Severity scale:  
  (9/100)

M.smartsrch.com. How to remove? (Uninstall guide)

removal by Olivia Morelli - - | Type: Browser hijacker

M.smartsrch.com is a browser hijacker that initiates unwanted customizations on Chrome

M.smartsrch.com browser hijacker

M.smartsrch.com is a search engine developed by AirFind Corp. Just like other web domains for searching the web; it promises to provide accurate search results and possible. However, the site does not function properly, and people won't be able to see reliable links while using it. M.smartsrch.com URL has been included in most of the AV engines as a PUP (Potentially Unwanted Program)[1] and browser hijacker because of its characteristics. Not only the tool is distributed bundled with freeware.[2] Upon installation, it hijacks Chrome and other web browsers by replacing a startup page with http://m.smartsrch.com/search, taking up new tab URL, search engine, and different settings.

Name M.smartsrch.com
Classification Browser hijacker
Main symptoms Browser's settings corrupted, continuous redirects to suspicious websites, excessive amount of ads, inability to remove M.smartsrch.com search from web browser
Why is it dangerous? Despite the search engine is not dangerous on its own, it may present people with suspicious or malicious content, as well as redirect to phishing sites. 
Distribution Freeware bundling
Elimination The easiest way to get rid of this browser hijacker is to run a scan with Reimage and the reset web browser's settings.

Despite the fact that the tool is promoted on the airfind.com domain, people fall for installing it intentionally very rarely. The M.smartsrch.com virus usually hijacks web browsers during careless freeware or shareware installation.
The stealthy distribution method is one of the reasons why this web browser's extension is classified as PUP. Among other negative features are:

  • Continuous search redirects to smartsrch.com affiliate websites;
  • Unauthorized web browser's changes;
  • The changes of browser's settings, which cannot be changed;
  • An increment of ads and other commercial content;
  • Browser's slowdowns and infiltration of similar malware-type programs.

Smartsrch.com virus is not the most dangerous cyber infection. In comparison to spyware, worm, ransomware, etc. browser hijackers are harmless. However, PUP capabilities should not be underestimated. As we have already pointed out, PUPs work in collaboration with third parties that may try to promote all kinds of things and services.

While most of the ads are solely promotional used to foist expensive products or questionable services, a part of them may be potentially dangerous or malicious. The content delivered by M.smartsrch.com malware can redirect you to phishing sites and where you can be tricked into installing a severe cyber infection.

Quite frequently, crooks take advantage of PUPs to redirect people to tech-support-scam pages or fake online surveys, which is why we strongly recommend people to perform smartsrch.com removal without delay.

Usage of tracking cookies should not be ignored as well. Although most of the sites use them, people's content is typically required. In this case, the user of the hijacked website is not asked whether he or she agrees with the exposure of Search Data. Even more, people are not directly informed about a type of information that may be collected. As pointed out in the Privacy Policy of the smartsrch.com:

We may now or in the future receive Personally Identifiable Information about you from third parties. For example, if you access our Sites or Services through a third-party connection or log-in, including social networking services such as Google, Facebook, or Twitter, by “following,” “liking,” adding the AirFind application, linking your account to the Services, etc., that third party may pass certain information about your use of its service to AirFind. This information could include, but is not limited to, the user ID associated with your account (for example, your Facebook user identification), an access token necessary to access that service, any information that you have permitted the third party to share with us, and any information you have made public in connection with that service.

Therefore, we suggest you remove smartsrch.com virus without delay. For this purpose, you can use Reimage, Malwarebytes MalwarebytesCombo Cleaner, Plumbytes Anti-MalwareMalwarebytes Malwarebytes or any other security software that you prefer. Nevertheless, make sure to use an updated version of the software as otherwise it may fail to detect unwanted programs.

Freeware is the medium used to spread browser hijacker

Although browser add-ons, toolbars, extensions, and similar components can be distributed via legitimate websites and sources, most frequently they spread bundled with freeware and shareware. Such decision is based on the low-detection ration, meaning that people fall for installing it unintentionally.

