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Remove CapitaSearch (Virus Removal Instructions) - updated Sep 2020

removal by Linas Kiguolis - - | Type: Browser Hijackers

CapitaSearch is a sponsored search engine that may generate altered search results to generate income from affiliate marketing

CapitaSearch malware

CapitaSearch is an intrusive browser hijacker that triggers redirects to sponsored content on the Yahoo engine after making multiple setting changes on the web browser. As a potentially unwanted program (PUP)[1], it spreads in the disguise of other free programs and manages to infiltrate the default web browser without being noticed. It exhibits compatibility with Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Microsoft Edge, Internet Explorer, Safari, and other web browsers. In other words, it may set search.capita.space search engine, CapitaSearch start window, drop various toolbars, change the new tab window, and initiate other unapproved modifications.

To ensure the prevalence, the CapitaSearch virus can set “Managed by your organization” policies on Chrome. The alteration of management policies allows third-party tools like this one to take full control over the web browser's settings. Consequently, Chrome is set to launch the search.capita.space search engine by default and prevent its removal. Moreover, these settings may automatically download unwanted third-party extensions that may subsequently display popups or trigger redirects.

Name CapitaSearch
Type Browser hijacker, Potentially Unwanted Program (PUP)
Related search.capita.space search engine, 'Managed by your organization' Chrome settings enabled
Compatibility Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Microsoft Edge, Internet Explorer, Safari, etc.
Distribution This misleading search engine takes advantage of the infamous software bundling distribution strategies. It spreads hidden under freeware Quick installation set up as a pre-selected item and expects the user to fail to recognize it
Symptoms The main symptom is related to changes in the web browser: modified start page, search engine, new tab window, etc. Besides, it may trigger sponsored links within search results, commercial pop-up ads, browser's redirects, and similar side effects
Task The CapitaSearch virus seeks to promote affiliate websites, spread malware, distort visitors' traffic, collect browsing-related information about people, and similar. 
Danger The browser-based plug-ins is not dangerous. Its functionality and goals are marketing oriented, though there is a potential risk of downloading malware
Removal Manual removal of a browser hijacker is possible, though not recommended. Due to the distribution of bundling, there's a high probability that there are many PUPs on the system. Therefore, a scan with a reputable anti-virus is recommended
Malware damage PUPs initiate various changes within web browsers. However, they are also capable of distorting the system's settings and files, which is why experts recommend optimizing the system's performance after malware removal. For that, we recommend using Reimage Reimage Cleaner Intego

The CapitaSearch hijacker exhibits the typical behavior of a browser hijacker. It replaces the start page, search site, new tab window, and generates other web browser modifications without explicitly asking for a user’s consent. Besides, it stealthily uses tracking cookies to spy on a user’s web browsing activities.

If you have a suspicion that CapitaSearch virus infected your PC, the most typical symptoms you should be encountering are the following:

  • The default search engine replaced by search.capita.space
  • New tab URL and the start page replaced by this domain or other unknown website
  • New web browser plug-ins added
  • Suspicious links positioned within search results
  • Sponsored Yahoo search results displayed
  • Web browser’s redirects keep disrupting activities
  • Misleading ads positioned on any website that you visit, etc.

Although posing minimal risk, CapitaSearch is closely related to adware and other malware, meaning that its purpose is to gain profit from advertisements and web traffic. This browser hijacker has an in-built database of domains to promote; therefore, your web browser will continuously redirect to websites that you are not willing to visit. 

Moreover, it may generate various ads, pop-ups, banners, and hyperlinks on random websites, which not only cover the content that you want to see but also redirect to dubious third-party websites. Keep in mind that the CapitaSearch virus may be involved in PUP distribution and regularly reroute your web browser to malware download websites. 

Data harvesting is yet another reason for CapitaSearch removal. The plug-in that it drops is accompanied by tracking cookies[2], which settle within each browser installed on the system and start collecting the following entries:

  • Search queries
  • Websites visited
  • IP address
  • Technical details of the web browser
  • E-mail address
  • Geolocation

Although data collected is non-personally identifiable, sharing it with third parties is not advisable as they may use it for improving advertising strategies and providing users with more appealing content. Unfortunately, those ads and promoted websites are of no use to the user. 

