Remove Searchsmart.co Hijacker

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.

Image of Searchsmart.co website

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 Windows computer. Aside from removing the malicious browser extension, this guide is also helpful in deleting internet hijacker and pop-ups.

In order to totally eliminate the threat, it is vital to follow the process in exact manner.

Step 1 : Scan the PC with Combo Cleaner for Windows

Combo Cleaner is a trusted PC security and optimization tool equipped with a powerful virus and malware detection engine. This program can get rid of adware like Searchsmart.co through this procedure.

1. Download the application from the following page:

2. Save the file to your preferred location.

3. Double-click the downloaded file CCSetup.exe and install with the default settings.

4. At the end of the setup process, click Finish to run Combo Cleaner.

5. The tool will update the database file; please wait for this process to complete.

6. To begin checking for threats like Searchsmart.co, click on the Start Scan button. Wait for this scan to finish.

Screenshot of Combo Cleaner PC

7. At the end of the scan process, click on Remove all threats to delete Searchsmart.co hijacker, including all malicious objects from the computer.

To fully optimize the features of antivirus and privacy scanners, users may have to upgrade to the premium version.

Please continue with the succeeding removal procedures if you are comfortable manually getting rid of the threat and malicious items linked to it.

Step 2 : Scan with AdwCleaner and Reset Chrome Policies

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.

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.exe to start running the tool.

4. If Windows displays a prompt saying, "Do you want to allow this app to make changes to your device?" click Yes to proceed.

5. On the AdwCleaner dashboard, click on Settings.

Screenshot of AdwCleaner Policies

6. While in the Settings window, please turn On the Reset Chrome Policies and Reset IE Policies.

Screenshot of AdwCleaner Scanner

7. Go back to the Dashboard and click the Scan Now button.

8. AdwCleaner searches the computer for malicious programs, extensions, plug-ins, adware, and any items that may be associated with Searchsmart.co.

9. Clean or Remove all suspicious and harmful items identified after the thorough scan.

10. After the cleanup procedure, rebooting the computer is required to finalize the removal of detected threats.

Step 3 : Scan the computer with Sophos Home Antivirus

To remove Searchsmart.co automatically, scanning the computer with this powerful virus and malware removal tool is recommended. This scanner does not just uncover known threats like viruses or malware; it is also effective in discovering browser hijacker like Searchsmart.co.

1. Please click on the link below to download the program.

2. After downloading, locate the file SophosInstall.exe in the Downloads folder.

3. Install by double-clicking on the file.

4. If it prompts "Do you want to allow this app to make changes on your device?" please click Yes.

5. Next, it will display the Terms and Conditions page. Click the Install button to begin.

Screenshot of Terms by Sophos Home

6. Run the installation with the default settings. Please note that an internet connection is required in order to download important updates.

7. After finishing the installation, you must login to the dashboard. If you already have a Sophos account, please login. Otherwise, please enter your details and click on the Create Account button.

8. Once you are in the Sophos Home console, click the Scan button to start checking the computer for Searchsmart.co components.

Screenshot of Sophos Home

9. Scanning may take a while; please wait for this process to finish.

10. After scanning the computer, Sophos Home will start cleaning or deleting files infected with Searchsmart.co.

11. You may now close Sophos Home. The computer is now free from Searchsmart.co, as well as associated malware and viruses.

The above procedures should have totally eliminated Searchsmart.co browser hijacker. However, if you find that there are still remnants of the virus, please proceed to the next steps below.

Step 4 : Delete Searchsmart.co Browser Extension

Most adware and unwanted programs use an application called a "browser extension" to be able to take over the settings of internet applications. Therefore, we highly recommend checking and removing the extension that is closely related to Searchsmart.co. If it is not present, look for and delete any suspicious browser extension.

Google Chrome

Remove the Searchsmart.co Extension from Google Chrome

1. Open the Google Chrome browser.

2. Input the strings below in the address bar and press Enter on the keyboard:

chrome://extensions/

Screenshot of Chrome Extensions in PC

3. Look for Searchsmart.co or a relevant entry and remove it from Google Chrome.

Microsoft Edge

Remove Searchsmart.co from Microsoft Windows and Edge Browser

1. On your keyboard, press Windows Key + R. Type the appwiz.cpl command and click OK.

Screenshot of Run Command

2. The Program and Features window will open. Arrange the list in a chronological manner, with recently installed applications on top. To do this, click on the 'Installed On' column.