Many free apps, especially those promoted on questionable third-party websites, are frequently filled with additional components for the sake of monetization. Therefore, dieviren.de[3] experts recommend people to install free programs carefully. One of the main tips to be mind is to select Advanced or Custom freeware installation method and deselect all additional components that travel marked by default.

Remove M.smartsrch.com virus from Chrome and other browsers

To initiate M.smartsrch.com removal ultimately, you have to get rid of malware that you have installed with freeware. However, make sure that there may be more than one PUP installed without your consent, so carefully check the list of installed apps. The instructions provided below may help you.

Alternatively, we recommend using a professional anti-virus program. A full system scan will ensure a successful malware removal procedure. As soon as you remove M.smartsrch.com from your PC, reset your web browser's settings to eliminate it from a web browser.

You can remove virus damage automatically with a help of one of these programs: Reimage, Malwarebytes MalwarebytesCombo Cleaner, Plumbytes Anti-MalwareMalwarebytes Malwarebytes. We recommend these applications because they detect potentially unwanted programs and viruses with all their files and registry entries that are related to them.

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What to do if failed?
If you failed to remove virus damage using Reimage, submit a question to our support team and provide as much details as possible.
Reimage is recommended to remove virus damage. Free scanner allows you to check whether your PC is infected or not. If you need to remove malware, you have to purchase the licensed version of Reimage malware removal tool.
Alternative Software
Different security software includes different virus database. If you didn’t succeed in finding malware with Reimage, try running alternative scan with Malwarebytes.
Alternative Software
Different security software includes different virus database. If you didn’t succeed in finding malware with Reimage, try running alternative scan with Combo Cleaner.

To remove M.smartsrch.com, follow these steps:

WindowsMac OS XInternet ExplorerMicrosoft EdgeFirefoxGoogle ChromeSafari

Remove M.smartsrch.com from Windows systems

The following tutorial explains how to get rid of M.smartsrch.com PUP from Windows. Although the procedure is not difficult, make sure to perform each step carefully.

  1. Click Start Control Panel Programs and Features (if you are Windows XP user, click on Add/Remove Programs).Click 'Start -> Control Panel -> Programs and Features' (if you are 'Windows XP' user, click on 'Add/Remove Programs').
  2. If you are Windows 10 / Windows 8 user, then right-click in the lower left corner of the screen. Once Quick Access Menu shows up, select Control Panel and Uninstall a Program. If you are 'Windows 10 / Windows 8' user, then right-click in the lower left corner of the screen. Once 'Quick Access Menu' shows up, select 'Control Panel' and 'Uninstall a Program'.
  3. Uninstall M.smartsrch.com and related programs
    Here, look for M.smartsrch.com or any other recently installed suspicious programs.
  4. Uninstall them and click OK to save these changes. Right click on each of suspicious entries and select 'Uninstall'
  5. Remove M.smartsrch.com from Windows shortcuts
    Right click on the shortcut of Mozilla Firefox and select Properties. Right click on browsers' icon and select 'Properties'
  6. Go to Shortcut tab and look at the Target field. Delete malicious URL that is related to your virus. Select 'Shortcut' tab and delete 'http://isearch.babylon.com...' or other suspicious URL

Repeat steps that are given above with all browsers' shortcuts, including Internet Explorer and Google Chrome. Make sure you check all locations of these shortcuts, including Desktop, Start Menu and taskbar.