In addition to the aforementioned browser changes, CapitaSearch enables the 'Managed by your organization' Chrome feature. Due to this, the web browser generates a pop-up window stating that Google Chrome is managed by the organization and prevents the user from modifying settings manually. This setting is established to enable certain Chrome's parameters on workplace PC. However, third-party apps, including browser hijackers, can take control over various policies and start managing Chrome in the disguise of an organization. 

It is possible to disable 'Managed by your organization' feature by accessing Chrome's settings, clicking on the dots at the bottom of the drop-down menu, and selecting disable. However, the parameters will be restored once you restart the web browser. Therefore, it's important to remove CapitaSearch virus in the first place. 

CapitaSearch virusCapitaSearch is a browser hijacker that can compromise web browser's settings and display sponsored search results

Proper CapitaSearch removal requires a full system scan with a reliable anti-malware program. Since this ad-supported application spreads by bundling, usually it gets installed along with adware or PUPs. 

According to NoVirus.uk[3] experts, malware can significantly decrease the web browser's performance, affect download speed, corrupt boot-up processes, injected addition Windows registry entries. CapitaSearch removal can fix almost all web browsing related issues. However, malware elimination is not sufficient to restore the system to the pre-malware state. Thus, it is also advisable to perform PC's recovery with a tool like Reimage Reimage Cleaner Intego

Stop Chrome being managed by your organization to perform CapitaSearch removal

Upon the release of the Chrome 73 version, users started reporting an unseen statement “Managed by your organization” within the drop-down settings menu. This notification means that the organization that owns the machine you are working with is managing Chrome's settings. That's a common policy management feature used by many Enterprise admins. 

However, the same “Managed by your organization” notification can occur on home PCs and Macs leaving the users confused. The problem is not the message itself, but rather the behavior of the Chrome browser as it may display unwanted search engine, start page, new tab window, prevent the elimination of unwanted extensions, and similar. 

The problem is that malware can also use Chrome policies to force install malicious extensions, disable safe browsing, Incognito mode, and other behavior. CapitaSearch virus is misusing the “Managed by your organization” policy management feature as well, which is why people are not able to delete related extensions or the search itself. 

CapitaSearch changes Chrome's policiesCapitaSearch sets "Managed by your organization" feature to restrict users from the removal of third-party extensions

People keep reporting on Reddit[4] and Chrome support[5] websites that their accounts are managed by Capita Search extension, which cannot be removed. Those who have fallen in this situation should follow these steps to disable the “Managed by your organization” feature and eliminate malware:

  • Press Windows key + R, type regedit, and press Enter
  • Navigate to the following directory:

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Google\Chrome 

  • If you see an Extensions tab, force the process to open and delete it. 
  • Eliminate all non-default entries installed by third-parties. 
  • Scan the machine with an anti-malware tool to delete PUPs.
  • Reset Chrome's settings. 

The more freeware downloads – the more PUPs on the system

We must admit that some freeware turns out to be handy tools for improving web browsing performance and everyday activities. However, downloading them recklessly just for trying is dangerous because those free programs are frequently used for PUP dissemination. 

Freeware developers earn a commission fee for every add-on, plug-in, toolbar, or whatnot that is installed to users' PCs as an additional component. Thus, it may be presumed that every third free app on third-party download websites contains additional pre-checked items. 

Luckily, unpacking the bundle is not difficult. All you have to do is to opt for Advanced or Custom installation option and monitor the process carefully. When a setup window stating that you agree with the installation of browser-based plug-ins emerge, untick the checkbox before clicking the Next button. That's it. The freeware will be installed PUP-free. 

In addition, you should be cautious when browsing the net, especially when some ads redirect you to unknown websites. Third-party domains may be involved in PUP distribution and contain click-to-download ads. 

