Clever Captcha Virus


Clever Captcha

Clever Captcha is a rogue software developed with the goal to promote different sites directly from the computer’s main browser. Clever Captcha has been categorized as a browser hijacker and I you currently have it on your computer it is advisable to uninstall it ASAP.

Clever Captcha
The Clever Captcha virus set its own custom search engine without really asking you for a permission

The representatives of the widespread software category known as browser hijackers (apps like Clever Captcha and Tower Captcha) are generally regarded as unwanted add-on components for different browsers (mostly Chrome, Safari and Firefox). They are different from viruses and are typically not programmed to carry out malicious processes in the system. Compared to a cryptovirus Ransomware, a Rootkits or a Trojan Horse, the typical browser hijacker is actually a rather harmless software piece. Despite this, however, the hijacker apps are still seen as unwanted and there are actually quite a few reasons for that. The first and most obvious one are the intrusive ad messages, pop-ups and page-redirects that such apps are likely to show on the screen of the computer’s main browser. This, however, is hardly the only annoying thing that a hijacker could do. In addition, such an app may set its own custom search engine and homepage address you your browser without really asking you for a permission. And, to top it all, any changes made by a hijacker inside your browser would be there to stay – in most cases, even if you try to restore the regular settings of your browser and bring back your preferred homepage, new-tab page and search engine, the chances are that the hijacker wouldn’t allow you to do that. Usually, as soon as you close the browser after having seemingly restored your personalized browser settings, the pesky hijacker would bring its own custom changes back and the next time you open the browser, you’d once again get faced with the unwanted modifications imposed by the invasive software piece.

CleverCaptcha

The likely reason you are reading this post at the moment is the presence of an invasive app called CleverCaptcha that is presently operating from within your computer’s main browser. It is understandable if you’d wish to uninstall CleverCaptcha from your machine and liberate your browser from its presence because this is one of the newest hijackers out there.

And, needless to say, the full removal of this software is pretty much the only surefire method of stopping its obstructive and unpleasant activities. In fact, there’s one other, even more important reason why removing this app is the best course of action in such a situation. We said at the start of this post that the hijackers aren’t really harmful pieces of software that are programmed to damage your system or mess with your personal data and we stand by our words. However, since the main goal of a hijacker is to make money through online marketing, it is likely to show you as many ads and redirect you to as many pages and sites as possible. The problem with that, aside from being incredibly annoying, is that it may sometimes contribute to a decrease in the safety and security of your machine. What we mean by that is you may get your computer exposed to potential carriers of Ransomware, Trojans, Spyware and other dangerous virus if you aren’t careful with the ads. Because of all that has been said so far, we strongly advise you to use the guide below which will show you how to remove Clever Captcha and how to stop its ads from spamming your screen.

SUMMARY:

NameClever Captcha
Type Browser Hijacker
Detection Tool

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Remove Clever Captcha Virus

In spite of their reputation for being hard to get rid of, Clever Captcha and other browser hijackers can be successfully removed. However, if you are dealing with such software for the first time, there are some concrete instructions that you may need to follow to deal with the hijacker. To begin, we recommend you try with the following steps:

  • If your browser has been hijacked by Clever Captcha, choose More Tools (or Add-ons) from the list of options in your browser’s main settings.
  • To discover all the extensions installed within the hijacked browser, go to the Extensions tab and open it.
  • Remove any unknown extensions you discover, including Clever Captcha if it appears as an extension in the list. No browser extension is critical to your system’s proper functioning, but it may be the source of annoying advertisements, banners, and perhaps even malicious behavior.
  • When you are done, open a new tab and check whether the browser is operating correctly.

Should you have difficulty when surfing, and Clever Captcha is the cause of the disruption, please follow the more comprehensive removal steps found below:


Step1

Note that you will need to restart your computer many times throughout the course of this removal guide. To make things easier, we advise you to save this page in your browser for future reference by bookmarking it. If you want to see this page on another device, you may do so by opening it up there.

To help locate all hijacker-related processes and files more quickly and to make it simpler to remove Clever Captcha, you should reboot the system in Safe Mode by following the instructions from the current link.

Step2

WARNING! READ CAREFULLY BEFORE PROCEEDING!

Next, you’ll need to open the Task Manager, (CTRL + SHIFT + ESC), and click on the Processes tab (in Windows 8 and 10 it is the “Details” Tab) to stop any hijacker-related processes from running on your computer. Once you have located these processes, check whether they belong to your system or any of the software applications you have installed.