Screenshot of Program and Featires

3. Select Searchsmart.co or a recently installed suspicious entry from the list.

4. Click on Uninstall to remove it from the Windows system.

If Searchsmart.co is still present on the browser and unwanted homepage and pop-ups persist, another option is to remove the hijacker from the browser settings.

5. Open the Microsoft Edge program.

6. Input the following string in the address bar and press Enter on the keyboard:

edge://extensions/

Screenshot of MS Edge Address Bar

7. Look for and Remove or Disable entries for Searchsmart.co from the Installed Extensions area.

Screenshot of Edge Extension Removal

8. You may now close the window and restart the Microsoft Edge browser.

Mozilla Firefox

Uninstall the Searchsmart.co Extension from Mozilla Firefox

1. Open the Mozilla Firefox browser.

2. Type or copy and paste the strings below in the address bar and press Enter on the keyboard:

about:addons

Screenshot of Firefox Extension

3. Click on Extensions from the sidebar menu.

4. Look for an entry that pertains to Searchsmart.co and Disable or Remove it from the browser using the options button.

Step 5 : Fixing the Homepage and Search Engine

Google Chrome

Remove Searchsmart.co from the Homepage and Search of Chrome

1. Open the Google Chrome browser. Type or copy and paste the following on the address bar. Then, press Enter on the keyboard:

chrome://settings

Screenshot of Chrome Settings Page

2. Go to the left sidebar and click On Startup.

3. Select "Open a specific page or set of pages" in the right panel.

Chrome On Startup Screenshot

4. Locate the unwanted Homepage URL, click on More Actions icon (3-dot), and select Remove or Edit.

5. If you choose Edit, enter the desired web address as your home page, replacing Searchsmart.co. Click Save.

6. To set the default search engine, go to the left sidebar, and this time, select Search Engine.

Screenshot of Search Settings

7. Click on the Manage search engines and site search button in the right panel.

8. Find the unwanted Search Engine in the list. Click on More Actions icon, and then click Delete.

9. Go back to the left side bar and click Search Engine.

Default Search Engine Screenshot

10. In the right panel, choose a valid entry from the "Search engine used in the address bar."

You can now restart the Google Chrome browser to see if the unwanted homepage and search engine related to Searchsmart.co are gone.

Microsoft Edge

Get Rid of Searchsmart.co from the Homepage of Edge Browser

1. Open the Microsoft Edge browser on your computer.

2. In the address bar, type or copy and paste the string below, then press Enter on the keyboard:

edge://settings/startHomeNTP

MS Edge Start Page Screenshot

3. Go to the "When Edge Starts" area. Under the "Open these pages" section, click More Actions (3-dot).

4. Select Edit to open the Edit Page window.

5. Input your desired address to replace the homepage settings of Searchsmart.co.

Screenshot of Home URL

6. Click the Save button. You may now restart Microsoft Edge browser.

Mozilla Firefox

Delete Searchsmart.co from the Homepage and Search of Firefox.

1. Open the Mozilla Firefox browser on your computer.

2. Type or copy and paste the following on the address bar, then press Enter on the keyboard:

about:preferences

3. Click Home in the sidebar area.

Firefox Preferences Screenshot

4. Under "Homepage and new windows", you may choose Firefox Home (Default) or Custom URLs.

5. If you chose Custom URLs, input the desired URL to replace Searchsmart.co settings.

6. To configure the default search engine, select Search in the left sidebar to display the settings.

Screenshot of Firefox Default Search

7. Under the "Default Search Engine" list, please select a legitimate one (i.e., Google).

8. Scroll down to "Search Shortcuts" and select an unwanted search engine.

Remove Search from Firefox Image

9. Click on the Remove button to delete the unwanted search engine. You may now restart the Mozilla Firefox browser.

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