Remove Smart Search from browsers

Also Known As: Smart Search browser hijacker
Type: Mac Virus
Distribution: Low
Damage level: Medium

How to remove Smart Search browser hijacker from Mac?

What is Smart Search?

Smart Search is a browser hijacker, a potentially unwanted application (PUA) that targets browsers used on Mac computers. The app is usually installed through a fake Flash Player updater. After installation on hijacked browsers, Smart Search starts opening dubious websites, forcing users to access untrustworthy search engines such as weknow.ac, searchmine.netchumsearch.com, and others. To obtain results from these search engines, users must click the "Smart Search" button, which is also the name of the browser hijacker.

Smart Search browser hijacker on a Mac computer

Smart Search can be installed on browsers such as Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome and Safari. After installation, it changes browser settings such as the default search engine, homepage, and new tab URL by assigning them to weknow.ac, searchmine.net, chumsearch.com, or other dubious websites or search engines. People who have this browser hijacker installed on their systems are forced to visit whatever URL is assigned when they open a browser, new tab, or search via the URL bar. The only solution is to uninstall Smart Search, otherwise it will reassign settings immediately after attempts are made to change them. Furthermore, most browser hijackers that promote fake search engines gather data such as users' IP addresses, geolocations, URLs of visited websites, entered search queries, and other information. In some cases, they collect personal details. Developers continually share all recorded details with other parties, potentially cyber criminals. We recommend that you uninstall Smart Search immediately and avoid using dubious search engines, since they cause problems with privacy, browsing safety, and can even lead to identity theft.

Threat Summary:
Name Smart Search browser hijacker
Threat Type Browser hijacker, Mac malware, Mac virus
Fake Flash Update Setup Name 116c0469b1be5b44d66fa4f844c269a0.virobj
Detection Names (116c0469b1be5b44d66fa4f844c269a0.virobj) Avast (MacOS:Agent-EN [Drp]), BitDefender (Adware.MAC.Bundlore.DMM), Emsisoft (Adware.MAC.Bundlore.DMM (B)), Kaspersky (Not-a-virus:HEUR:AdWare.OSX.Bnodlero.q) Full List Of Detections (VirusTotal)
Related Domains weknow.ac, searchmine.net, chumsearch.com
Symptoms Your Mac becomes slower than normal, you see unwanted pop-up ads, you are redirected to dubious websites.
Distribution methods Deceptive pop-up ads, free software installers (bundling), fake flash player installers, torrent file downloads.
Damage Internet browser tracking (potential privacy issues), display of unwanted ads, redirects to dubious websites, loss of private information.
Removal

To eliminate Smart Search browser hijacker our malware researchers recommend scanning your computer with Combo Cleaner.
▼ Download Combo Cleaner
Free scanner checks if your computer is infected. To remove malware, you have to purchase the full version of Combo Cleaner.

There are many browser hijackers online. Another example is MacAppExtensions. Typically, these apps promote various fake, untrustworthy search engines by changing browser settings. Even if PUAs are promoted as useful and legitimate, users often experience various problems. Furthermore, they provide no real value and are designed only to generate revenue for the developers.

How did Smart Search install on my computer?

Like most PUAs, Smart Search is promoted using deception - by bundling it into other software setups. In this particular case, it is bundled into a fake Flash updater. Typically, information about additionally-included apps is not properly disclosed - developers hide it in "Custom", "Advanced" and other similar settings of download or installation set-ups. They do this to trick people into downloading or installing unwanted apps together with other software. In other cases, unwanted installations happen when people click deceptive ads: if clicked, many run scripts that download and install PUAs.

How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications?

Do not update programs with fake updating tools. Use implemented functions and tools that are provided by official software developers. Download software from trustworthy (official) websites, and do not use third party downloaders (or installers), Peer-to-Peer networks (like torrent clients, eMule), dubious pages, or other similar channels. Check "Advanced", "Custom" and other settings of any download or installation setup and deselect unwanted apps. Do not finish any download or installation without checking these settings. Do not click ads displayed on dubious web pages, for example, on those relating to gambling, adult dating, pornography, and so on. These can cause unwanted downloads and installations, or redirects to potentially malicious websites. If the browser opens these web pages or the sites contain unwanted ads, check the list of installed browser apps (extensions, add-ons, and plug-ins) and remove unwanted or suspicious entries immediately. Also remove programs of this type installed on the operating system. If your computer is already infected with browser hijackers, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for macOS to automatically eliminate them.

