Browser hijacking starts when there is an unauthorized alteration on settings of Google Chrome, or Firefox. Internet user’s usual home page, new tab page, and search engine will exhibit a new default setup without their intervention. It is highly possible that a potentially unwanted program (PUP) as Searchsmart.co have caused this unwanted modification.
What is Searchsmart.co?
Searchsmart.co is a kind of PUP that acts and performs as browser hijacker. Once installed, it typically targets internet software and hijacks its settings to monitor user’s online activities. Instead of the usual Chrome or Firefox as the search engine, it will automatically change into a new web URL. Advertisements will begin to appear persistently on computer screen. These adverts can promote unwanted apps or links to questionable sites. Searchsmart.co also triggers browser pop-ups that can redirect internet users into dubious web pages. Clicking random ads or pop-ups is not recommendable because there is a high chance of risks particularly to the computers safety and web user’s privacy.
The serious effect of installing Searchsmart.co into computers is its ability to track private data such as browsing-related information and even real-life details about online users. To generate more income, developers tend to share this collected data into other parties, misusing it for online crime purposes including blackmailing, extorting, and identity stealing. The presence of Searchsmart.co into the computers could lead to severe issues in the future especially if it manage install a relevant browser extension called Searches Central by Search Smart.
Searchsmart.co infection method
File download sites offers freeware for installation. Those free programs typically assimilate PUP or adware as extra programs for a successful process. Web users are usually attracted to software involving no costs, without knowing that an unwanted application was set up along with it. Some installers do not disclose that there is extra software, especially if it is a PUP or adware. In this way, unwanted apps like Searchsmart.co can penetrate without proper consent from web users. Developers conceal their malicious programs on freeware to invade successfully into computers, undetected by online users.
Searchsmart.co Removal Procedure
Below is a systematic instruction that is very useful in getting rid of the potentially unwanted program (PUP) from compromised computer.
In order to totally eliminate the threat, it is vital to follow the process in exact manner.
Stage 1: Delete Browser Extension
Most adware and unwanted programs are using a program called browser extension to be able to take over the settings of internet applications. Therefore, we highly recommend to check and remove the extension that is closely related to Searchsmart.co.
Remove Searchsmart.co Extension from Google Chrome
1. Open Google Chrome browser.
2. Type chrome://extensions/ in the address bar and press Enter on keyboard.
3. Find Searchsmart.co or relevant entry and remove it from Google Chrome.
Uninstall Searchsmart.co Extension from Firefox
1. Open Mozilla Firefox browser.
2. Type about:addons in the address bar and press Enter on keyboard.
3. Choose Extensions on sidebar menu.
4. Look for object that is pertaining to Searchsmart.co and remove it from the browser.
Delete Searchsmart.co Extension from Safari
1. Run Safari browser application.
2. Click on Safari Settings icon located on upper right corner of the window.
3. Choose Preferences from the drop-down list.
4. On Extension window, select Extensions tab.
5. Select Searchsmart.co or relevant entry and remove it from Safari.
6. Lastly, go to Safari Settings once again and select Downloads from the drop down list.
7. If Searchsmart.safariextz is present, click on Clear button to remove the unwanted extension.
Remove Searchsmart.co Add-ons from Internet Explorer
1. Open Internet Explorer program.
2. Go to top Menu and click Tools. Then, select Manage Add-ons from the drop-down list.
3. Look for and Remove or Disable entries of Searchsmart.co from Toolbars and Extension and Search Providers section.
4. Close the window and restart Internet Explorer.
If Searchsmart.co is still present on the IE browser, another option is to remove the adware from Windows Control Panel.
5. Press Windows Key + R and then, type appwiz.cpl command.
6. Program and Features window will open. Arrange the list in chronological manner with recently installed applications on top. To do this, click on ‘Installed On‘ column.
7. Select Searchsmart.co or recently installed unwanted entry. Then, click on Uninstall to remove it from Windows system.
Stage 2: Scan and Delete Adware with AdwCleaner
In addition to the procedure, we suggest scanning the computer with AdwCleaner tool. Possibly, there are some traces of Searchsmart.co on the browser that was not deleted during the preceding steps. This tool will scan the computer and check for presence of malicious applications.
1. Follow the link below to download the tool called AdwCleaner.
Click here to download AdwCleaner (this will open a new window)
2. When the download has completed, please close all running programs on the computer especially browsers affected by Searchsmart.co.
3. Browse the location of the downloaded file and double-click on adwcleaner_Ver.exe to start running the tool. Then, click on Scan button.
4. AdwCleaner searches the computer for malicious programs, extensions, plug-ins, adware, and any items that may be associated to Searchsmart.co.
