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Remove SmartWebSearch (Simple Removal Guide) - Free Instructions

removal by Julie Splinters - - | Type: Browser Hijackers

SmartWebSearch – a browser hijacker that provides search results directly from Google

SmartWebSearch PUPSmartWebSearch - a potentially unwanted program that has earned the name of a PUP because it comes bundled with various third-party products  

SmartWebSearch is categorized as a browser hijacker[1] that changes the default engine, homepage, and new tab URL to smartwebsearch.mysearchsocial.com. It mostly appears on web browsers such as Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, and Mozilla Firefox but can also hijack other apps such as Microsoft Edge or Safari. Also known as Smartwebsearch.mysearchsocial.com, the potentially unwanted program generates search query results straight from a legitimate search engine named Google that makes the search results reliable and safe. However, the browser hijacker is more likely to bring you various disadvantages than advantages, so you should just keep on using Google as your default search provider instead.

Name SmartWebSearch
Type/sub-type Potentially unwanted program/browser hijacker
Search engine After hijacking the web browser, the PUP ads smartwebsearch.mysearchsocial.com as the default search provider and this type of change can be reversed only by erasing the browser hijacker permanently
Target(s) The browser hijacker can appear on both Windows and macOS operating systems and target all types of web browser applications such as Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Internet Explorer, Microsoft Edge, and Safari
Other activities After changing browser settings such as the search provider, homepage, and new tab URL bar, this product can also start tracking the user's browsing activities, providing intrusive advertisements, and redirecting the victim to sponsored pages some of which might be filled with malicious content
Spreading Such programs come together with other bundled products from third-party downloading sources. The browser hijacker can appear together with some type of player such as Vplay, a download manager, pdf converter, etc.
Termination You can get rid of the potentially unwanted program with the help of antivirus products that will speed up the termination process or you can employ manual guiding steps that are provided at the end of this article
Fix If you have discovered any altered areas on your operating system, you can try fixing them with ReimageIntego

SmartWebSearch virus might try to attract a bigger number of users by providing fast access to popular social platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and others. However, you can simply save bookmarks as shortcuts to these sources and you will not need to use the browser hijacker's provided services.

When SmartWebSearch gets bundled with other third-party products such as pdf converters, download managers, and various players such as Vplay, it can modify the Windows Registry and fill it with rogue keys. The same can happen with Windows Task Manager and this section might end up with processes that you have never seen before.

SmartWebSearch does not leave web browsers alone too. If you are using Internet Explorer, the browser hijacker will probably fill it with browser helper objects (BHOs)[2] such as add-ons. If you are employing Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox, you will likely find various unknown extensions, toolbars, or plug-ins included in these browser apps.

Nevertheless, SmartWebSearch developers know that they have competition with other developers of similar products. Regarding this fact, the browser hijacker might be programmed to place a lock file on a web browser such as Mozilla Firefox in order to prevent other applications from modifying its settings.

SmartWebSearch browser hijackerSmartWebSearch is categorized as a browser hijacker because it applies unwanted modifications to web browsers and their search providers, homepages, and new tab URL bars

Furthermore, SmartWebSearch might install tracking objects such as cookies, pixels, or beacons that are capable of recording browsing-related details such as recently visited websites, saved bookmarks, hyperlinks and adverts accessed, the type of your web browser, your geographic location, and IP address.

Even though SmartWebSearch developers might claim that such information is collected for improving their services, the truth is far from that. In reality, this type of data is shared with other parties for receiving monetary income or used in creating beneficial offers and getting involved in targeted advertising campaigns.

SmartWebSearch can start interrupting your browsing activities with intrusive advertisements. These components can come in forms of banner ads, pop-ups, pop-unders, and coupons. You might be provided with offers to purchase rogue security utilities, subscribe to unneeded services, or participate in some type of survey, lottery.

Most of the ads provided by SmartWebSearch cannot offer anything good for the users and are placed on the computer screen to gather pay-per-click income. However, other pop-ups can redirect the person to sponsored domains some of which might be infected with dangerous malware forms such as ransomware viruses or trojans.

SmartWebSearch virus

Besides that, SmartWebSearch might also come to the computer system and web browser not alone. Potentially unwanted programs can carry other suspicious products such as adware, browser hijackers, fake security software, and so on. If you find some unnoticed apps, you should uninstall them together with the primary browser hijacker.

You can remove SmartWebSearch from your operating system and web browsers in two different ways. The first technique involves downloading and loading a reliable antivirus tool when the second one is based on manual elimination that the user can complete by himself (go to the end of this article for instructions).