Screenshots of rogue setups asking for permission to control browsers:

rogue setup asks to control browser 1 rogue setup asks to control browser 2 rogue setup asks to control browser 3

Screenshots of fake Flash Player updaters for different browsers:

smart search fake flash player pop-up 1 smart search fake flash player pop-up 2 smart search fake flash player pop-up 3 smart search fake flash player pop-up 4

Deceptive application installer promoting Smart Search:

Smart Search browser hijacker on a Mac computer

Appearance of a searchmine.net website promoted via Smart Search browser hijacker (GIF):

Smart Search searchmine.net website

IMPORTANT NOTE! Rogue setups/apps that promote the Smart Search website are designed to create a new device profile. Therefore, before taking any further removal steps, perform these actions:
1) Click the "Preferences" icon in the menu bar and select "Profiles".

Smart Search preferences step 1

2) Select the "AdminPrefs" profile and delete it.

Smart Search preferences step 2

3) Perform a full system scan with Combo Cleaner anti-virus suite.

After performing these actions, you can proceed with further removal steps for this browser hijacker.

Instant automatic removal of Smart Search browser hijacker: Manual threat removal might be a lengthy and complicated process that requires advanced computer skills. Combo Cleaner is a professional automatic malware removal tool that is recommended to get rid of Smart Search browser hijacker. Download it by clicking the button below:
▼ DOWNLOAD Combo Cleaner for Mac By downloading any software listed on this website you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. Free scanner checks if your computer is infected. To remove malware, you have to purchase the full version of Combo Cleaner.

Quick menu:

Video showing how to remove Smart Search browser hijacker using Combo Cleaner:

Smart Search redirect removal:

Remove Smart Search-related potentially unwanted applications from your "Applications" folder:

mac browser hijacker removal from applications folder

Click the Finder icon. In the Finder window, select "Applications". In the applications folder, look for "MPlayerX", "NicePlayer", or other suspicious applications and drag them to the Trash. After removing the potentially unwanted application(s) that cause online ads, scan your Mac for any remaining unwanted components.

Remove smart search browser hijacker related files and folders:

Finder go to folder command

Click the Finder icon, from the menu bar, choose Go, and click Go to Folder...

step1Check for adware-generated files in the /Library/LaunchAgents folder:

removing adware from launch agents folder step 1

In the Go to Folder... bar, type: /Library/LaunchAgents

removing adware from launch agents folder step 2
In the “LaunchAgents” folder, look for any recently-added suspicious files and move them to the Trash. Examples of files generated by adware - “installmac.AppRemoval.plist”, “myppes.download.plist”, “mykotlerino.ltvbit.plist”, “kuklorest.update.plist”, etc. Adware commonly installs several files with the same string.

step2Check for adware-generated files in the /Library/Application Support folder:

removing adware from application support folder step 1

In the Go to Folder... bar, type: /Library/Application Support

removing adware from application support folder step 2
In the “Application Support” folder, look for any recently-added suspicious folders. For example, “MplayerX” or “NicePlayer”, and move these folders to the Trash.

step3Check for adware-generated files in the ~/Library/LaunchAgents folder:

removing adware from ~launch agents folder step 1


In the Go to Folder bar, type: ~/Library/LaunchAgents

removing adware from ~launch agents folder step 2

In the “LaunchAgents” folder, look for any recently-added suspicious files and move them to the Trash. Examples of files generated by adware - “installmac.AppRemoval.plist”, “myppes.download.plist”, “mykotlerino.ltvbit.plist”, “kuklorest.update.plist”, etc. Adware commonly installs several files with the same string.

step4Check for adware-generated files in the /Library/LaunchDaemons folder:

removing adware from launch daemons folder step 1
In the Go to Folder... bar, type: /Library/LaunchDaemons

removing adware from launch daemons folder step 2
In the “LaunchDaemons” folder, look for recently-added suspicious files. For example, “com.aoudad.net-preferences.plist”, “com.myppes.net-preferences.plist”, "com.kuklorest.net-preferences.plist”, “com.avickUpd.plist”, etc., and move them to the Trash.

step 5 Scan your Mac with Combo Cleaner:

If you have followed all the steps in the correct order you Mac should be clean of infections. To be sure your system is not infected run a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus. Download it HERE. After downloading the file double click combocleaner.dmg installer, in the opened window drag and drop Combo Cleaner icon on top of the Applications icon. Now open your launchpad and click on the Combo Cleaner icon. Wait until Combo Cleaner updates it's virus definition database and click "Start Combo Scan" button.

scan-with-combo-cleaner-1

Combo Cleaner will scan your Mac for malware infections. If the antivirus scan displays "no threats found" - this means that you can continue with the removal guide, otherwise it's recommended to remove any found infections before continuing.

scan-with-combo-cleaner-2

After removing files and folders generated by the adware, continue to remove rogue extensions from your Internet browsers.

