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 Windows computer. Aside from removing the malicious browser extension, this guide is also helpful in deleting browser hijacker and pop-ups.
In order to totally eliminate the threat, it is vital to follow the process in exact manner.
Quick Fix - Scan the PC with Combo Cleaner for Windows
Combo Cleaner is a trusted PC security and optimization tool equipped with powerful virus and malware detection engine. This program can get rid of browser hijacker 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 signature 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.
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.
Free features of Combo Cleaner for Windows includes Disk Cleaner, Big Files finder, Duplicate files finder, and Uninstaller. To use antivirus, privacy scanner, and to delete identified threats, users have to upgrade to a premium version.
Please continue with the succeeding removal procedures if your are comfortable to manually get rid of the threat and malicious items linked with it.
Step 1 : Delete Searchsmart.co 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 browser.
Uninstall Searchsmart.co Extension from Mozilla 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.
After deleting the malicious browser extension, it is expected that Searchsmart.co is also gone from the homepage.
Remove Searchsmart.co Add-ons from Internet Explorer and Edge Browser
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. Additionally, delete unwanted entry from Search Providers section.
4. Close the window and restart Internet Explorer.
If Searchsmart.co is still present on the IE browser and there are still unwanted homepage and pop-ups, 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.
Step 2 : Scan the computer with Sophos Antivirus
To remove Searchsmart.co automatically, scanning the computer with this powerful anti-virus 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 that slows down online browsing activities.
1. Download Sophos Virus Removal Tool from the link below. Save the file on your computer where you can easily access it.
2. Once the download completes, browse the location of the file. Double-click to run the program and begin the install process.
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. If Windows prompts for User Account Control, please click Yes 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.
The above procedures should have totally eliminated the Searchsmart.co browser hijacker. However, if you found that there are still remnants of the threat, please proceed to manual removal of associated objects as outlined below.
Step 3 : 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 as well as invalid browser entries that produces hijacking, redirects, and pop-ups.
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_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. It will also check for suspicious entries on browser settings that is associated with the hijacker.
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.
Check if your internet browser application is no longer being bothered by Searchsmart.co. If the browser hijacker still persists, please continue with the steps below to reset internet programs to default settings.
Optional : Reset Internet Browser Program
Cleaning your internet browser from clutter and unwanted add-on/extension is a must when dealing with Searchsmart.co. The procedure below discuss on resetting various browsers to its default state.
Restore Google Chrome to Default Settings
Resetting Google Chrome to default settings is helpful in deleting hard-to-remove extension such as from Searchsmart.co. This method is highly advisable to perform if you have difficulty in removing unwanted extension.
1. Open Google Chrome Internet browser.
2. On the address bar, type chrome://settings/reset and press Enter key.
3. Under Reset and clean up section, choose Restore settings to their original defaults.
4. Click Reset settings button to clear all entries of Searchsmart.co.
5. Close the existing tab and restart Google Chrome. That should have removed Searchsmart.co extension and associated objects.
Reset Mozilla Firefox to Default
This section describes how to remove unwanted extension from Firefox that may be related to Searchsmart.co. This process can fix many browser issues by restoring Firefox to factory settings without affecting your essential information (bookmarks, browsing history, passwords, and Internet cookies) on the browser. If you desire to remove only specific extension, please see manual removal of add-on from Firefox.
1. Input the string about:support on Firefox web address and press Enter on keyboard.
2. You will now see the Troubleshooting Information page of Mozilla Firefox.
3. You will notice a section on upper-right corner of the screen stating Give Firefox a tune up. Click the Refresh Firefox button.
4. If confirmation window appears, click Refresh Firefox to continue.
5. Firefox browser will close and start the resetting process. When done, it will display a list of restored data. Searchsmart.co should be gone by now. Click Finish to open a fresh version of Firefox.
Restore Internet Explorer to Default Settings
1. Open Internet Explorer and navigate to top menu. Click Tools, and then Internet Options.
2. Select Advanced tab on Internet Options window.
3. On lower part of the window, under Reset Internet Explorer Settings area, click the Reset button. Please see image for reference. Your data like favorites, bookmark, and history will remain in the browser. However, this process may delete add-ons by Searchsmart.co and other unknown objects. If you prefer to carry out the procedure manually, please add-on removal from Internet Explorer.