One of the newest hijacker representatives is an application called Captcha Filter, which could cause a lot of browsing irritation. Captcha Filter is generally capable of replacing the homepage and/or the search engine with sponsored ones and of generating various aggressive ads, pop-ups, banners and page-redirect links all over the screen of browsers such as Chrome, Firefox, Explorer and others.
It is unlikely that we will surprise anyone by saying that browser hijackers like CaptchaFilter are some of the most annoying forms of software. You probably got here because you have recently discovered CaptchaFilter in your system and are now you trying to figure out how you can remove it.
This makes perfect sense since no one would like to deal with hundreds of online advertisements during their web browsing, neither would they enjoy having their browser settings replaced with some third-party tools, toolbars, search engines and domains without their approval.
That’s why below we will provide you with detailed instructions on how to safely remove CaptchaFilter.top and uninstall all the potentially unwanted changes that are probably disturbing your online experience. We will also tell you what potential issues CaptchaFilter.top may cause and what is the purpose of the browser hijackers in general.
Before you scroll down to the instructions, however, let’s first make one thing clear – the representatives of the browser hijacker category are not the same as computer threats like viruses, ransomware, spyware or Trojans. Their main task isn’t to cause harm to the users or to involve them in criminal schemes but to generate profits for their developers through sponsored ads positioning and page redirects. Most often, the people who create applications like Captcha Filter, iStart Search Bar, Smart Captcha Solve receive a certain amount of money every time users click on the displayed banners, pop-up ads and promotional new tabs that appear on their screens during web browsing. This is typically regarded as a legal online advertising method and is actually a rather successful business model that serves the needs of the digital marketing industry.
However, the mentioned remuneration and advertising strategy may often initiate activities that few people may like. In particular, applications such as Captcha Filter may often have access to your surfing history. Moreover, they may not only have access to your browsing history, but they may also keep track of the pages you spend the most time on as well as which pages you bookmark, what ads you click on and what products or services you search for on the web.
In addition, the browser hijacker may also be interested in learning what content you prefer to share on social media networks and on other similar platforms. All this collection of data about your surfing habits gives the browser hijacker information about which of the goods and services in its arsenal will have the highest probability to attract your attention and your clicks.
Taking into account all this data, the application begins to adjust the advertising flow for each individual user and to redirect their searches to specific sponsored third-party web locations. In a way, this practice may be considered as a direct intrusion into the privacy of the users and can be a very serious reason to uninstall the application that is behind it. Moreover, the possibility of landing on insecure or misleading content is quite high and the risk of getting infected with a virus, a Trojan or ransomware is simply also there.
Some threats reinstall themselves if you don't delete their core files. We recommend downloading SpyHunter to remove harmful programs for you. This may save you hours and ensure you don't harm your system by deleting the wrong files.
Remove Captcha Filter Virus
Browser hijackers like Captcha Filter are known for being hard to remove. However, there are some steps that may be able to help you deal with the unwanted software quickly and without much of hassle. As a start, we suggest you give a try to the following instructions:
- If your browser has been hijacked by Captcha Filter, click on your browser’s main settings and select More Tools (or Add-ons) from the list of options.
- Then, find the Extensions tab and open it to view all extensions that are installed inside the problematic browser.
- If you detect Captcha Filter as an extension in the list, or you find some other unfamiliar extensions that you can’t remember installing, remove them without hesitation. No browser extension is essential for the normal operation of your system, but sometimes it could be a source of disturbing ads, banners and potentially unwanted activity.
- Next, open a new tab to check if the browser behaves normally.
In case that you keep experiencing disturbance during your browsing sessions and Captcha Filter is the source of it, then please use the more detailed removal guide below and carefully follow its instructions.
Before you start, you should know that there will be steps in this guide that will require you to restart your computer. For this reason, if you want to complete this guide, we recommend you to Bookmark it in your browser for easy reference. Another alternative is to simply open this page on another device, where you can look at it from.
To make the removal of Captcha Filter easier and to increase the chance of spotting all hijacker-related processes quickly, it is a good idea to reboot the system in Safe Mode by using the instructions from the active link.