Choosing a process, then right-clicking on it, and selecting Open File Location is a simple method to tell whether the process is hazardous.  

malware-start-taskbar

To make sure your computer is hijacker-free, run a free online virus scanning on all the files discovered in that folder by using the scanner below.

Each file will be scanned with up to 64 antivirus programs to ensure maximum accuracy
This scanner is free and will always remain free for our website's users.
This file is not matched with any known malware in the database. You can either do a full real-time scan of the file or skip it to upload a new file. Doing a full scan with 64 antivirus programs can take up to 3-4 minutes per file.
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Each file will be scanned with up to 64 antivirus programs to ensure maximum accuracy
    This scanner is based on VirusTotal's API. By submitting data to it, you agree to their Terms of Service and Privacy Policy, and to the sharing of your sample submission with the security community. Please do not submit files with personal information if you do not want them to be shared.

    When a hijacker-related code (or a dangerous code) is identified in any of the scanned files, stop the process by right-clicking on it and choosing End Process. You should also remove the dangerous files after you have completed that task.

    Note: To deal with Clever Captcha effectively, go through your Task Manager to see if there are any other strange processes running, and stop them if you think they are the cause of your browsing problems.

    Step3

    An increasing number of applications that are pleasing to the eye are packaged with browser hijackers, and when a user installs them through an installer, they receive the hijacker installed as extra software alongside the primary app. Therefore, you have added a new software on your system and then immediately started seeing Clever Captcha advertisements, it is in your best interest to go to the Start Menu >>>Control Panel>>> Programs and Features to uninstall the offending program.

    After that, remove any applications you believe are related to Clever Captcha’s existence on your computer. Additionally, you may do this for any other applications that are old and that you will not be using in the near future.

    After you uninstall any programs that seem to be related to Clever Captcha, open the Start menu and search for msconfig by typing it in the search field. In the System Configuration window that appears, choose the Startup tab:

    msconfig_opt

    Make sure that all the checkboxes there are selected by applications you trust and those you would want to have launched as soon as the system boots. In the event that you identify a startup item you consider to be a hijacker or which has an unknown manufacturer, please uncheck it. Then click OK to save your changes.

    Step4

    If you suspect that your computer is compromised by malware, apart from the hijacker, it is a good idea to search your computer’s Hosts file for indications of hacking.

    To do that, press the Start Key and R –  copy + paste the following in the Run window and click the OK button:

    notepad %windir%/system32/Drivers/etc/hosts

    If you have been hacked, look for strange-looking IP addresses under Localhost in the text:

    hosts_opt (1)

    If you notice nothing troubling, then just shut the file.

    If you see any unusual IP addresses listed below “Localhost” in your Hosts file, please drop us a comment, and we’ll give you our thoughts on what to do.

    It is possible that if your computer has been infected with a browser hijacker, this software may have made some DSN modifications without notifying you. Don’t worry, though, because in this step, we will demonstrate how to delete any such modifications.

    Open Network Connections that is accessible from the Start Menu through the search option. After this, do the steps below:

    1. Select the current Network Adapter and right-click on it, then choose —> Properties
    2. Next, select Internet Protocol Version 4 (ICP/IP) from the new Properties Window and click the Properties button at the bottom of the window.
    3. Select Obtain DNS server address automatically and then choose the Advanced button.
    4. In the DNS tab in the Advanced window, select everything that has been added there and remove it, then click OK.
    DNS

    Step5

    Next, we will walk you through how to get rid of Clever Captcha from your browsers. Even if you are not using all the browsers that you have installed on your machine, be sure to carefully follow the steps below. They apply to Firefox and Internet Explorer (or Edge) as well as Google Chrome, however be aware that the illustrative images below use Google Chrome as the example.

    Right-click on the browser’s shortcut icon and then choose Properties.

    browser-hijacker-taskbar-properties

    In the Properties window, click on the Shortcut tab in the top and then, iTarget, remove everything that you see added after .exe.

    Browser Hijacker Removal Instructions

    ie9-10_512x512  Remove Clever Captcha from Internet Explorer:

    You should open Internet Explorer, then click  IE GEAR  and then go to Manage Add-ons.

    pic 3

    The browser should display a list of installed add-ons. You must disable any third-party extensions that you believe are involved with Clever Captcha and its actions.