WindowsMac OS XInternet ExplorerMicrosoft EdgeFirefoxGoogle ChromeSafari

Erase M.smartsrch.com from Mac OS X system

  1. If you are using OS X, click Go button at the top left of the screen and select Applications. Cick 'Go' and select 'Applications'
  2. Wait until you see Applications folder and look for M.smartsrch.com or any other suspicious programs on it. Now right click on every of such entries and select Move to Trash. Click on every malicious entry and select 'Move to Trash'
WindowsMac OS XInternet ExplorerMicrosoft EdgeFirefoxGoogle ChromeSafari

Eliminate M.smartsrch.com from Internet Explorer (IE)

Internet Explorer users can recover their web browser's settings by following these steps:

  1. Remove dangerous add-ons
    Open Internet Explorer, click on the Gear icon (IE menu) on the top right corner of the browser and choose Manage Add-ons. Click on menu icon and select 'Manage add-ons'
  2. You will see a Manage Add-ons window. Here, look for M.smartsrch.com and other suspicious plugins. Disable these entries by clicking Disable: Right click on each of malicious entries and select 'Disable'
  3. Change your homepage if it was altered by virus:
    Click on the gear icon (menu) on the top right corner of the browser and select Internet Options. Stay in General tab.
  4. Here, remove malicious URL and enter preferable domain name. Click Apply to save changes. Delete malicious URL, enter your desired domain name and click 'Apply' to save changes
  5. Reset Internet Explorer
    Click on the gear icon (menu) again and select Internet options. Go to Advanced tab.
  6. Here, select Reset.
  7. When in the new window, check Delete personal settings and select Reset again to complete M.smartsrch.com removal. Go to 'Advanced' tab and click on 'Reset' button. Now select 'Delete personal settings' and click on 'Reset' button again
WindowsMac OS XInternet ExplorerMicrosoft EdgeFirefoxGoogle ChromeSafari

Delete M.smartsrch.com from Microsoft Edge

If your web browser has been hijacked, you should remove malware from the system as explained above and then reset browser's settings. However, it's not enough to set another start page as default. As long as unwanted extensions will remain active, unwanted search engine will be reset after browser's restart.

Reset Microsoft Edge settings (Method 1):

  1. Launch Microsoft Edge app and click More (three dots at the top right corner of the screen).
  2. Click Settings to open more options.
  3. Once Settings window shows up, click Choose what to clear button under Clear browsing data option. Go to Settings and select 'Choose what to clear'
  4. Here, select all what you want to remove and click Clear. Select 'Clear' button
  5. Now you should right-click on the Start button (Windows logo). Here, select Task Manager. Open the start menu and select 'Task Manager'
  6. When in Processes tab, search for Microsoft Edge.
  7. Right-click on it and choose Go to details option. If can’t see Go to details option, click More details and repeat previous steps. Right-click 'Microsoft Edge' and select 'Go to details' Select 'More details' if 'Go to details' option fails to show up
  8. When Details tab shows up, find every entry with Microsoft Edge name in it. Right click on each of them and select End Task to end these entries. Find Microsoft Edge entries and select 'End Task'

Resetting Microsoft Edge browser (Method 2):

If Method 1 failed to help you, you need to use an advanced Edge reset method.

  1. Note: you need to backup your data before using this method.
  2. Find this folder on your computer: C:\Users\%username%\AppData\Local\Packages\Microsoft.MicrosoftEdge_8wekyb3d8bbwe.
  3. Select every entry which is saved on it and right click with your mouse. Then Delete option. Go to Microsoft Edge folder on your computer, right-click every entry and click 'Delete'
  4. Click the Start button (Windows logo) and type in window power in Search my stuff line.
  5. Right-click the Windows PowerShell entry and choose Run as administrator. Find Windows PowerShell, right-click it and select 'Run as administrator'
  6. Once Administrator: Windows PowerShell window shows up, paste this command line after PS C:\WINDOWS\system32> and press Enter:
    Get-AppXPackage -AllUsers -Name Microsoft.MicrosoftEdge | Foreach {Add-AppxPackage -DisableDevelopmentMode -Register $($_.InstallLocation)\AppXManifest.xml -Verbose}
    Copy and paste a required command and press 'Enter'

Once these steps are finished, M.smartsrch.com should be removed from your Microsoft Edge browser.