After the system reboots, click on the Start menu and type msconfig in the search field. Press enter and click the Startup tab in the window that opens:
Make sure that the checked entries there are only from programs you trust and want to start when the system starts. If you find a startup item that you believe is part of the hijacker or has an Unknown Manufacturer, please uncheck it.
WARNING! READ CAREFULLY BEFORE PROCEEDING!
Next, to stop all hijacker-related processes from running on your computer, you need to start the Task Manager, (CTRL + SHIFT + ESC) and click on the Processes Tab (in Windows 8 and 10 it is the “Details” Tab). Then, search for processes that don’t seem to belong to your system or any of the programs that you are running.
A very easy way to figure out if a specific process is dangerous is to select it, and with a right-click on it to tap on Open File Location:
Then use the free online virus scanner below to scan all the files found there for dangerous code:
End the process by right-clicking on it and selecting End Process in case that danger is detected in any of the scanned files and. After you do that, delete the folders that contain the dangerous files.
Note: If there are more than one suspicious-looking processes in the Task Manager, take your time to check each of them and stop it if you believe that it is causing you disturbance. When you are done, close the window and proceed to the next step.
In this step, we will show you how to remove Captcha Filter from your browsers. Make sure that you carefully repeat the instructions below in all browsers that you have installed on your system, even if you are not using them.
NOTE: Google Chrome is used for demonstration in the mages below, but you can apply the same instructions in Firefox and IE (or Edge).
Find the shortcut icon of the browser and Right click on it, then select Properties.
When the Properties window opens, select the Shortcut tab from the top.
Next, in the Target text field, make sure that you remove everything that has been added after .exe and then click the OK button at the end to save your changes.
Here are the browser-specific instructions for three of the most popular browsers in use:
Remove Captcha Filter from Internet Explorer:
IE should be open. Head to the top right corner and click , then select Manage Add-ons.
A list of add-ons that have been installed in the browser should appear on the screen.
Your job here is to Disable any add-ons that you think are related to Captcha Filter and its activity.
After you do that, click on once again and select Internet Options.
In the Internet Options window, check the homepage URL for changes. If you see something else and not the page that you have set as your default homepage, make sure that you change the URL to whatever you like and then click on Apply.
Remove Captcha Filter from Firefox:
The Firefox browser should be open. Click on the menu icon at the top right corner and select Add-ons.
Then, on the left you should select Extensions and carefully remove any extensions that you don’t use or think are part of the browser hijacker.
Remove Captcha Filter from Chrome:
If you are using Google Chrome, make sure that it is closed and manually navigate to this location:
C:/Users/!!!!USER NAME!!!!/AppData/Local/Google/Chrome/User Data.
Select the “Default” folder and right-click on it. Then, select Rename and change its name to Backup Default.
After that, you can restart Chrome and check if there are signs of Captcha Filter in it.
If you think that, aside from the hijacker, some other potentially unwanted or malicious software is hiding in your system, it is a good idea to check the Hosts file of your computer for signs of hacking.
To open the Hosts file, copy the line below:
Next, paste it in the Start menu search field and press the Enter key from the keyboard.
If you are hacked, you should see a number of virus creator IP addresses under Localhost in the text:
Ideally, you should see nothing disturbing, in which case you should simply close the file.
If some suspicious IPs are added below “Localhost” in your Hosts file, please write to us in the comments below so, we can advise you on what to do.
Sometimes, a browser hijacker like Captcha Filter may make some DSN changes without necessarily notifying you about them. Therefore, in the fifth steps, we will show you how to remove any such changes that might have been made. Simply search for Network Connections in the Start Menu and open it. Then, follow the instructions and the example images below:
- With a Right-click on the Network Adapter that is in use, open a pop-up menu and select Properties
- Next, in the new window, select Internet Protocol Version 4 (ICP/IP), and click the Properties button at the right bottom.
- Next, make sure that Obtain DNS server address automatically is the option that is selected and click on Advanced
- In the DNS tab of the new window, make sure that you remove everything that has been added there without your knowledge and click –> OK.
