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Remove (Removal Guide) - updated Mar 2018

removal by Gabriel E. Hall - - | Type: Browser hijacker – a questionable search engine that might hijack popular web browsers hijacks most popular web browsers

Questions about 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 ReimageIntego 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 ReimageIntego 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. virus browser hijacker takes over web browser to monitor user's web browsing activities and generate intrusive content of the affiliated parties

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 may remove virus damage with a help of ReimageIntego. SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner and Malwarebytes are recommended to detect potentially unwanted programs and viruses with all their files and registry entries that are related to them.

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Compatible with Microsoft Windows Supported versions Compatible with OS X Supported versions
What to do if failed?
If you failed to remove virus damage using Reimage Intego, submit a question to our support team and provide as much details as possible.
Reimage Intego has a free limited scanner. Reimage Intego offers more through scan when you purchase its full version. When free scanner detects issues, you can fix them using free manual repairs or you can decide to purchase the full version in order to fix them automatically.
Alternative Software
Different software has a different purpose. If you didn’t succeed in fixing corrupted files with Reimage, try running SpyHunter 5.
Alternative Software
Different software has a different purpose. If you didn’t succeed in fixing corrupted files with Intego, try running Combo Cleaner.

To remove, follow these steps:

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.

Eliminate from Mac OS X system

If your macOS is displaying some infection symptoms, proceed with the following guide:

Remove from Applications folder:

  1. From the menu bar, select Go > Applications.
  2. In the Applications folder, look for entries.
  3. Click on the app and drag it to Trash (or right-click and pick Move to Trash)Uninstall from Mac 1

To fully remove, you need to access Application Support, LaunchAgents, and LaunchDaemons folders and delete relevant files:

  1. Select Go > Go to Folder.
  2. Enter /Library/Application Support and click Go or press Enter.
  3. In the Application Support folder, look for any dubious entries related to and then delete them.
  4. Now enter /Library/LaunchAgents and /Library/LaunchDaemons folders the same way and terminate all the entries.Uninstall from Mac 2

Get rid of from Internet Explorer (IE)

Remove dangerous add-ons:

  1. Open Internet Explorer, click on the Gear icon (IE menu) on the top-right corner of the browser
  2. Pick Manage Add-ons.
  3. You will see a Manage Add-ons window. Here, look for and other suspicious plugins. Click on these entries and select Disable.Remove add-ons from Internet Explorer

Change your homepage if it was altered:

  1. Open IE and click on the Gear icon.
  2. Select Internet Options.
  3. In the General tab, delete the Home page address and replace it by your preferred one (for example,
  4. Click Apply and then select OK.Reset IE homepage

Delete temporary files:

  1. Press on the Gear icon and select Internet Options.
  2. Under Browsing history, click Delete…
  3. Select relevant fields and press Delete.Clear temporary files from Internet Explorer

Reset Internet Explorer:

  1. Click on Gear icon > Internet options and select Advanced tab.
  2. Select Reset.
  3. In the new window, check Delete personal settings and select Reset again to complete removal.Reset Internet Explorer

Remove from Microsoft Edge

Delete unwanted extensions from MS Edge:

  1. Select Menu (three horizontal dots at the top-right of the browser window) and pick Extensions.
  2. From the list, pick the extension and click on the Gear icon.
  3. Click on Uninstall at the bottom.Remove extensions from Edge

Clear cookies and other browser data:

  1. Click on the Menu (three horizontal dots at the top-right of the browser window) and select Privacy & security.
  2. Under Clear browsing data, pick Choose what to clear.
  3. Select everything (apart from passwords, although you might want to include Media licenses as well, if applicable) and click on Clear.Clear Edge browsing data

Reset MS Edge if that above steps did not work:

  1. Press on Ctrl + Shift + Esc to open Task Manager.
  2. Click on More details arrow at the bottom of the window.
  3. Select Details tab.
  4. Now scroll down and locate every entry with Microsoft Edge name in it. Right-click on each of them and select End Task to stop MS Edge from running.Reset MS Edge

If this solution failed to help you, you need to use an advanced Edge reset method. Note that you need to backup your data before proceeding.

  1. Find the following folder on your computer: C:\\Users\\%username%\\AppData\\Local\\Packages\\Microsoft.MicrosoftEdge_8wekyb3d8bbwe.
  2. Press Ctrl + A on your keyboard to select all folders.
  3. Right-click on them and pick DeleteAdvanced MS Edge reset 1
  4. Now right-click on the Start button and pick Windows PowerShell (Admin).
  5. When the new window opens, copy and paste the following command, and then press Enter:

    Get-AppXPackage -AllUsers -Name Microsoft.MicrosoftEdge | Foreach {Add-AppxPackage -DisableDevelopmentMode -Register “$($_.InstallLocation)\\AppXManifest.xml” -VerboseAdvanced MS Edge reset 2

Instructions for Chromium-based Edge

Delete extensions from MS Edge (Chromium):

  1. Open Edge and click select Settings > Extensions.
  2. Delete unwanted extensions by clicking Remove.Remove extensions from Chromium Edge

Clear cache and site data:

  1. Click on Menu and go to Settings.
  2. Select Privacy and services.
  3. Under Clear browsing data, pick Choose what to clear.
  4. Under Time range, pick All time.
  5. Select Clear now.Clear browser data from Chroum Edge

Reset Chromium-based MS Edge:

  1. Click on Menu and select Settings.
  2. On the left side, pick Reset settings.
  3. Select Restore settings to their default values.
  4. Confirm with Reset.Reset Chromium Edge

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

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

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

Stream videos without limitations, no matter where you are

There are multiple parties that could find out almost anything about you by checking your online activity. While this is highly unlikely, advertisers and tech companies are constantly tracking you online. The first step to privacy should be a secure browser that focuses on tracker reduction to a minimum.

Even if you employ a secure browser, you will not be able to access websites that are restricted due to local government laws or other reasons. In other words, you may not be able to stream Disney+ or US-based Netflix in some countries. To bypass these restrictions, you can employ a powerful Private Internet Access VPN, which provides dedicated servers for torrenting and streaming, not slowing you down in the process.

Data backups are important – recover your lost files

Ransomware is one of the biggest threats to personal data. Once it is executed on a machine, it launches a sophisticated encryption algorithm that locks all your files, although it does not destroy them. The most common misconception is that anti-malware software can return files to their previous states. This is not true, however, and data remains locked after the malicious payload is deleted.

While regular data backups are the only secure method to recover your files after a ransomware attack, tools such as Data Recovery Pro can also be effective and restore at least some of your lost data.

About the author
Gabriel E. Hall
Gabriel E. Hall - Passionate web researcher

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