Smart Search is a potentially unwanted extension for Chrome, Firefox, and other commonly used browsers that seeks to inject your browser’s search engine with ads. Smart Search hijacks the search engine and replaces the homepage, which allows it to continuously spam the user with obstructive advertisements.
Very few people have tolerance for the aggressive ad-generating and page-redirecting activities that applications from the browser hijacker category can initiate in their browser. If you came here because your Chrome, Firefox or Explorer browser has been invaded by one such application called Smart Search and there have been unwelcome homepage changes or search engine replacements, then you may want to stay here to learn more about this app and about the ways to eliminate it.
In this article, we will tell you everything that you need to know about Smart Search in particular, as well as about any other browser hijacker that may be in your system. Usually, most users tend to have concerns about their system’s safety when they face a hijacker and that is understandable given the invasive nature of the nagging app. But the truth is, we cannot attribute any major system damage or serious malicious activity to apps of the hijacker family. Yet, most browser hijackers tend to have some quite alarming and even scary symptoms and distinctive features which may oftentimes be mistaken for a Trojan Horse attack or a Ransomware invasion or for some other sort of nasty computer infection. These symptoms usually include unauthorized changes in the main browser’s settings (such as homepage or search engine replacements, installation of new toolbars and redirect buttons, etc.). It is not uncommon for the hijackers to also fill the browser’s screen with hundreds of advertisements in the form of ads, pop-ups, banners and links. Clicking on those ads may often redirect you to various sponsored pages which may be suspicious or of low-quality. Not to mention that it can be very annoying to constantly get interrupted by different pop-ups and click prompts while you are trying to browse the web. Therefore, even though we cannot consider Smart Search as a virus, letting it mess with your browsing experience for a long time is undesirable and, for this reason, we have prepared instructions that will show you how to remove it and uninstall its changes from your main browsing program.
What are the browser hijackers and why is their presence undesirable?
Applications such as Smart Search and Clever Captcha typically serve the interests of the online marketing industry and are not related to any illegal or criminal practices. This being said, their main purpose is to advertise and promote certain goods, services, websites, etc. and to generate pay-per-click profits for their developers without much regard for the users’ comfort or online security. They do this by spamming your screen with all sorts of pop-ups, banners, sponsored links, ads, new tabs and redirect messages which get displayed during your web browsing sessions. At the same time, more often than not, this advertising activity can affect the performance of your PC as a whole. Sooner or later, the constant generation of advertisements which is wasting your system resources, may slow down the entire system and begin to cause failures in individual applications as well as browser unresponsiveness, screen freezing and sometimes even sudden crashes. Another much more significant reason why we consider the presence of such applications undesirable is the possibility of an infection with really dangerous software. Many hackers and cyber criminals often inject malicious scripts of viruses and malware such as Trojans and Ransomware in different online advertising materials. Therefore, the risk of clicking on a malicious ad hidden among the huge amount of adverts that you normally see on your screen thanks to an application like Smart Search is quite big. Having the hijacker uninstalled, however, can remove all of its ads and can reduce the risk of getting exposed to malvertisements.
|Danger Level||Medium (nowhere near threats like Ransomware, but still a security risk)|
|Symptoms||Most commonly, your browser may start to spam you with different ads and redirects.|
|Distribution Method||Software bundles, torrents, ads, spam, free download links, freeware and shareware platforms.|
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.
Smart Search Chrome Removal
To try and remove Smart Search quickly you can try this:
- Go to your browser’s settings and select More Tools (or Add-ons, depending on your browser).
- Then click on the Extensions tab.
- Look for the Smart Search extension (as well as any other unfamiliar ones).
- Remove Smart Search by clicking on the Trash Bin icon next to its name.
- Confirm and get rid of Smart Search and any other suspicious items.
If this does not work as described please follow our more detailed Smart Search removal guide below.
If you have a Windows virus, continue with the guide below.
If you have a Mac virus, please use our How to remove Ads on Mac guide.
If you have an Android virus, please use our Android Malware Removal guide.
If you have an iPhone virus, please use our iPhone Virus Removal guide
Some of the steps will likely require you to exit the page. Bookmark it for later reference.
Reboot in Safe Mode (use this guide if you don’t know how to do it).
WARNING! READ CAREFULLY BEFORE PROCEEDING!
Press CTRL + SHIFT + ESC at the same time and go to the Processes Tab (the “Details” Tab on Win 8 and 10). Try to determine which processes are dangerous.
Right click on each of them and select Open File Location. Then scan the files with our free online virus scanner:
After you open their folder, end the processes that are infected, then delete their folders.
Note: If you are sure something is part of the infection – delete it, even if the scanner doesn’t flag it. No anti-virus program can detect all infections.
Hold together the Start Key and R. Type appwiz.cpl –> OK.
You are now in the Control Panel. Look for suspicious entries. Uninstall it/them.
Type msconfig in the search field and hit enter. A window will pop-up:
Startup —> Uncheck entries that have “Unknown” as Manufacturer or otherwise look suspicious.
Hold the Start Key and R – copy + paste the following and click OK:
A new file will open. If you are hacked, there will be a bunch of other IPs connected to you at the bottom. Look at the image below:
If there are suspicious IPs below “Localhost” – write to us in the comments.
Open the start menu and search for Network Connections (On Windows 10 you just write it after clicking the Windows button), press enter.
- Right-click on the Network Adapter you are using —> Properties —> Internet Protocol Version 4 (ICP/IP), click Properties.
- The DNS line should be set to Obtain DNS server automatically. If it is not, set it yourself.
- Click on Advanced —> the DNS tab. Remove everything here (if there is something) —> OK.
- After you complete this step, the threat will be gone from your browsers. Finish the next step as well or it may reappear on a system reboot.
Right click on the browser’s shortcut —> Properties.
NOTE: We are showing Google Chrome, but you can do this for Firefox and IE (or Edge).
Properties —–> Shortcut. In Target, remove everything after .exe.
Remove Smart Search from Internet Explorer:
Open IE, click —–> Manage Add-ons.
Find the threat —> Disable. Go to —–> Internet Options —> change the URL to whatever you use (if hijacked) —> Apply.
Remove Smart Search from Firefox:
Open Firefox, click ——-> Add-ons —-> Extensions.
Remove Smart Search from Chrome:
Close Chrome. Navigate to:
C:/Users/!!!!USER NAME!!!!/AppData/Local/Google/Chrome/User Data. There is a Folder called “Default” inside:
Rename it to Backup Default. Restart Chrome.
Type Regedit in the windows search field and press Enter.
Inside, press CTRL and F together and type the threat’s Name. Right click and delete any entries you find with a similar name. If they don’t show up this way, go manually to these directories and delete/uninstall them:
- HKEY_CURRENT_USER—-Software—–Random Directory. It could be any one of them – ask us if you can’t discern which ones are malicious.
HKEY_CURRENT_USER—-Software—Microsoft—Internet Explorer—-Main—- Random
If the guide doesn’t help, download the anti-virus program we recommended or try our free online virus scanner. Also, you can always ask us in the comments for help!