    You will also need to click once more on IE GEAR and then choose Internet Options. Check that the homepage URL is the one that you want, or change it if hijacked, and then click on Apply.

    firefox-512 Remove Clever Captcha from Firefox:

    Firefox should be launched. Go to the upper right corner and click on the menu icon. Next, select Add-ons and, on the left side, click on Extensions, and carefully uninstall any browser extensions you don’t use or believe are hijacker-related.

    pic 6

    chrome-logo-transparent-backgroundRemove Clever Captcha from Chrome:

    Google Chrome must be closed, and you must manually go to this URL:

     C:/Users/!!!!USER NAME!!!!/AppData/Local/Google/Chrome/User Data. 

    Right-click on the “Default” folder, and choose “Rename”. You should rename the folder to Backup Default and save that name.

    Rename the Folder to Backup Default

    You may then re-launch Chrome and check for any indications of Clever Captcha.

    Step6

    Next, you must launch the Registry Editor (type Regedit in the Windows search box and press Enter) and go through the registry to see whether Clever Captcha has added any registry entries in there. You may find the browser hijacker you want to delete by pressing CTRL+F and entering its name in the Find box.

    If you don’t find anything with the Find box, try to search for random files in the folders listed below:

    • HKEY_CURRENT_USER—-Software—–Random Directory.
    • HKEY_CURRENT_USER—-Software—Microsoft—-Windows—CurrentVersion—Run– Random.
    • HKEY_CURRENT_USER—-Software—Microsoft—Internet Explorer—-Main—- Random.

    You should check each one of them, and remove anything you are very certain belongs to Clever Captcha.

    Attention! Only experienced users should tinker with registry entries since, if the system becomes damaged, it may be because users have mistakenly removed something unrelated to the hijacker. It is thus recommended that if you have not dealt with registry files before, you download the anti-virus software we recommend and run a check on your computer to get rid of Clever Captcha without risking system corruption.

    What is Clever Captcha?

    Clever Captcha is an unwanted app that users unknowingly add to their browsers and that changes the browsers’ settings and causes automatic page redirects in them. Clever Captcha can be described as a browser-hijacker aimed at promoting certain sites and artificially boosting their ranking and view counts.

    Apps are very common, and it’s often difficult to avoid them. They typically spread through the use of file bundles and misleading pop-up notifications shown by fake/unreliable sites. Adopting safety habits and appropriate cyber hygiene is the best way to ensure that such browser-hijacking apps don’t end up in your computer and browsers.

    If, however, Clever Captcha or another similar software is already in your system, then you need to make sure it doesn’t stay there for long because even though this is not a virus or a dangerous Trojan Horse, it is still something undesirable that can expose your system and virtual privacy to different risks without you even realizing it.

    How dangerous is Clever Captcha?

    Clever Captcha is less dangerous than advanced malware threats like Ransomware and Trojan Horses, but it’s still not a safe software component and shouldn’t be treated as such. The ads and page redirects triggered by Clever Captcha can be dangerous because they can land you on unsafe web pages.

    To protect your computer and your virtual privacy, the best advice we could give you is to ignore any content that gets put on your screen by Clever Captcha and focus on the removal of this hijacker. The sooner Clever Captcha gets deleted, the lower the risk of getting your computer exposed to more dangerous software.

    Removing a browser hijacker, however, is oftentimes not very easily achievable because most such rogue apps make various changes in the System Registry, the Startup items list, and the Hosts file that allow them to remain in the system and/or automatically reinstall themselves even after the user has seemingly deleted them. This is why the removal process of a browser hijacker needs to be systematic and meticulously performed.

    How to remove Clever Captcha?

    To remove Clever Captcha, you must both clean all browsers in the system and the system itself from rogue components and settings. To remove Clever Captcha, it’s also important to find and delete any program on your computer that could have infected you with this hijacker.

    The removal process of this rogue software should roughly be performed in this way:

    1. Open Control Panel > Uninstall a Program and uninstall any program shown in that list that you have a reason to suspect could be linked to Clever Captcha.
    2. Start the Task Manager, select its Processes tab, and there search for processes that may be from Clever Captcha. If you find any, quit them and delete their file location folders.
    3. See if any changes have been made by Clever Captcha to the Hosts file, the Registry, the Startup items list, or the network settings, and restore what’s been changed back to its normal state.
    4. Lastly, check every browser in the computer for rogue/unfamiliar extensions, delete those extensions, and then clear the browser cache and cookies.

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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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