CapitaSearch redirectCapitaSearch enables 'Managed by your organization' feature on Chrome

CapitaSearch removal should be implemented once it hijacks Chrome

Seeing that the web browser's settings have been altered without your permission is an indication of a browser hijacker's attack. Do not underestimate the capabilities of a reliable-looking third-party search engine or new tab window. They may be set to promote dangerous content, display links to phishing websites, or initiate other campaigns to gain whatever profit they need. Having this in mind, CapitaSearch removal should not be postponed. 

The only reliable way to remove CapitaSearch malware from the system is to run a scan with an anti-malware tool. Upon that, delete suspicious plug-ins from a web browser or, at best, reset the browser's settings. If, however, you prefer manual removal, rely on a guide submitted by our security experts. 

You may remove virus damage with a help of Reimage Reimage Cleaner Intego. SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner and Malwarebytes are recommended to detect potentially unwanted programs and viruses with all their files and registry entries that are related to them.

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To remove CapitaSearch, follow these steps:

Get rid of CapitaSearch from Windows systems

Get rid of CapitaSearch hijacker on Windows without a delay. The following guide explains how to do that.

  1. Click Start Control Panel Programs and Features (if you are Windows XP user, click on Add/Remove Programs). Click 'Start -> Control Panel -> Programs and Features' (if you are 'Windows XP' user, click on 'Add/Remove Programs').
  2. If you are Windows 10 / Windows 8 user, then right-click in the lower left corner of the screen. Once Quick Access Menu shows up, select Control Panel and Uninstall a Program. If you are 'Windows 10 / Windows 8' user, then right-click in the lower left corner of the screen. Once 'Quick Access Menu' shows up, select 'Control Panel' and 'Uninstall a Program'.
  3. Uninstall CapitaSearch and related programs
    Here, look for CapitaSearch or any other recently installed suspicious programs.
  4. Uninstall them and click OK to save these changes. Right click on each of suspicious entries and select 'Uninstall'
  5. Remove CapitaSearch from Windows shortcuts
    Right click on the shortcut of Mozilla Firefox and select Properties. Right click on browsers' icon and select 'Properties'
  6. Go to Shortcut tab and look at the Target field. Delete malicious URL that is related to your virus. Select 'Shortcut' tab and delete 'http://isearch.babylon.com...' or other suspicious URL

Repeat steps that are given above with all browsers' shortcuts, including Internet Explorer and Google Chrome. Make sure you check all locations of these shortcuts, including Desktop, Start Menu and taskbar.

Uninstall CapitaSearch from Mac OS X system

Although Mac OS is less vulnerable to malware, these days there are many PUPs targeting Macs, and CapitaSearch virus may be one of them. If your device got hit, make sure to clean malware away.

If your macOS is displaying some infection symptoms, proceed with the following guide:

Remove CapitaSearch from Applications folder:

  1. From the menu bar, select Go > Applications.
  2. In the Applications folder, look for CapitaSearch-related entries.
  3. Click on the app and drag it to Trash (or right-click and pick Move to Trash)Uninstall from Mac 1

To fully remove CapitaSearch, you need to access Application Support, LaunchAgents, and LaunchDaemons folders and delete relevant files:

  1. Select Go > Go to Folder.
  2. Enter /Library/Application Support and click Go or press Enter.
  3. In the Application Support folder, look for any dubious entries related to CapitaSearch and then delete them.
  4. Now enter /Library/LaunchAgents and /Library/LaunchDaemons folders the same way and terminate all the CapitaSearch-related entries.Uninstall from Mac 2

Erase CapitaSearch from Internet Explorer (IE)

Remove dangerous add-ons:

  1. Open Internet Explorer, click on the Gear icon (IE menu) on the top-right corner of the browser
  2. Pick Manage Add-ons.
  3. You will see a Manage Add-ons window. Here, look for CapitaSearch and other suspicious plugins. Click on these entries and select Disable.Remove add-ons from Internet Explorer

Change your homepage if it was altered:

  1. Open IE and click on the Gear icon.
  2. Select Internet Options.
  3. In the General tab, delete the Home page address and replace it by your preferred one (for example, Google.com).
  4. Click Apply and then select OK.Reset IE homepage