5. Clean or Remove all suspicious and harmful items identified after the thorough scan.
6. After the cleanup procedure, rebooting the computer is required to finalize the removal of detected threats.
Stage 3: Scan the Computer with Sophos Virus Removal Tool
Lastly, we will scan the computer with a multi-function security program. This will inspect the computer for possible presence of virus, malware, rootkit, adware as well as unwanted homepage like Searchsmart.co.
1. Download Sophos Virus Removal Tool from the link below. Save the file on your computer where you can easily access it.
Sophos Virus Removal Tool Download Link (this will open a new window)
2. Once the download completes, browse the location of the file. Double-click to run the program and begin the install process. If Windows prompts for User Account Control, please click Yes to proceed.
3. On first windows of installation wizard, click Next to continue. Then, it will display the program’s License Agreement. You need to Accept the terms in order to proceed.
4. On succeeding windows, click Next or Continue to carry on with the installation. After completing the installation process, Launch Sophos Virus Removal Tool.
5. Internet connection is required when running this scanner in order to download important updates. Make sure that everything is up-to-date to effectively remove malicious program like Searchsmart.co.
6. Click the button to carry out the Scan. This will check the system for presence of malicious objects, malware, and viruses. The tool reveals items that were found linked to Searchsmart.co and other suspicious entities. Be sure to remove all identified threats.
Stage 4: Remove Searchsmart.co Pop-up Notification
These procedures in stopping Searchsmart.co pop-up notification may only be effective if relevant extension do not exist on the browser. If ever there is a relevant extension currently installed, this push notification configuration will reinstate during browser start-up. So, make sure that you have removed any malicious extension from the browser before executing the following steps.
For Google Chrome Users
1. Open Google Chrome browser.
2. Type the following strings in the address box and press Enter on your keyboard: chrome://settings/content/notifications
3. Navigate to “Allow” section and find Searchsmart.co from the list.
4. Click on More Actions and select Block from the options.
5. Please restart Google Chrome browser.
For Mozilla Firefox Users
1. Open Mozilla Firefox browser program.
2. Type the following strings on address bar and press Enter on keyboard: about:preferences#privacy
3. Under Permissions section, click on Settings button beside Notifications.
4. Look for Searchsmart.co and set the status to Block.
5. Lastly, click Save Changes and restart Mozilla Firefox browser.
Option: Alternative Method to Clean Up Internet Browser from Searchsmart.co
Not all adware and PUP’s are the same. Some cannot be removed by deleting relevant extensions and codes. On this instances, resetting the browser to default configuration is the only best solution. If Searchsmart.co is still bothering you after completing all the steps above, please execute the procedures below to reset the settings of affected browser program.
Use Chrome Clean Up Tool to Delete Searchsmart.co
1. Open Google Chrome application.
2. Type this strings in the address box: chrome://settings/ and then, press Enter on keyboard.
3. Scroll down and expand Advanced settings area.
4. Scroll to the bottom of the page until you see Reset and Cleanup section.
5. Click on Clean Up Computer. On next page, please click FIND to proceed.
This feature of Google Chrome aims to find harmful software and remove it instantly. If unable to delete Searchsmart.co, the other option is to Reset Google Chrome settings to its original defaults. Just go back to previous page (Clean Up Computer) and reset the settings. See more details on this page.
Reset Mozilla Firefox to Default
If Mozilla Firefox is affected by Searchsmart.co and procedures above were not helpful, we suggest that you carry out these steps. This process can fix the issue by restoring Firefox browser to default factory state. Most browser data will be affected but not bookmarks, browsing history, passwords, and internet cookies. Extensions and other installed plug-ins maybe deleted by this function. Therefore, if you wish to remove specific extension only, please see manual add-on removal from this link.
1. Open Mozilla Firefox browser and type the following in the address bar: about:support
2. Browser will be directed to a page of Troubleshooting Information. You will notice a section on upper-right corner of the screen stating ‘Give Firefox a Tune Up‘. Click the Refresh Firefox button.
3. Confirmation window will pop-up, click Refresh Firefox to continue.
4. The reset process will automatically close the browser and proceed with the restoration. Next, it will display a list of restored data. Searchsmart.co should be gone by now. Click Finish to close the current window and open a fresh window of Mozilla Firefox.
Reset Safari Browser to Normal Settings
1. Open Safari browser.
2. Click on the Safari Settings icon located on upper right corner of the browser window.
3. Select Reset Safari from the drop-down list.
4. Pop-up window will appear. You may select all boxes for total reset or follow the options below if you only want to remove Searchsmart.co from Safari browser.
5. Please restart Safari browser for changes to take effect.