Severity scale:  
  (9/100)

Remove PDFSearches (Removal Instructions) - Chrome, Firefox, IE, Edge

removal by Julie Splinters - - | Type: Browser Hijackers

PDFSearches is a misleading browser hijacker and PUP that is used for traffic monetization and advertising

PDFSearches redirect virusPDFSearches is a browser-based application that can trick expose people to potentially dangerous third-party sites

PDFSearches is a misleading search provider, which imitates a reliable and useful search. However, experts do not recommend switching Google or Yahoo for this search site because it's a typical browser hijacker and potentially unwanted program (PUP) that is being used by a net of marketers to gain financial profit from traffic monetization[1] and affiliate advertising. 

It is being distributed via freeware and shareware packages as “optional download” disguised under a quick installation setup. Upon infiltration, PDFSearches hijacks Chrome, Firefox, or another web browser that is set by default. For this purpose, it replaces the existing search engine with sponsored Yahoo variant and sets portal.pdf-searches.com as a start page. The same page is set as a new tab window, so even if the user attempts to perform a Google search, he or she is presented with altered Yahoo-based results. 

Although it's not malicious and the term PDFSearches virus is not the best-suited for it, cybersecurity experts recommend removing it asap to prevent ongoing redirects to third-party sites and sponsored ads on any website visited. Apart from advertising, this PUP opens your browsing history to third parties and allow them to find out each step that people perform on the web. 

Name PDFSearches
Classification Browser hijacker/Potentially Unwanted Program
Similar to

SearchConverterz
SearchZone
Searchaize
Search-ya, etc.

Symptoms Web browser's settings get corrupted (start page, search engine, new tab window, permissions, push notifications added, etc.). Every attempt to browse the web redirects to portal.pdf-searches.com and search.yahoo.com
Risks  Browser hijackers are not dangerous if they collaborate with trustworthy third-parties. Since it's not clear what parties this search is bound to, it's advisable not to click on any links and ads delivered due to possible exposure to malware-laden websites
Removal Hijackers enter machines via freeware bundles (usually), so getting rid of it means a removal of all PUPs and associated tools. For this purpose, use a reliable anti-malware tool
Fixing damage Registry entries corrupted by malware may be recovered with the help of Reimage Reimage Cleaner Intego optimizer

PDFSearches virus infiltration is not a good sign. As soon as you find this extension within your web browser, you should sooner or later start to experience its side effects. Browser hijackers seek one thing – earning money from advertising and traffic boosting, so you should not expect anything useful out of them. 

To put it simply, we will list all the reasons why NoVirus.uk[2] and other experts recommend PDFSearches removal. These are the following:

  • The browser-based add-on is spread via free and infiltrate PCs without asking for user's permission directly;
  • Once installed, it relies on administrative privileges and alters web browser's settings without authorization;
  • Upon browser's hijack, it sets portal.pdf-searches.com or feed.pdf-searches.com as a default start page and prevents users from initiating Google search by rerouting the traffic to search.yahoo.com;
  • Search results feature sponsored content (links to third-party sites, ads, and banners on random sites);
  • Tracking cookies installed to monitor web browsing activities;
  • Setting Google or another preferred search engine does not help because the PDFSearches virus gets back right after the browser is re-opened;

PDFSearches push notificationsPDFSearches may redirect to sites where visitors are asked to give permission to display push notifications

PDFSearches redirects are definitely intrusive. However, being irritating is just one side of the card. The biggest risk when clicking on any links provided by this hijacker is exposing the machine to malware-infected websites. Please note that clicking on any third-party content is at your own risk. Here's what the EULA[3] of this search states:

You assume all responsibility and risk in connection with your use of Third Party Content and we hereby disclaim any and all liability to you or any third party in connection thereto. We have no obligation to examine, review or monitor Third Party Content and are not responsible for the accuracy, completeness, appropriateness or legality of Third Party Content.

Besides questionable third-party content, ensure the security of your privacy and remove PDFSearches virus immediately, since one of its tasks is to harvest users' browsing history. With the main interest to the IP address, search queries, and websites visited, this hijacker may also collect some pieces of personal information, including your name, email address, and telephone number. This may happen if you accidentally submit any form provided via the portal.pdf-searches.com domain. This fact is clarified within the Privacy Policy[4] section of the hijacker:

We may receive Contact Information, when you voluntarily provide us with such information, if and when you contact us for support. 

