Severity scale:  

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 Reimage Reimage Cleaner Intego 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 Reimage Cleaner Intego 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 Reimage Reimage Cleaner Intego. 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.

do it now!
Reimage Happiness
Intego Happiness
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

  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'

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

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.

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

Access your website securely from any location

When you work on the domain, site, blog, or different project that requires constant management, content creation, or coding, you may need to connect to the server and content management service more often. It is a hassle when your website is protected from suspicious connections and unauthorized IP addresses.

The best solution for creating a tighter network could be a dedicated/fixed IP address. If you make your IP address static and set to your device, you can connect to the CMS from any location and do not create any additional issues for server or network manager that need to monitor connections and activities. This is how you bypass some of the authentications factors and can remotely use your banking accounts without triggering suspicious with each login. 

VPN software providers like Private Internet Access can help you with such settings and offer the option to control the online reputation and manage projects easily from any part of the world. It is better to clock the access to your website from different IP addresses. So you can keep the project safe and secure when you have the dedicated IP address VPN and protected access to the content management system.

Backup files for the later use, in case of the malware attack

Computer users can suffer various losses due to cyber infections or their own faulty doings. Software issues created by malware or direct data loss due to encryption can lead to problems with your device or permanent damage. When you have proper up-to-date backups, you can easily recover after such an incident and get back to work.

It is crucial to create updates to your backups after any changes on the device, so you can get back to the point you were working on when malware changes anything or issues with the device causes data or performance corruption. Rely on such behavior and make file backup your daily or weekly habit.

When you have the previous version of every important document or project you can avoid frustration and breakdowns. It comes in handy when malware occurs out of nowhere. Use Data Recovery Pro for the system restoring purpose.

About the author

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

If this free removal guide helped you and you are satisfied with our service, please consider making a donation to keep this service alive. Even a smallest amount will be appreciated.

Contact Gabriel E. Hall
About the company Esolutions


Your opinion regarding