Smart Search browser hijacker homepage and default Internet search engine removal from Internet browsers:

safari browser iconRemove malicious extensions from Safari:

Remove smart search browser hijacker related Safari extensions:

safari browser preferences

Open Safari browser. From the menu bar, select "Safari" and click "Preferences...".

safari extensions window

In the preferences window, select "Extensions" and look for any recently-installed suspicious extensions. When located, click the "Uninstall" button next to it/them. Note that you can safely uninstall all extensions from your Safari browser - none are crucial for normal browser operation.

Change your homepage:

changing homepage in safari browser

In the "Preferences" window, select the "General" tab. To set your homepage, type the preferred website URL (for example: www.google.com) in the Homepage field. You can also click the “Set to Current Page” button if you wish to set your homepage to the website you are currently visiting.

Change your default search engine:

changing the default Internet search engine in Safari browser

In the "Preferences" window, select the "Search" tab. Here you will find a drop-down menu labelled "Search engine:" Simply select your preferred search engine from the drop-down list.

  • If you continue to have problems with browser redirects and unwanted advertisements - Reset Safari.

firefox browser iconRemove malicious plug-ins from Mozilla Firefox:

Remove smart search browser hijacker related Mozilla Firefox add-ons:

accessing mozilla firefox add-ons

Open your Mozilla Firefox browser. At the top right corner of the screen, click the "Open Menu" (three horizontal lines) button. From the opened menu, choose "Add-ons".

removing malicious add-ons from mozilla firefox

Choose the "Extensions" tab and look for any recently-installed suspicious add-ons. When located, click the "Remove" button next to it/them. Note that you can safely uninstall all extensions from your Mozilla Firefox browser - none are crucial for normal browser operation.

Change your homepage:

changing mozilla firefox homepage

To change your homepage, click the "Open Menu" (three horizontal lines) button and choose "Preferences" from the drop-down menu. To set your homepage, type the preferred website URL (for example: www.google.com) in the Homepage Page.

Change default search engine:

mozilla firefox about config

In the URL address bar, type "about:config" and click the "I'll be careful, I promise!" button.

changing mozilla firefox default Internet search engine

In the "Search:" field, type the name of the browser hijacker. Right click on each of the found preferences and click "Reset" from the drop-down menu.

  • If you continue to have problems with browser redirects and unwanted advertisements - Reset Mozilla Firefox.

chrome-browser-iconRemove malicious extensions from Google Chrome:

Remove smart search browser hijacker related Google Chrome add-ons:

removing malicious google chrome extensions step 1

Open Google Chrome and click the "Chrome menu" (three horizontal lines) button located in the top-right corner of the browser window. From the drop-down menu, choose "More Tools" and select "Extensions".

removing malicious Google Chrome extensions step 2

In the "Extensions" window, look for any recently-installed suspicious add-ons. When located, click the "Trash" button next to it/them. Note that you can safely uninstall all extensions from your Google Chrome browser - none are crucial for normal browser operation.

Change your homepage:

changing Google Chrome homepage

Click the "Chrome menu" (three horizontal lines) button and choose "Settings". In the "On Startup" section, click the "Set pages" link near to the "Open a specific page or set of pages" option. Remove the URL of the browser hijacker (for example trovi.com) and enter your preferred URL (for example, google.com).

Change default search engine:

changing the default Internet search engine in Google Chrome

Click the "Chrome menu" (three horizontal lines) button and choose "Settings". In the "Search" section, click the "Manage search engines..." button. In the opened window, remove the unwanted Internet search engine by clicking the "X" button next to it. Select your preferred Internet search engine from the list and click the "Make default" button next to it.

  • If you continue to have problems with browser redirects and unwanted advertisements - Reset Google Chrome.

About the author:

Tomas Meskauskas

Tomas Meskauskas - expert security researcher, professional malware analyst.

I am passionate about computer security and technology. I have an experience of over 10 years working in various companies related to computer technical issue solving and Internet security. I have been working as an author and editor for pcrisk.com since 2010. Follow me on Twitter and LinkedIn to stay informed about the latest online security threats. Contact Tomas Meskauskas.

PCrisk security portal is brought by a company RCS LT. Joined forces of security researchers help educate computer users about the latest online security threats. More information about the company RCS LT.

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Malware activity

Global virus and spyware activity level today:

Medium threat activity
Medium

Increased attack rate of infections detected within the last 24 hours.

QR Code
Smart Search browser hijacker QR code
A QR code (Quick Response Code) is a machine-readable code which stores URLs and other information. This code can be read using a camera on a smartphone or a tablet. Scan this QR code to have an easy access removal guide of Smart Search browser hijacker on your mobile device.
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Platform: macOS

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