Smartbase browser hijacker (virus) - Free Guide

Smartbase browser hijacker Removal Guide

What is Smartbase browser hijacker?

Smartbase is a shady extension that collects browsing-related information

SmartbaseBrowser hijackers can put user privacy and security at risk

Smartbase is a bogus browser extension that changes the main settings of the browser, like the homepage, new tab address, and search engine. Users are forced to browse only through selected channels which raises many user privacy and security concerns.

Many browser hijackers add their own search engines that can lead to misinformation or even dangerous pages. However, this one replaces the default search engine with Bing which is well-known. Even though it might not be dangerous, it is still a huge inconvenience.

Most of the time, hijackers are created to collect sensitive information or generate revenue from pay-per-click advertising. Browser plugins can also cause redirects to advertisements. Unfortunately, crooks may use rogue advertising networks[1] that lead to scam sites.

NAME Smartbase
TYPE Browser hijacker; potentially unwanted program
SYMPTOMS The main settings of the browser get changed, like the homepage, new tab address, and search engine
DISTRIBUTION Shady websites, deceptive ads, software bundling
DANGERS The extension may lead to dangerous websites; display misinformation, and inaccurate search results; track browsing, and collect data
ELIMINATION Remove the extension by going to your browser settings
FURTHER STEPS Use ReimageIntego to fix any remaining damage and optimize the machine

Distribution methods

Very often browser hijackers are spread through fake download pages. Crooks create deceptive sites that convince people they are downloading one thing when it is actually not what they think. To avoid such sites, do not click on random links and ads even if they seem to be promoting legitimate products and services.

Use legitimate streaming platforms instead of illegal streaming websites because they are unregulated. They can also display fake “Download” and “Play” buttons that lead to bogus download sites. Netflix or Hulu require only a small monthly subscription fee and users are able to consume as much content as they want.

It is best to use official web stores whenever you want to add new plugins. Apps that get listed on digital marketplaces have to go through an extensive review process. However, you should still do your research – read the reviews, look at the rating, and the number of users. You should choose apps that have plenty of positive feedback and thousands of users.

Smartbase browser hijackerUse official sources when downloading add-ons and other software

How to remove an extension?

You can remove browser add-ons by going to your settings. Find the list of extensions installed in your browser and remove the Smartbase. Follow the guide below for instructions:

Google Chrome

  • Open Google Chrome, click on the Menu (three vertical dots at the top-right corner) and select More tools > Extensions.
  • In the newly opened window, you will see all the installed extensions. Uninstall all the suspicious plugins that might be related to the unwanted program by clicking Remove.Remove extensions from Chrome

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

MS Edge (Chromium)

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

Mozilla Firefox

  • Open Mozilla Firefox browser and click on the Menu (three horizontal lines at the top-right of the window).
  • Select Add-ons.
  • In here, select unwanted plugin and click Remove.Remove extensions from Firefox

Safari

  • Click Safari > Preferences…
  • In the new window, pick Extensions.
  • Select the unwanted extension and select Uninstall.Remove extensions from Safari

Potentially unwanted programs

Sometimes removing only the extension is ineffective, and users still continue to experience unwanted symptoms. In that case, you will probably have to scan your machine for potentially unwanted programs[2] which are programs that hide in the background of the machine and generate commercial content. Simply removing the add-on will not be enough, because the settings will keep changing until you completely eliminate it from your machine.

One of the most common ways that these kinds of PUAs are spread is through freeware[3] installation sites. They include additional programs in the installers. Most people rush through the installation process and skip all the steps. If you want to avoid that in the future, it is important to be present during the installation.

Always choose “Custom” or “Advanced” installation methods, read the privacy policy and terms of use to find out what information will be collected and what the application will be allowed to do in your system. The most important part is to check the file list and untick the boxes next to any items that you think are suspicious or unrelated.

Scan the machine with anti-malware tools

The program that is causing the erratic behavior of the browser could have any name or icon, as crooks often disguise them as “handy” programs. If you are not sure what to do and you do not want to risk deleting the wrong files, we suggest using SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner or Malwarebytes anti-malware tools that will scan your machine, eliminate it, and prevent such infections in the future by giving you a warning before a PUP can make any changes.

If manual removal is what you still prefer, we have instructions for Windows and Mac machines:

Windows 10/8:

  1. Enter Control Panel into Windows search box and hit Enter or click on the search result.
  2. Under Programs, select Uninstall a program.Uninstall from Windows 1
  3. From the list, find the entry of the suspicious program.
  4. Right-click on the application and select Uninstall.
  5. If User Account Control shows up, click Yes.
  6. Wait till uninstallation process is complete and click OK.Uninstall from Windows 2

Windows 7/XP:

  1. Click on Windows Start > Control Panel located on the right pane (if you are Windows XP user, click on Add/Remove Programs).
  2. In Control Panel, select Programs > Uninstall a program.Uninstall from Windows 7/XP
  3. Pick the unwanted application by clicking on it once.
  4. At the top, click Uninstall/Change.
  5. In the confirmation prompt, pick Yes.
  6. Click OK once the removal process is finished.

Mac:

  1. From the menu bar, select Go > Applications.
  2. In the Applications folder, look for all related 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 an unwanted app, 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 and then delete them.
  4. Now enter /Library/LaunchAgents and /Library/LaunchDaemons folders the same way and terminate all the related .plist files.Uninstall from Mac 2
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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.

How to prevent from getting browser hijacker

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. 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 the server or network manager that needs to monitor connections and activities. 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.

 

Recover files after data-affecting malware attacks

While much of the data can be accidentally deleted due to various reasons, malware is one of the main culprits that can cause loss of pictures, documents, videos, and other important files. More serious malware infections lead to significant data loss when your documents, system files, and images get encrypted. In particular, ransomware is is a type of malware that focuses on such functions, so your files become useless without an ability to access them.

Even though there is little to no possibility to recover after file-locking threats, some applications have features for data recovery in the system. In some cases, Data Recovery Pro can also help to recover at least some portion of your data after data-locking virus infection or general cyber infection. 

 

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

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References