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Remove smartcaptchasolve.top pop-up virus in Chrome, Firefox, IE, Safari

5 min read
Remove smartcaptchasolve.top pop-up virus
Find out what dubious scheme the operators of the smartcaptchasolve.top website have up their sleeve and how to stop its browser redirect and pop-up chicanery.
  1. What is smartcaptchasolve.top?
  2. Automated removal of smartcaptchasolve.top virus
  3. Smartcaptchasolve.top redirect removal for Android
  4. Restore web browser settings to their original defaults

What is smartcaptchasolve.top?

As manifold as it is, today’s cybercrime is largely a mix of several impactful exploitation vectors. Ransomware, info-stealing Trojans, and social engineering frauds, such as classic phishing and business email compromise (BEC), account for the bulk of the global attack pressure in financial terms. But there is one more tactic that doesn’t get as much attention from the mass media and security researchers but makes an incredibly large number of users frown. It circles around adware, a type of pesky code that focuses on disrupting the web browsing side of its victims’ computing experience. Redirect activity is an extremely widespread spin-off of this dirty play. The unwanted program that forces hits to smartcaptchasolve.top page typifies its very peculiar variant due to the abuse of a legitimate service called web push notifications.

Smartcaptchasolve.top mimics human verification to gain excess permissions
Smartcaptchasolve.top mimics human verification to gain excess permissions

When hit by this baddie, a computer or mobile device undergoes a series of adverse tweaks at the level of web browsers installed on it. This unwelcome influence manifests itself through re-occurring redirects to smartcaptchasolve.top/robot4/index.html, followed by a long alphanumeric string. In some cases, the URL is prepended with a random letter and a period, for instance, f.smartcaptchasolve.top. The concatenated part is an identifier of a sketchy advertising campaign, while the goal of the variable prefixes is to keep the spammy business up and running if antiviruses and web browsers blacklist some of those domain versions. For example, a once very active offshoot of this particular lineage called captchafilter.top has recently become inaccessible. Another clone, digitalcaptcha.top, is still on track but is being detected by several security apps. Several similar sites that are currently giving users a hard time are news-themes.com, expensivesurvey.live, and check-this-video.com. As a rule, these are all short-lived domains that are superseded by analogues at a quick rate.

Threat details:
Name Smartcaptchasolve.top pop-up / redirect virus
Threat Category Pop-up ads, web push notifications, browser hijacker
Domains involved a.smartcaptchasolve.top, b.smartcaptchasolve.top, c.smartcaptchasolve.top, d.smartcaptchasolve.top, captchafilter.top, captcha-smart.top, etc.
Symptoms Unwanted pop-up ads, browser redirects, fraudulent permission requests, browser slowdown
Distribution techniques Ads on social networks, malicious app bundles, search engine poisoning, hacked websites
Severity Medium
Damage Intrusive ads, unauthorized changes of browsing preferences, Internet activity tracking
Removal Scan your PC with Combo Cleaner for Windows to detect all files related to topnewsfeeds.net pop-up virus. Free scan determines if your system is infected. To get rid of the threat, you need to purchase the full version of the anti-malware tool.

Nearly every element of the landing page pushes the victim to opt for receiving tons of follow-up ads. First off, it’s titled “Click Allow”. This phrase is referring to a button on a pop-up dialog that appears at the top left of the browser window and says, “Smartcaptchasolve.top wants to show notifications”. A big giveaway is that the central section of the site associates the “Allow” button with human verification, emphasizing that it’s a way to “confirm that you are not a robot”. Despite the subtle inconsistency, the whole idea is straightforward. It boils down to fooling the user into permitting this dubious service to display notifications. What are those notifications? The short answer is, ads.

If the user gets on the hook and expresses their consent to the offering, push notifications will be literally invading the computer’s desktop or the smartphone’s home screen. In addition to serving garden-variety commercial content, they may include links that lead to online scams or malware downloads. It doesn’t even matter if the web browser is running or not – the adverts will keep appearing in either scenario.

Interstitial page involved in the smartcaptchasolve.top content delivery scheme
Interstitial page involved in the smartcaptchasolve.top content delivery scheme

There is a reverse side of this matter: some users are vigilant enough to avoid the trap at the early stage of this manipulation and never actually click that “Allow” button. This approach keeps those push ads from appearing, but with the caveat that smartcaptchasolve.top will trigger an automatic rerouting process after a predefined period of inactivity. As a result, the victim will be visiting garbage sites like best-prizes.life (see screenshot above) that, in turn, resolve advertising pages aligned with the person’s geographic location.

An important thing many users don’t realize is that this is an adware problem. The whirl of rerouting starts with an installation of a booby-trapped app. This is usually a bundle of several programs in which some harmless freeware serves as a red herring that hides the presence of an aggressive browser hijacker in plain sight. As soon as the pest is in, it skews the default web surfing settings so that smartcaptchasolve.top takes over the victim’s online routine. That being said, simply ignoring the permission requests to show notifications is half the battle. The fix is only effective as long as the underlying malicious app is removed from the host system. This is what the remaining part of this article is about.

Use Combo Cleaner for Windows to remove smartcaptchasolve.top pop-up virus

When faced with malware like smartcaptchasolve.top, one of the best shortcuts in terms of removal is to use Combo Cleaner, a lightweight and incredibly effective application with PC security and optimization features under the hood. It detects and thoroughly deletes threats while giving you insights into the overall health of your computer.

