Captcha Bros Virus


Captcha Bros

Captcha Bros is known to be a browser hijacker. Numerous complaints about Captcha Bros include page redirects, unwanted advertisements and unapproved changes to the user’s browser.

Captcha Bros

The Captcha Bros virus make changes to browsers like replacing the default homepage

We all want clean and safe computers yet, unfortunately, even despite our best efforts sometimes unwanted software still manages to find its way inside our machines. The most notable examples of that are when nasty viruses like Ransomware and Trojans manage to infiltrate users’ computers. However, there are also many types of software out there that might not be as dangerous or as harmful but are still considered undesirable. One such category of software is what is know as browser hijackers. Regardless of how you refer to them, these applications are different from actual viruses and are normally not regarded as threatening.

However, they have tendency to latch onto users’ browsers (Firefox, IE, Opera, Chrome, Edge or any other) and make changes to them like replacing the default homepage or search engine as well as triggering redirects to promoted pages and sites that the users do not really want to visit. Also, the generation of irritating ads, banners, offers and pop-ups inside users’ browser is also a likely consequence of the presence of a hijacker inside the computer. As you can see, despite the relative harmlessness of most such applications, there are quite a few things to dislike about them which is why most users who face them prefer to have the pesky software uninstalled.

Captcha-Bros

And since Captcha-Bros seems to be a typical representative of the hijacker class and since a lot of users have already complained about this particular piece of software, we have decided to make it the main focus of the next lines. Therefore, if you currently have this unwanted application on your computer and want to have it eliminated, we advise you to stay with us until the end of the article to learn more about Captcha-Bros and how you can effectively remove it from your machine.

Are these apps actual threats to your PC?

As we already stated, hijackers are not some sort of nasty and insidious viruses. Most of the time, an application from this category shouldn’t be able to actually cause any direct harm to the computer on which it has been installed. However, you still need to understand that despite the relatively harmless nature of hijackers, there are still certain potential security hazards that could arise from their presence inside your computer. Because of this, it is highly advisable that you avoid any interaction with any of the elements and content displayed on your screen by the hijacker. Stay away from its ads and and abstain from using the imposed custom search engine, toolbar or homepage. Although most of the time those shouldn’t be hazardous, it is still possible that some of the adverts or the changed elements of your browser might link you to some obscure web locations. 

This means that if you are not careful you might even end up landing on some webpage that is used by hackers for malware distribution. It is no secret that malvertising is a commonly employed technique for distributing viruses like Ransomware, Trojans, Worms, Spyware, etc. and it only makes sense if you are being careful around an application that has the main purpose of generating advertising materials. Just don’t take any chances with the safety and security of your system as there truly are some really nasty cyber-threats out there that you certainly wouldn’t want to encounter.

Developers of browser redirects like Captcha Bros and Coding Captcha typically try to trick users into installing their products which means that in the majority of cases the people who get hijackers on their computers do not initially realize that such an application has gotten installed. This means that most of the employed distribution methods for such software are rather stealthy and misleading. For instance, spam e-mail attachments, deceitful web links, sketchy and obscure online advertisements, questionable software downloads, etc. are some popular techniques for spreading hijackers and getting them installed onto as many computers as possible.

File bundles are also a very effective way of getting an application like Captcha Bros installed onto the users’ computers without them necessarily being aware of that. With this method, the hijacker is bundled with another piece of software (typically some freeware program). Installing that other program through the Quick setup option would normally also install the hijacker by default and since this is the option that most users go for, a lot of hijackers get installed that way. However, avoiding that is easy – simply use the advanced setup settings instead of the Quick/Default configuration and then uncheck the bundled applications that seem unreliable and unwanted.

Name Captcha Bros
Type Browser Hijacker
Detection Tool

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Remove Captcha Bros Virus

To remove Captcha Bros, you should start with checking the extensions page of each of your browsers and deleting from them anything suspicious.

  1. Open the main browser on your PC, click its menu, and go to the Add-ons section.
  2. If any of the extensions you see there seem like they are from Captcha Bros, disable them and then delete them.
  3. Also be sure to clean the browser caches and cookies.
  4. To remove Captcha Bros, you must perform these steps for all browsers on the computer and not only the main one.

If this doesn’t seem to be enough, then it’s likely that the Captcha Bros hijacker has made additional system changes that you’d need to revoke. We will show you how you can do this in the following detailed guide.

Detailed Captcha Bros Removal Guide Before you begin, we would advise you to disconnect your PC from the Internet, as this may help with the removal of the hijacker. To still be able to look at this page while completing the steps, we suggest opening it on your smartphone because you will have to perform a system restart during the guide.

Step 1

Once you turn off your Internet, open the Control Panel (from the Start Menu), and go to the Programs settings. From there, click on Programs and Features and then search the following list of programs and apps for anything that seems out of place. If, for instance, you can relate the appearance of the hijacker on your PC to the recent installation of a new program, it may be best to find and uninstall that program from the Programs and Features list.

Once you single out the potentially unwanted item, click on it, then on the Uninstall button shown at the top, and complete the uninstallation process by following the on-screen steps. Be sure to not let the uninstaller keep anything related to the rogue program on your computer.

Uninstall1

Step 2

WARNING! READ CAREFULLY BEFORE PROCEEDING!

Start the Task Manager (search for it in the Start Menu, or simply press Ctrl + Shift + Esc). Once the app is on your screen, go to Processes and try to find the process that is being run by Captcha Bros. Obviously, it’s unlikely that the process would have the same name, but you should still be able to spot which one is related to the hijacker. A likely red flags is unusually high usage of RAM (virtual memory) and CPU from a process that doesn’t seem familiar and/or related to any of your regular programs.

