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The Smart Search. How to remove? (Uninstall guide)

removal by Jake Doevan - - | Type: Browser hijacker

The Smart Search is a browser hijacker which actively targets to take over most popular browsers

theSmartSearch.net redirect extension
The Smart Search is a browser hijacker which targets to hijack most widely used browsers and display commercial content.

The Smart Search is a potentially unwanted program (PUP) which is designed to hijack most popular browsers, including Safari, Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Internet Explorer, etc. This questionable application spreads as a browser extension which immediately alters browser settings and redirects to search-smart.work site. In other terms, users are forced to browse through a fraudulent search engine which delivers modified query results. Additionally, people are actively searching for effective ways to remove Smart Search from Mac as this PUP can be exceptionally persistent. Thus, users are advised to be cautious and protect their systems from this browser hijacker[1].

Name The Smart Search
Type Browser hijacker
Danger level Medium. Performs browser modifications to persist on the system
Related to thesmartsearch.net
Redirect site search-smart.work
Potential dangers This PUP can redirect to malicious websites, display altered search results and deliver intrusive ads. As a result users can encounter an unbearable browsing experience and sluggish computer system
Distribution Spreads as a browser extension via bundling distribution method
Removal As this browser hijacker may be persistent we recommend getting Reimage to uninstall The Smart Search

Smart Search promises “A Faster And Cleaner Search.” Developers of this browser hijacker are trying to convince users that the app is useful. However, the only goal of authors is to gain monetary benefit at the expense of compromised victims’ browsers. Therefore, users should remove Smart Search redirect and extension from their computers as soon as they notice it.

The Smart Search hijack typically sets the tab URL, search engine and homepage to search-smart.work which then reroutes users to yahoo.com. This is done so to track users’ browsing habits and then manipulate search results accordingly. This way, users are exposed to third-party content on every web browsing session.

The Smart Search redirect
The Smart Search can lead to potentially dangerous sites where more intrusive programs are distributed.

This potentially unwanted program records a variety of non-personally identifiable information[2], including the following:

  • Search queries;
  • IP address;
  • ISP used;
  • Geo-location;
  • Etc.

Continual spying is conducted to investigate victims' browsing habits further and possibly share this information with third-parties. Such data is valuable for marketing purposes as customized ads help increase traffic to the affiliate websites and generate pay-per-click[3] revenue for The Smart Search developers.

The Smart Search illustration
Users are not advised to trust The Smart Search as it might redirect to misleading content and unsafe websites online.

The most dangerous feature Smart Search virus is that it advertises or redirects users to malicious web pages. These domains might host malware and infect victims’ PCs with deadly viruses, such as ransomware. Keep in mind that the latest research showed that this browser hijacker actively targets Mac OS X users. Thus, we have attached detailed instructions helping to remove Smart Search from Mac. You can find them below.

If the activity by The Smart Search mentioned above is not enough, be aware that users might obtain a keylogger[4] which records every keystroke and might steal personal information, such as social media, bank, and other passwords. This activity is hazardous as you never know who will obtain your personal details. It can be used for a variety of illegal activities, such as identity theft.

The Smart Search browser hijacker
The Smart Search alters browser settings to persist on the system and is closely related to thesmartsearch.net.

Furthermore, Smart Search redirect is closely related to thesmartsearch.net. Previously it was used as a search engine for the extension. However, in its current state it merely instantaneously reroutes users to suspicious websites. We urge users to refrain from using this webpage or close down the browser if they get redirected to it.

All in all, this extension is not worth anybody’s time. It will not grant you “A Faster And Cleaner Search,” and it will not enhance your browsing experience. Since all the searches are redirected to yahoo.com, you might as well use the official search engine which does not reroute you to suspicious domains. Therefore, do not delay The Smart Search removal. You can uninstall the unwanted application using a robust security tool, such as Reimage.

Rogue browser extensions reside inside the installers of freeware

While many might wonder, how browser hijackers enter the system, the answer is more than simple — unreliable browser extensions are appended as optional components to third-party applications. Developers bundle them together and offer as one. Thus, many users fail to identify an attempt to infiltrate a potentially unwanted program on their computers. 

If you want to avoid browser hijackers, the most important thing is to monitor the installation of the freeware by opting for Advanced or Custom installation option and declining installation of additional components. Otherwise, you can find questionable applications on your computer and have to take actions to get rid of them.

Experts explain two ways how to uninstall The Smart Search 

The majority of users did not install this potentially unwanted program by themselves. Since the infection might be persistent, people struggle with The Smart Search removal. Luckily, cybersecurity experts[5] have two ways how you can get rid of the browser hijacker easily. 

The first method requires you to download a professional malware removal software and install in on your computer. Later, scan the system for potentially unwanted programs and let the antivirus remove The Smart Search safely. This elimination method merely takes several minutes before your PC is clean from browser hijackers.

Another way is to remove The Smart Search from Mac or Windows by yourself. However, some users might not be experienced enough to do it without any assistance. Therefore, we highly suggest following the manual elimination instructions which are presented at the end of this article. 

You can remove virus damage automatically with a help of one of these programs: Reimage, Malwarebytes MalwarebytesCombo Cleaner, Plumbytes Anti-MalwareMalwarebytes Malwarebytes. We recommend these applications because they 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, submit a question to our support team and provide as much details as possible.
Reimage is recommended to remove virus damage. 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.
Alternative Software
Different security software includes different virus database. If you didn’t succeed in finding malware with Reimage, try running alternative scan with Malwarebytes.
Alternative Software
Different security software includes different virus database. If you didn’t succeed in finding malware with Reimage, try running alternative scan with Combo Cleaner.

To remove The Smart Search, follow these steps:

WindowsMac OS XInternet ExplorerMicrosoft EdgeFirefoxGoogle ChromeSafari

Eliminate The Smart Search from Windows systems

If you want to uninstall the PUP from Windows OS, follow these guidelines:

  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 The Smart Search and related programs
    Here, look for The Smart Search 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 The Smart Search 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.

WindowsMac OS XInternet ExplorerMicrosoft EdgeFirefoxGoogle ChromeSafari

Uninstall The Smart Search from Mac OS X system

You can remove The Smart Search from Mac by following these steps:

  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 The Smart Search 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 The Smart Search 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 The Smart Search 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 The Smart Search 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

Delete The Smart Search 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, The Smart Search should be removed from your Microsoft Edge browser.

WindowsMac OS XInternet ExplorerMicrosoft EdgeFirefoxGoogle ChromeSafari

Erase The Smart Search from Mozilla Firefox (FF)

Do not forget to reset Firefox settings to default.

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

Remove The Smart Search from Google Chrome

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

Eliminate The Smart Search 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 The Smart Search 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 The Smart Search, 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 The Smart Search removal process. Select all options and click on 'Reset' button

About the author

Jake Doevan
Jake Doevan - Computer technology expert

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References

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