, 1.0.30660, , ame, , 7D4355CA33FC19FA0A1B11B6004CB0F2, DDDC6E6501E1ABFDCDE5DD33E57C75D39DE3FE5E9339EB55ADB000F59E6B639E

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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