If you think you might struggle with manual SmartWebSearch removal, you should definitely go for the automatical method. Besides if you have found that the browser hijacker or similar apps have altered some directories on your operating system, you can try fixing the compromised locations with the help of software such as ReimageIntego.

Third-party products bring browser hijackers to machines

Virusai.lt cybersecurity experts[3] claim that the most popular technique of distributing browser hijackers is known as software bundling. PUPs often infiltrate the computer system when users opt for other software such as pdf converters, download managers, and various players that are promoted on secondary downloading sources such as cnet.com, download.com, softonic.com, and soft32.com.

You should pay more attention while choosing the source from which you are going to download your wanted software or service. Better get all products from original developers and their official websites. Furthermore, make sure that you have set the downloading configuration to Custom and Advanced instead of picking the unsafe modes such as Recommended or Quick.

Even though bundling[4] is the most common way to get infected with browser hijackers, it is not the only one. Other sources such as unsafe advertisements, fake flash player updates, and infectious hyperlinks might also be the reason why you have a PUP installed on your computer system.

The main way to avoid all unwanted installations from such types of locations is to browse only on trustworthy pages, not click on every content that appears in front of you, and use a reliable antivirus tool that will likely alert about deceptive or malicious content ahead.

Terminate SmartWebSearch from your OS and web browsers to diminish unwanted changes 

SmartWebSearch virus is not a pleasant program to meet while browsing the Internet, however, it gets on many users' computers due to the fact that people lack knowledge and attention. Still, it does not matter how the PUP appeared on your machine, you still need to get rid of it or you will be left struggling to perform quality-full searches.

First of all, you should remove SmartWebSearch from your operating system as the browser hijacker might have included suspicious files, processes, and apps on your computer. This type of task can be accomplished with the help of a reliable antivirus tool or by completing the manual step-by-step guidelines that are displayed below.

After SmartWebSearch removal from the OS, you have to get rid of unwanted extensions and other additional products from web browsers such as Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Internet Explorer, Microsoft Edge, and Safari, otherwise, your browsing apps will still remain hijacked.

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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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 SmartWebSearch, follow these steps:

Remove SmartWebSearch from Windows systems

To clean your Windows operating system from suspicious-looking applications and diminish any questionable changes, perform the below-provided instructions

  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 SmartWebSearch and related programs
    Here, look for SmartWebSearch 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 SmartWebSearch 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.

Get rid of SmartWebSearch from Mac OS X system

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

Remove SmartWebSearch from Applications folder:

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

Erase SmartWebSearch from Internet Explorer (IE)

To get rid of various browser helper objects such as plug-ins, extensions, and add-ons from your hijacked Internet Explorer web browser, you should apply the following guiding steps

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 SmartWebSearch 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, Google.com).
  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 SmartWebSearch removal.Reset Internet Explorer

Uninstall SmartWebSearch 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 SmartWebSearch-related 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

Eliminate SmartWebSearch from Mozilla Firefox (FF)

To keep Mozilla Firefox optimized and fully clean after the browser hijacker invasion, you should take a look at the below-given instructing lines

  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 SmartWebSearch 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 SmartWebSearch removal. Click on 'Reset Firefox' button for a couple of times

Delete SmartWebSearch from Google Chrome

To get rid of all the modifications that were applied to Chrome by SmartWebSearch browser hijacker, you should follow these guidelines

  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 SmartWebSearch 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 SmartWebSearch removal. Click on 'Reset' button to complete your removal

Remove SmartWebSearch 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 SmartWebSearch 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 SmartWebSearch, 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 SmartWebSearch removal process. Select all options and click on 'Reset' button

Do not let government spy on you

The government has many issues in regards to tracking users' data and spying on citizens, so you should take this into consideration and learn more about shady information gathering practices. Avoid any unwanted government tracking or spying by going totally anonymous on the internet. 

You can choose a different location when you go online and access any material you want without particular content restrictions. You can easily enjoy internet connection without any risks of being hacked by using Private Internet Access VPN.

Control the information that can be accessed by government any other unwanted party and surf online without being spied on. Even if you are not involved in illegal activities or trust your selection of services, platforms, be suspicious for your own security and take precautionary measures by using the VPN service.

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

Computer users can suffer from data losses due to cyber infections or their own faulty doings. Ransomware can encrypt and hold files hostage, while unforeseen power cuts might cause a loss of important documents. If you have proper up-to-date backups, you can easily recover after such an incident and get back to work. It is also equally important to update backups on a regular basis so that the newest information remains intact – you can set this process to be performed automatically.

When you have the previous version of every important document or project you can avoid frustration and breakdowns. It comes in handy when malware strikes out of nowhere. Use Data Recovery Pro for the data restoration process.

About the author
Julie Splinters
Julie Splinters - Malware removal specialist

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