Another very important steps is to uninstall from the computer any recently installed programs that might have introduced Captcha Filter inside the system. Many apps that are attractive, tend to have browser hijackers bundled inside their installation package and once the users run the installer, they get the hijacker as additional software alongside the main app. That’s why if you have recently installed something new on your system, and you have started seeing Captcha Filter ads right after that, it is a good idea to open the Control Panel and navigate to Programs and Features>>>Uninstall A Program.
Then, uninstall any apps that you think are linked to the presence of Captcha Filter on your computer. You can do the same for any other apps that are outdated, and you don’t plan to use in the near future.
After that, the final step is to open the Registry Editor (Type Regedit in the windows search field and press Enter) and carefully search the registry for entries that Captcha Filter might have added there. To do that, press CTRL and F from the keyboard and type the Name of the browser hijacker that you want to remove in the Find box.
Next, start a search and carefully delete the entries that are found with a Right click.
In the event that nothing shows up with the Find function, close it and use the left panel to navigate to the following directories:
- HKEY_CURRENT_USER—-Software—–Random Directory.
- HKEY_CURRENT_USER—-Software—Microsoft—-Windows—CurrentVersion—Run– Random.
- HKEY_CURRENT_USER—-Software—Microsoft—Internet Explorer—-Main—- Random.
Search each of them for something unusual, such as recently added files and folders with random names, and delete the entries that you are sure that belong to Captcha Filter.
Attention! Meddling with registry entries should be done only by professionals because inexperienced users may easily corrupt their system by deleting something unrelated to the infection. Therefore, if you are not experienced in dealing with registry files, please consider downloading the anti-virus program we recommend and scan your computer with it to remove Captcha Filter once and for all.
Captcha Filter is a browser hijacker that infiltrates browsers like Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox in order to introduce undesired changes to them that would force the browser to generate aggressive advertising content. The main purpose of Captcha Filter is generating income through Pay-Per-Click and Pay-Per-View advertising.
The potential for gaining significant amounts of money from the advertisements that this rogue software spams on the users’ screens are the main reason for the aggressive behavior of Captcha Filter. It’s also the reason why the creators of such software are rarely concerned with the quality of the content that their browser-hijacking apps promote – the main focus is to generate as much income as possible and not to provide the user with any type of useful service or function. This, in turn, means that a browser hijacker could go as far as to promote unsafe pages with phishing content or even disguised malware downloads.
Despite not being specifically designed to harm your PC, Captcha Filter and other similar pieces of software should not be allowed to remain in your system if you wish to keep the latter safe.
Captcha Filter is deemed potentially dangerous because its advertisements, page-redirects, pop-ups, and pop-unders could expose the user’s computer to hazardous content. Another dangerous aspect of Captcha Filter is its ability to collect user data from the browser and distribute it to third-parties with unknown intentions and goals.
In and of itself, Captcha Filter is not capable of causing harm to the system of your computer or to any of the files that are stored on your hard-drives. However, its ability to control some of the browser’s functions and settings means it could make changes that may compromise the browser’s security and, in turn, the security of your entire system. This could lead to the emergence of vulnerabilities that advanced threats like Trojan Horses or Spyware could exploit in order to attack your computer.
In addition to all that, most hijackers are programmed to gather data from the users’ browsers. Most of the time, this data is usually not particularly sensitive and is collected for advertising purposes, but if it falls into the wrong hands, it could still be used in harmful ways.
To remove Captcha Filter, you must first find the program that brought it to your PC and delete that program. After that, you must eliminate the remaining rogue processes, settings, and data, and clean each browser on the computer to fully remove Captcha Filter.
Here are the exact steps for removing Captcha Filter in the order they are supposed to be performed:
Step 1: Type in the search bar below the Start Menu “Uninstall a Program”, press the Enter key, and look for and uninstall any recently-added program that could be linked to Captcha Filter.
Step 2: Access the Task Manager (press Ctrl + Shift + Esc to open it), select Processes, look for a process (or processes) that may be linked to Captcha Filter, research them, and if they are from the hijacker, end them.
Step 3: Go to the system settings shown below and revoke any changes made in them by Captcha Filter:
The DNS settings of your primary network
The Hosts file
The Startup items list
Step 4: Visit every browser you have, clean it from rogue extensions, delete its data, and restore any changed settings.