WindowsMac OS XInternet ExplorerMicrosoft EdgeFirefoxGoogle ChromeSafari

Uninstall M.smartsrch.com from Mozilla Firefox (FF)

  1. Remove dangerous extensions
    Open Mozilla Firefox, click on the menu icon (top right corner) and select Add-ons Extensions. Click on menu icon and select 'Add-ons'
  2. Here, select M.smartsrch.com and other questionable plugins. Click Remove to delete these entries. Select 'Extensions' and look for malicious entries. Click 'Remove' to get rid of each of them
  3. Change your homepage if it was altered by virus:
    Click on the menu (top right corner), choose Options General.
  4. Here, delete malicious URL and enter preferable website or click Restore to default.
  5. Click OK to save these changes. When in 'General' tab, delete malicious URL from 'Home Page' section or click on 'Restore to Default' button. Click 'OK' to save changes
  6. Reset Mozilla Firefox
    Click on the Firefox menu on the top left and click on the question mark. Here, choose Troubleshooting Information. Click on menu icon and then on '?'. Select 'Troubleshooting Information'
  7. Now you will see Reset Firefox to its default state message with Reset Firefox button. Click this button for several times and complete M.smartsrch.com removal. Click on 'Reset Firefox' button for a couple of times
WindowsMac OS XInternet ExplorerMicrosoft EdgeFirefoxGoogle ChromeSafari

Get rid of M.smartsrch.com from Google Chrome

Google Chrome users should follow this tutorial to get rid of a browser hijacker:

  1. Delete malicious plugins
    Open Google Chrome, click on the menu icon (top right corner) and select Tools Extensions. Click on menu icon. Select 'Tools' and 'Extensions'
  2. Here, select M.smartsrch.com and other malicious plugins and select trash icon to delete these entries. Look for malicious entries and delete each of them by clicking on the Trash bin icon
  3. Change your homepage and default search engine if it was altered by your virus
    Click on menu icon and choose Settings.
  4. Here, look for the Open a specific page or set of pages under On startup option and click on Set pages. After clicking on menu and 'Settings', select 'Set pages'
  5. Now you should see another window. Here, delete malicious search sites and enter the one that you want to use as your homepage. Click 'X' to remove malicious URLs
  6. Click on menu icon again and choose Settings Manage Search engines under the Search section. When in 'Settings', select 'Manage search engines...'
  7. When in Search Engines..., remove malicious search sites. You should leave only Google or your preferred domain name. Click 'X' to remove malicious URLs
  8. Reset Google Chrome
    Click on menu icon on the top right of your Google Chrome and select Settings.
  9. Scroll down to the end of the page and click on Reset browser settings. When in 'Settings', scroll down to 'Reset browser settings' button and click on it
  10. Click Reset to confirm this action and complete M.smartsrch.com removal. Click on 'Reset' button to complete your removal
WindowsMac OS XInternet ExplorerMicrosoft EdgeFirefoxGoogle ChromeSafari

Remove M.smartsrch.com from Safari

  1. Remove dangerous extensions
    Open Safari web browser and click on Safari in menu at the top left of the screen. Once you do this, select Preferences. Click on 'Safari' and select 'Preferences'
  2. Here, select Extensions and look for M.smartsrch.com or other suspicious entries. Click on the Uninstall button to get rid each of them. Go to 'Extensions' and uninstall malicious add-ons
  3. Change your homepage if it was altered by virus:
    Open your Safari web browser and click on Safari in menu section. Here, select Preferences as it was displayed previously and select General.
  4. Here, look at the Homepage field. If it was altered by M.smartsrch.com, remove unwanted link and enter the one that you want to use for your searches. Remember to include the "http://" before typing in the address of the page. When in 'General', delete malicious URL and enter your desired domain name
  5. Reset Safari
    Open Safari browser and click on Safari in menu section at the top left of the screen. Here, select Reset Safari.... Click on 'Safari' and select 'Reset Safari...'
  6. Now you will see a detailed dialog window filled with reset options. All of those options are usually checked, but you can specify which of them you want to reset. Click the Reset button to complete M.smartsrch.com removal process. Select all options and click on 'Reset' button

About the author

Olivia Morelli
Olivia Morelli - Ransomware analyst

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