This program’s protection power spans modules that forestall all known types of malware, including ransomware and browser hijackers, and take your online security to the next level by blocking phishing sites and other suspicious web pages. Follow these simple steps to eliminate the infection for good:

1. Download Combo Cleaner installer.

Download smartcaptchasolve.top pop-up virus remover

Combo Cleaner scans your PC with no strings attached, but you’ll have to buy its fully functional version to remove the threats it detects. The disk optimization tools that find large files and duplicates are free to use.

Download and run Combo Cleaner installer on your PC

2. Open the CCSetup.exe file to get started. Several subsequent screens will allow you to make initial customizations so that the program works exactly as you need from the get-go.Setup customizations

3. The installation will be followed by an update of malware signatures. Once this process is through, click the Start Scan button in the left-hand sidebar.Start initial scan

4. Combo Cleaner will then check system locations that are most often polluted by Windows malware. The first scan can take a while to finish.Combo Cleaner scan in progress

5. Combo Cleaner will display a system tray notification as soon as the scan is over. Click the Resolve found threats button to view the results.Scan completed

6. The scan summary shows the names and types of the detected threats as well as their statuses and locations. Click the Remove all threats button and follow further on-screen prompts to get rid of these items.Scan results

Use Control Panel to get rid of smartcaptchasolve.top virus

• Open up the Control Panel from your Start menu in Windows. Depending on the OS build, select Uninstall a program (Windows 10, 7 and Vista) or Add or Remove Programs (Windows 8).Access program uninstall screen on Windows

• To facilitate the process of locating the threat, sort the programs list by date to get the latest ones displayed at the very top. Find an unfamiliar, suspicious entry under the Name column, click Uninstall and follow further directions to get the removal done.Uninstall unwanted program

Smartcaptchasolve.top redirect removal for Android

Here’s a walkthrough to sort out the smartcaptchasolve.top pop-up virus issue on an Android device, which might also be a target in this malvertising campaign. Keep in mind, though, that uninstall attempts in regular mode may be futile due to the mechanics of this persistent infection. Therefore, you need to perform the procedure in safe mode. Go ahead and do the following:

• Press and hold the Power button. Then, tap and hold the Power off option on the screen. Doing so will boot your device into safe mode.Android power off

• Android will ask you to confirm that you’d like to enter safe mode. Tap OK on the dialog.Safe mode reboot confirmation

• You will now see the Safe mode inscription at the bottom left of your screen. Go to Settings and choose Apps.Go to Settings - Apps

• Scroll down the list of applications, focusing on the ones that were installed recently. Find smartcaptchasolve.top or another sketchy entry with a different name that could as well be the culprit.Spot the unwanted app

• Select the misbehaving app and tap Uninstall.Uninstall the PUA

• Confirm removal on the relevant dialog box and reboot your device. By default, Android will get you back into regular mode. You should now be good to go – the smartcaptchasolve.top pop-up virus won’t be triggering any redirects or irritating popups anymore.

Restore web browser settings to their original defaults

In the circumstances of a complex browser hijack like this, executing a reset makes the most sense despite a few obvious downsides. Customizations such as saved passwords, bookmarked pages etc. will be gone, but so will all the changes made by the potentially unwanted program. The instructions below address the workflow for the web browsers most targeted by the smartcaptchasolve.top pop-up virus.

Reset Google Chrome

• Open Chrome, expand the Customize and control Google Chrome menu and choose Settings.Go to Settings in Chrome

• Click Advanced in the sidebar, scroll down to Reset and clean up, and select this option.Click Reset and clean up in the sidebar

• Click Restore settings to their original defaults.Restore Chrome settings to their original defaults

• Finally, confirm the restoration by clicking Reset settings on the warning message.Reset Chrome settings

• Restart Chrome.

Reset Mozilla Firefox

• Open Firefox, type about:support in the URL area and press Enter. Alternatively, you can click on the Open menu icon in the top right-hand part of the browser window, then select the Help option and proceed to Troubleshooting Information.Access Troubleshooting Information page in Firefox

• On the Troubleshooting Information screen, spot the Refresh Firefox button and click on it.Refresh Firefox button

• Follow subsequent directions to reset Firefox to its original settings.Complete refreshing Firefox

• Restart the browser.

Reset Internet Explorer

• Select Internet options under IE’s Tools (Alt+X).Open up Internet options in Internet Explorer

• Proceed by clicking on Advanced tab, then select Reset.Locate and click the Reset button in IE

• To confirm the intended changes, click Reset on the Reset Internet Explorer Settings screen after ascertaining that the Delete personal settings checkbox is enabled.IE reset confirmation

• Reboot the machine to fully implement the fix.

Reset Safari

• Go to the Safari menu and select Preferences.Go to Safari Preferences

• When on the Preferences screen, select the Privacy tab and hit the Manage Website Data button.Hit the Manage Website Data button

• Click the Remove All button to purge all website data. Be advised this will log you out of online services and undo personalized web browser settings such as saved passwords, etc. If you aren’t okay with this, proceed to the next step.Remove all website data in Safari

• Safari also allows deleting data for specific sites rather than all sites in general. To use this option, select the unwanted site in the ‘Manage Website Data’ list and click Remove. Then, click Done.Erase website data in Safari

• Click the Develop menu in the Finder bar and select Empty Caches.Safari: Empty Caches

• Finally, expand the History menu from the Finder bar and click Clear History.Safari: Clear History

• Make sure all history is selected on the dialog that will appear and click Clear History to get rid of cookies and other potentially unwanted data.Click the Clear History

• Restart Safari.

Revise your security status

Post-factum assessment of the accuracy component in malware removal scenarios is a great habit that prevents the comeback of harmful code or replication of its unattended fractions. Make sure you are good to go by running an additional safety checkup.

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