If you see anything like that, try to find more information about it on the Internet and if it turns out that researchers or other users have also reported that this process may be malicious, go to the File Location of the process (right-click on the Process and select the first option) and scan all files that you see there with the following scanner tool (you can use it for free on our site).

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    Task Manager1

    If a file in that folder is detected as a threat by the scanner we provided, make sure to quickly end the process by selecting it with the right button of your mouse and then selecting the second option (End Process) from the menu.

    Next, delete everything that you are allowed to from the location folder. If any files are left in there because they can’t be removed at the moment, come back later once you finish with the rest of the guide and delete the whole location folder.

    Task Manager2

    Important: If there are many reports about the process being harmful, quit it and erase its data, even if no malware was found during the scans of its files.

    Step 3 Use Safe Mode to stop Captcha Bros from starting any more rogue processes on your computer while you are in the process of removing the hijacker.

    Step 4 Next, type ncpa.cpl in the Start Menu, press the Enter key, and right-click on the network your PC is connected to right now (the icon of the current network should be the only one that doesn’t have an X). Open the Properties section from the context menu, then find and click on Internet Protocol Version 4, and click on the next Properties button. In the next window, the following two options must be selected, so if they aren’t, select them now, and then select Advanced.

    • Obtain an IP address automatically
    • Obtain DNS server address automatically

    In the newly-opened window, select the second tab (DNS), clean the list in it from any entries, and click OK in every open window.

    Dns1

    Next, use the Start Menu again to search for msconfig and then press Enter to open the System Configuration window. In that window, open the Startup section and look for unfamiliar items and/or ones with unknown manufacturers. Such items need to be unchecked – after you do that, click on OK.

    Startup1

    Yet again, type (copy-paste) in the search bar below the Start Menu this line:”notepad %windir%/system32/Drivers/etc/host” and hit Enter to open the file it corresponds to. You must check whether the file has been hijacked by looking at whether there’s anything written in it before the final localhost word. If anything is below that word, you must copy it and send it to us – we need to first have a look at it before we could determine whether it is from Captcha Bros. It’s possible that any text there may be from a legitimate program, but it’s also highly likely that it has been added by the hijacker. Once we see your comment, we will tell you which one it is and what you should do next.

    Hosts2

    Step 5 Warning: In this step, you will need to access the System Registry and find and delete from it any remaining rogue data. To make sure you don’t end up deleting anything important to your system, it’s best to always tell us if you are not sure if a given item is from Captcha Bros and if you must delete it. You can use the comments section to consult us. The Registry can be reached by opening the Start menu, searching for regedit, and clicking the regedit.exe icon. You will need to provide the program with your Admin permission to make system changes, so click on Yes when the permission is required. When the Registry is on your screen, the first thing you need to do is click Edit and then Find. In the search box that pops-up, type Captcha Bros and perform the search. You should delete what (if anything) gets found and do the search again to look for more rogue items.

    This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is regedit2-1.png

    Once you make sure that no Captcha Bros items are left in the Registry, expand the folders to the left to find the following three:

    • HKEY_CURRENT_USER/Software/Random Directory
    • HKEY_CURRENT_USER/Software/Microsoft/Windows/CurrentVersion/Run
    • HKEY_CURRENT_USER/Software/Microsoft/Internet Explorer/Main

    In then, seek strangely-named items – anything with a name similar to this “dn98q331ur9j9r8ghn894erj” is likely from the hijacker and should be removed.

    Step 6 To finalize the removal process, return to your browsers and check them once more. Again, begin with the main browser, by right-clicking on its icon, selecting Properties, and then Shortcut. In the Shortcut tab, make sure that there’s nothing written after “.exe” in the Target field and then select OK. After that, lunch the main browser, click the button for its menu (in most browsers that button is in the top-right, in Opera it’s in the top-left). From the menu, click Extensions or Add-ons. Google Chrome users must first expand the More Tools menu and select the Extensions button. You already know what must be done next – seek out any rogue items that may be present there, disable them, and then click the Remove/Uninstall button to delete them.

    Chrome2

    Open the menu once again and this time go to Settings (in some browser that button is labelled Options).

    Chrome3

    On that page, find and select the Privacy and Security section, and then click on the Clear Browsing Data option. If you are in Microsoft Edge, look for an option labelled Choose what to clear and select it.

    Chrome4

    In the Clear browsing data window, make sure that everything except Passwords is checked and then initiate the deletion and wait for it to be over.

    Chrome5

    Lastly, remember that this must be done for each browser in the system – even the ones you rarely use or that don’t seem to have been infected by Captcha Bros.

    If you are still having problems with Captcha Bros If the issues don’t go away and, you’ve run out of options to delete the hijacker manually, we recommend scanning the computer with a professional security app that can search deep within the system for remaining rogue data and settings and delete them. Unfortunately, it’s also possible that the reason you haven’t been able to eliminate Captcha Bros could be a Trojan or a Rootkit that’s hiding in the system and hindering your attempts to delete the hijacker. In either case, if you try out the powerful malware-deletion tool linked here, you will be able to make your PC and browsers clean again in no time.

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    About the author

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    Brandon Skies

    Brandon is a researcher and content creator in the fields of cyber-security and virtual privacy. Years of experience enable him to provide readers with important information and adequate solutions for the latest software and malware problems.

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