People who have been looking for an answer to whether to uninstall PDFSearches extension should not postpone the process anymore. This application is not reliable and has no real value except poses a risk of being exposed to potentially dangerous websites. 

PDFSearches browser hijackerPDFSearches belongs to the group of browser hijackers and PUPs due to misleading behavior and stealthy distribution technique

The quickest way to remove PDFSearches virus is to scan the system with a reliable anti-malware tool. No matter if you are using Windows or Mac, employ the robust security tool and make sure that you are using its latest version. Run a scan to get rid of malware and then perform a full system optimization with Reimage Reimage Cleaner Intego

Ways of spreading PUPs are way too simple

People do not expect that downloading a freeware will end up with a pack of unwanted programs installed on their machines. Usually, they think that such simple methods cannot be used for spreading malware and that the only way to get infected is to visit x-rated sites[5]

Although there is very little chance of downloading a malicious virus on the machine alongside download manager, converter, player, reader, or whatnot, you can download several browser-based tools listed as useful add-ons and toolbars. Therefore, each time you are looking for freeware to download, select the download source carefully and opt for an extended installation setup. Usually, you should find an offer to install freeware using the Advanced or Custom installation option. To find out if the freeware carries a bundle, read the terms carefully, and deselect all additional components. 

PDFSearches search sitePDFSearches is a suspicious third-party search engine that generates income from advertising

Get rid of the PDFSearches browser hijacker

PDFSearches redirects can eventually lead to the installation of other PUPs. Using the service of PUPs, third parties often seek to spread useless optimization programs, doubtful software, games, or even malware. Therefore, do not keep it for long. 

PDFSearches malwarePDFSearches virus rejects the responsibility of any third-party content displayed via its service

Our security experts have submitted a comprehensive PDFSearches removal guide that is provided below. However, if you want this process to be initiated automatically, rely on a reliable anti-malware application. Besides, don't forget to optimize the system with a tool like Reimage Reimage Cleaner Intego since browser hijackers have a tendency to alter Windows Registry entries or startup processes.  

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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What to do if failed?
If you failed to remove virus damage using Reimage Intego, submit a question to our support team and provide as much details as possible.
Reimage Intego has a free limited scanner. Reimage Intego offers more through scan when you purchase its full version. When free scanner detects issues, you can fix them using free manual repairs or you can decide to purchase the full version in order to fix them automatically.
Alternative Software
Different software has a different purpose. If you didn’t succeed in fixing corrupted files with Reimage, try running SpyHunter 5.
Alternative Software
Different software has a different purpose. If you didn’t succeed in fixing corrupted files with Intego, try running Combo Cleaner.

To remove PDFSearches, follow these steps:

Erase PDFSearches from Windows systems

PDFSearches removal from Windows will be successful if you initiate the following steps in the right way.

  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 PDFSearches and related programs
    Here, look for PDFSearches 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 PDFSearches 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.

Get rid of PDFSearches from Mac OS X system

PDFSearches virus can equally affect Windows and Macs. If the latter has been affected, use this tutorial to fix the system.

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

Remove PDFSearches from Applications folder:

  1. From the menu bar, select Go > Applications.
  2. In the Applications folder, look for PDFSearches-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 PDFSearches, 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 PDFSearches and then delete them.
  4. Now enter /Library/LaunchAgents and /Library/LaunchDaemons folders the same way and terminate all the PDFSearches-related entries.Uninstall from Mac 2

Eliminate PDFSearches 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 PDFSearches 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 PDFSearches removal.Reset Internet Explorer

Delete PDFSearches from Microsoft Edge

Intrusive extensions can be eliminated from the Internet Explorer this way:

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 PDFSearches-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 PDFSearches 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 PDFSearches 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 PDFSearches removal. Click on 'Reset Firefox' button for a couple of times

Uninstall PDFSearches from Google Chrome

If Google Chrome keeps redirecting you to portal.pdf-searches.com, you should reset browser's changes for good.

  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 PDFSearches 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 PDFSearches removal. Click on 'Reset' button to complete your removal

Erase PDFSearches 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 PDFSearches 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 PDFSearches, 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 PDFSearches 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
Julie Splinters
Julie Splinters - Malware removal specialist

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