Delete temporary files:

  1. Press on the Gear icon and select Internet Options.
  2. Under Browsing history, click Delete…
  3. Select relevant fields and press Delete.Clear temporary files from Internet Explorer

Reset Internet Explorer:

  1. Click on Gear icon > Internet options and select Advanced tab.
  2. Select Reset.
  3. In the new window, check Delete personal settings and select Reset again to complete CapitaSearch removal.Reset Internet Explorer

Eliminate CapitaSearch from Microsoft Edge

Delete unwanted extensions from MS Edge:

  1. Select Menu (three horizontal dots at the top-right of the browser window) and pick Extensions.
  2. From the list, pick the CapitaSearch-related extension and click on the Gear icon.
  3. Click on Uninstall at the bottom.Remove extensions from Edge

Clear cookies and other browser data:

  1. Click on the Menu (three horizontal dots at the top-right of the browser window) and select Privacy & security.
  2. Under Clear browsing data, pick Choose what to clear.
  3. Select everything (apart from passwords, although you might want to include Media licenses as well, if applicable) and click on Clear.Clear Edge browsing data

Reset MS Edge if that above steps did not work:

  1. Press on Ctrl + Shift + Esc to open Task Manager.
  2. Click on More details arrow at the bottom of the window.
  3. Select Details tab.
  4. Now scroll down and locate every entry with Microsoft Edge name in it. Right-click on each of them and select End Task to stop MS Edge from running.Reset MS Edge

If this solution failed to help you, you need to use an advanced Edge reset method. Note that you need to backup your data before proceeding.

  1. Find the following folder on your computer: C:\\Users\\%username%\\AppData\\Local\\Packages\\Microsoft.MicrosoftEdge_8wekyb3d8bbwe.
  2. Press Ctrl + A on your keyboard to select all folders.
  3. Right-click on them and pick DeleteAdvanced MS Edge reset 1
  4. Now right-click on the Start button and pick Windows PowerShell (Admin).
  5. When the new window opens, copy and paste the following command, and then press Enter:

    Get-AppXPackage -AllUsers -Name Microsoft.MicrosoftEdge | Foreach {Add-AppxPackage -DisableDevelopmentMode -Register “$($_.InstallLocation)\\AppXManifest.xml” -VerboseAdvanced MS Edge reset 2

Instructions for Chromium-based Edge

Delete extensions from MS Edge (Chromium):

  1. Open Edge and click select Settings > Extensions.
  2. Delete unwanted extensions by clicking Remove.Remove extensions from Chromium Edge

Clear cache and site data:

  1. Click on Menu and go to Settings.
  2. Select Privacy and services.
  3. Under Clear browsing data, pick Choose what to clear.
  4. Under Time range, pick All time.
  5. Select Clear now.Clear browser data from Chroum Edge

Reset Chromium-based MS Edge:

  1. Click on Menu and select Settings.
  2. On the left side, pick Reset settings.
  3. Select Restore settings to their default values.
  4. Confirm with Reset.Reset Chromium Edge

Remove CapitaSearch from Mozilla Firefox (FF)

  1. Remove dangerous extensions
    Open Mozilla Firefox, click on the menu icon (top right corner) and select Add-ons Extensions. Click on menu icon and select 'Add-ons'
  2. Here, select CapitaSearch and other questionable plugins. Click Remove to delete these entries. Select 'Extensions' and look for malicious entries. Click 'Remove' to get rid of each of them
  3. Change your homepage if it was altered by virus:
    Click on the menu (top right corner), choose Options General.
  4. Here, delete malicious URL and enter preferable website or click Restore to default.
  5. Click OK to save these changes. When in 'General' tab, delete malicious URL from 'Home Page' section or click on 'Restore to Default' button. Click 'OK' to save changes
  6. Reset Mozilla Firefox
    Click on the Firefox menu on the top left and click on the question mark. Here, choose Troubleshooting Information. Click on menu icon and then on '?'. Select 'Troubleshooting Information'
  7. Now you will see Reset Firefox to its default state message with Reset Firefox button. Click this button for several times and complete CapitaSearch removal. Click on 'Reset Firefox' button for a couple of times

