Severity scale:  
  (10/100) How to remove? (Uninstall guide)

removal by Gabriel E. Hall - - | Type: Browser hijacker
12 – a questionable search engine that might hijack popular web browsers hijacks most popular web browsers is a highly suspicious search engine created by FirstGate Mobile Limited. It is classified as a browser hijacker[1] and might hijack Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Internet Explorer, and other web browsers. As a result, users are forced to use an unknown search tool and cannot replace it until they get rid of the potentially unwanted program (PUP) and all its components.

Type PUP, Browser Hijacker
Danger level Medium
Symptoms Corrupted web browser's settings (new tab URL, start page, search engine), common redirects to suspicious websites, intrusive ads
Distribution Software bundling, phishing sites
To remove, install Reimage and run a full system scan spreads as a browser extension called Smart Search and promises faster and cleaner search. The program has an official website where users are suggested to download it directly to the browser. The extension asks for these permissions:

  • Read and change all your data on the websites you visit
  • Change your search settings to: download extension

However, the Smart Search browser extension is also widely distributed with freeware and shareware. Hence, it might enter the system unnoticed and make these (and many other changes) without asking user's direct permission. Finding one of the following changes on the browser often leads people thinking that their machines were infected with virus:

  • default search engine, homepage, and new tab URL address changed to or;
  • built-in search engine replaced by Smart Search;
  • installation of unknown browser extensions and add-ons;
  • redirects to suspicious third-party websites;
  • an increased amount of ads, banner, pop-ups or in-text ads. download website

Unfortunately, it's not easy to get rid of these changes easily unless you remove and related components. However, it might not be as simple as you may think.The extension may be restored after setting another start page and search provider or even resetting web browser’s settings to default. 

You might consider using anti-malware software like Reimage for complete and quick removal. Security software can quickly eliminate suspicious components from the system. Though, you should not delay this task and continue using this bogus search tool.

One of the reasons why we urge to get rid of this search tool is that it might pose a risk to your privacy and security. This search engine might include links to third-party sites which are not always relevant and safe. Therefore, redirect issues might lead to infiltration of malware or phishing attack. endrosement disclaimer

The problem is that Search Smart virus is deeply involved in affiliate marketing. Thus, do not fall for believing that the Yahoo-based search results that it provides are genuine. You may receive multiple third-party links and intrusive ads among search results, which may be used for generating pay-per-click[2] revenue. Some of the ads or websites promoted via URL can promote fake software updates or other potentially dangerous content.

The presence or appearance of third-party logos, names, and/or hyperlinks should not be construed as endorsements of FirstGate Mobile Limited (“FML”) by any third-party whose logo, name, and/or hyperlinks appear on this site. All third-party endorsements will be clearly and conspicuously marked as endorsements.

[Source: Endorsement Disclaimer And DMCA Policy]

This search is also capable of monitoring users’ web browsing activities. The bulk of accumulated information is not treated personal, but email address, IP address, name, and similar content that allow identifying you can also be gathered and shared with third parties. privacy policy

Therefore, we highly recommend you to remove from the system with delay. The rejection of third-party search site will help you to clean the browser from potentially dangerous ads and identity-related issues. As we already mentioned, the best way to get rid of the browser hijacker is to use anti-malware software.

However, those who prefer manual PUP removal can also find help here. Our research team has submitted a step-by-step uninstall guide, which can be found at the end of this post.

A suspicious browser extension is widely spread in software bundles

Nevertheless, the program has an official website and currently is available on Chrome Store; direct downloads is not the main distribution method of Search Smart distribution. They rely on questionable software marketing method called “bundling.” Chrome extension

Software bundling is a term used to describe a legitimate distribution strategy for free applications. However, the question whether it should be considered legit is still debatable.[3] team disapproves of bundling and claims that this method is a catch tricking thousands of PC users into installing unwanted programs every day.

This method allows distribution of software packages, which include the free app that the user opts for installing and one or several “optional components,” such as extensions, add-ons or toolbars. They are not disclosed on Quick or Recommended setup. Therefore, the selection of these options gives permission for additional components to be installed by default.

To prevent this from happening, the least you can do is to select Advanced or Custom installation and monitor freeware installation carefully. The most important part is to spot the window promoting additional components and reject their installation.

Delete virus from your browser

If you have already tried to perform removal, but in vain because it keeps reassigning itself as a search provider and startup page, we would strongly recommend you to run a scan with a professional anti-malware to eliminate PUP with all its related components. Additionally, you should reset the hijacked web browser.

However, you can also try to remove manually. We want to warn that this method requires being patient and attentive. The elimination of suspicious apps and related components may be a tiresome process. Nevertheless, the guide provided below can help you to orientate.

You can remove automatically with a help of one of these programs: Reimage, Plumbytes Anti-MalwareWebroot SecureAnywhere AntiVirus, Malwarebytes Anti Malware. We recommend these applications because they can easily delete potentially unwanted programs and viruses with all their files and registry entries that are related to them.

We might be affiliated with any product we recommend on the site. Full disclosure in our Agreement of Use. By Downloading any provided Anti-spyware software to remove you agree to our privacy policy and agreement of use.
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What to do if failed?
If you failed to remove infection using Reimage, submit a question to our support team and provide as much details as possible.
Reimage is recommended to uninstall 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.
More information about this program can be found in Reimage review.
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Manual Removal Guide:

WindowsMac OS XInternet ExplorerMicrosoft EdgeFirefoxGoogle ChromeSafari

Erase from Windows systems

For the elimination of PUPs from Windows, you should follow the guide below. Don't forget to reset your web browser after all.

  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 and related programs
    Here, look for 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 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 '' 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

Eliminate 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 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

Get rid of from Internet Explorer (IE)

  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 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 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

Remove from Microsoft Edge

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, should be removed from your Microsoft Edge browser.

WindowsMac OS XInternet ExplorerMicrosoft EdgeFirefoxGoogle ChromeSafari

Uninstall from Mozilla Firefox (FF)

Changing the primary start page and search engine won't help to disable redirects. For this purpose, you have to remove all suspicious extensions by resetting Firefox.

  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 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 removal. Click on 'Reset Firefox' button for a couple of times
WindowsMac OS XInternet ExplorerMicrosoft EdgeFirefoxGoogle ChromeSafari

Delete from Google Chrome

Google Chrome users can use these instructions to eliminate potentially dangerous extensions. Note that the changes required will result in the loss of saved bookmarks, browsing history, toolbars, extensions, and other customized settings.

  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 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 removal. Click on 'Reset' button to complete your removal
WindowsMac OS XInternet ExplorerMicrosoft EdgeFirefoxGoogle ChromeSafari

Erase 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 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, 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 removal process. Select all options and click on 'Reset' button
After uninstalling this potentially unwanted program (PUP) and fixing each of your web browsers, we recommend you to scan your PC system with a reputable anti-spyware. This will help you to get rid of registry traces and will also identify related parasites or possible malware infections on your computer. For that you can use our top-rated malware remover: Reimage, Plumbytes Anti-MalwareWebroot SecureAnywhere AntiVirus or Malwarebytes Anti Malware.

About the author

Gabriel E. Hall
Gabriel E. Hall - Passionate web researcher

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