Delete CapitaSearch from Google Chrome

This browser hijacker primarily targeted Google Chrome as it may not only replace search engines but can also enable 'Managed by your organization' feature, allowing it to take administrative privileges over Chrome's policies. If it compromised your browser, here's what you have to do:

  1. Delete malicious plugins
    Open Google Chrome, click on the menu icon (top right corner) and select Tools Extensions. Click on menu icon. Select 'Tools' and 'Extensions'
  2. Here, select CapitaSearch and other malicious plugins and select trash icon to delete these entries. Look for malicious entries and delete each of them by clicking on the Trash bin icon
  3. Change your homepage and default search engine if it was altered by your virus
    Click on menu icon and choose Settings.
  4. Here, look for the Open a specific page or set of pages under On startup option and click on Set pages. After clicking on menu and 'Settings', select 'Set pages'
  5. Now you should see another window. Here, delete malicious search sites and enter the one that you want to use as your homepage. Click 'X' to remove malicious URLs
  6. Click on menu icon again and choose Settings Manage Search engines under the Search section. When in 'Settings', select 'Manage search engines...'
  7. When in Search Engines..., remove malicious search sites. You should leave only Google or your preferred domain name. Click 'X' to remove malicious URLs
  8. Reset Google Chrome
    Click on menu icon on the top right of your Google Chrome and select Settings.
  9. Scroll down to the end of the page and click on Reset browser settings. When in 'Settings', scroll down to 'Reset browser settings' button and click on it
  10. Click Reset to confirm this action and complete CapitaSearch removal. Click on 'Reset' button to complete your removal

Get rid of CapitaSearch from Safari

  1. Remove dangerous extensions
    Open Safari web browser and click on Safari in menu at the top left of the screen. Once you do this, select Preferences. Click on 'Safari' and select 'Preferences'
  2. Here, select Extensions and look for CapitaSearch or other suspicious entries. Click on the Uninstall button to get rid each of them. Go to 'Extensions' and uninstall malicious add-ons
  3. Change your homepage if it was altered by virus:
    Open your Safari web browser and click on Safari in menu section. Here, select Preferences as it was displayed previously and select General.
  4. Here, look at the Homepage field. If it was altered by CapitaSearch, remove unwanted link and enter the one that you want to use for your searches. Remember to include the "http://" before typing in the address of the page. When in 'General', delete malicious URL and enter your desired domain name
  5. Reset Safari
    Open Safari browser and click on Safari in menu section at the top left of the screen. Here, select Reset Safari.... Click on 'Safari' and select 'Reset Safari...'
  6. Now you will see a detailed dialog window filled with reset options. All of those options are usually checked, but you can specify which of them you want to reset. Click the Reset button to complete CapitaSearch removal process. Select all options and click on 'Reset' button

Do not let government spy on you

The government has many issues in regards to tracking users' data and spying on citizens, so you should take this into consideration and learn more about shady information gathering practices. Avoid any unwanted government tracking or spying by going totally anonymous on the internet. 

You can choose a different location when you go online and access any material you want without particular content restrictions. You can easily enjoy internet connection without any risks of being hacked by using Private Internet Access VPN.

Control the information that can be accessed by government any other unwanted party and surf online without being spied on. Even if you are not involved in illegal activities or trust your selection of services, platforms, be suspicious for your own security and take precautionary measures by using the VPN service.

Backup files for the later use, in case of the malware attack

Computer users can suffer from data losses due to cyber infections or their own faulty doings. Ransomware can encrypt and hold files hostage, while unforeseen power cuts might cause a loss of important documents. If you have proper up-to-date backups, you can easily recover after such an incident and get back to work. It is also equally important to update backups on a regular basis so that the newest information remains intact – you can set this process to be performed automatically.

When you have the previous version of every important document or project you can avoid frustration and breakdowns. It comes in handy when malware strikes out of nowhere. Use Data Recovery Pro for the data restoration process.

About the author
Linas Kiguolis
Linas Kiguolis - Expert in social media

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