How to uninstall the Smart Search browser hijacker

Also Known As: search.hsearchsmart.co redirect
Distribution: Low
Damage level: Medium

Smart Search browser hijacker removal instructions

What is Smart Search?

Smart Search (not to be confused with Smart Search virus) is a deceptive application that claims to enhance the browsing experience by improving the accuracy of search results and providing quick access to various popular websites. Its appearance suggests that Smart Search is legitimate and useful, however, this app is categorized as a browser hijacker and a potentially unwanted application (PUA). There are three main reasons for these negative associations: 1) installation without users' consent; 2) promotion of a fake search engine [search.hsearchsmart.co], and; 3) tracking of browsing activity.

search.hsearchsmart.co browser hijacker

As mentioned, Smart Search promotes the search.hsearchsmart.co website by hijacking browsers and assigning the new tab URL, homepage, and default search engine options to the URL (search.hsearchsmart.co). These changes may seem insignificant, however, users are unable to revert them. This browser hijacker reassigns settings (or simply prevents users from accessing them) when attempts are made to change them. Therefore, returning browsers to their previous states becomes impossible and users are encouraged to visit search.hsearchsmart.co when they enter a search query or simply open a new browser tab/window. This significantly diminishes the browsing experience. In addition, search.hsearchsmart.co redirects users to search.yahoo.com when a search query is entered. Therefore, users simply end up searching via Yahoo (a legitimate search engine) and search.hsearchsmart.co becomes redundant, as it does not generate any unique results. Smart Search and search.hsearchsmart.co continually record information relating to browsing activity. The list of data types collected by browser hijackers and fake search engines typically include IP addresses, website URLs visited, pages viewed, search queries, and geolocations. This data is shared with third parties (potentially, cyber criminals) who generate revenue by misusing private details. Therefore, data tracking might lead to serious privacy issues and identity theft. We strongly recommend that you eliminate the Smart Search browser hijacker and never return to search.hsearchsmart.co

Threat Summary:
Name Smart Search
Threat Type Browser Hijacker, Redirect, Search Hijacker, Toolbar, Unwanted New Tab
Detection Names (WhatsMySpeed-22689708.exe) Avast (Win32:AdwareSig [Adw]), ESET-NOD32 (A Variant Of Win32/WinWrapper.V Potentially Unwanted), DrWeb (Adware.Spigot.145), Kaspersky (Not-a-virus:Downloader.Win32.AdLoad.afaqc), Full List Of Detections (VirusTotal)
Browser Extension(s) Smart Search
Supposed Functionality Improved search results, quick access to popular websites.
Promoted URL search.hsearchsmart.co
Serving IP Address (search.hsearchsmart.co) 34.198.233.159
Affected Browser Settings Homepage, new tab URL, default search engine
Symptoms Manipulated Internet browser settings (homepage, default Internet search engine, new tab settings). Users are forced to visit the hijacker's website and search the Internet using their search engines.
Distribution methods Deceptive pop-up ads, free software installers (bundling), fake flash player installers.
Damage Internet browser tracking (potential privacy issues), display of unwanted ads, redirects to dubious websites.
Malware Removal (Windows)

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Smart Search is identical to dozens of other browser-hijacking applications, such as Get Recipes Now, Fast To Login, and My Forms Suite. As with Smart Search, these applications offer useful features, however, these false promises are simply attempts to give the impression of legitimacy and to trick users to install. The only purpose of browser hijackers is to generate revenue for the developers. Rather than giving any real value for regular users, they cause redirects and gather information.

How did Smart Search install on my computer?

This browser is free for anyone to download on its official website, however, it often infiltrates computers without users' consent, since developers proliferate it using intrusive advertising and "bundling" methods. Intrusive advertisements (most of which are delivered by adware-type apps) redirect users to dubious websites and execute scripts designed to download/install unwanted apps. "Bundling", on the other hand, is stealth installation of third party applications together with regular software. Developers hide "bundled" applications behind "Custom/Advanced" settings (or other sections) of the download/installation processes. Furthermore, many users often rush download/installation processes, skip steps, and click various advertisements. This behavior often leads to inadvertent installation of unwanted apps such as Smart Search.

How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications?

To prevent this situation,m be very cautious when browsing the Internet and downloading/installing software. Select "Custom/Advanced" settings and carefully analyze each window of the download/installation processes. Decline offers to download/install third party applications and opt-out of those already included. We recommend that you download software from official sources only, using direct download links. Third party downloaders/installers often include rogue applications, and thus these tools should not be used. Furthermore, bear in mind that intrusive advertisements usually seem legitimate. Once clicked, however, they redirect to dubious websites including gambling, survey, pornography, and adult dating - these are just some examples from many such sites. If you frequently encounter these ads/redirects, remove all suspicious applications and browser plug-ins. The key to computer safety is caution. If your computer is already infected with Smart Search, we recommend running a scan with Malwarebytes for Windows to automatically eliminate this browser hijacker.

Smart Search browser hijacker installer set-up:

Official Smart Search browser hijacker installation setup

Website promoting Smart Search browser hijacker:

Website used to promote Smart Search browser hijacker

IMPORTANT NOTE! This deceptive site asks to enable web browser notifications:

Smart Search browser hijacker website asking to enable browser notifications

Therefore, before commencing, perform these steps:

Google Chrome (PC):

  • Click the Menu button (three dots) on the right upper corner of the screen
  • Select "Settings", scroll down to the bottom and click "Advanced"
  • Scroll down to the "Privacy and security" section, select "Content settings" and then "Notifications"
  • Click three dots on the right hand side of each suspicious URL and click "Block" or "Remove" (if you click "Remove" and visit the malicious site once more, it will ask to enable notifications again)

Disable pop-up' notifications in Google Chrome web browser

Google Chrome (Android):

  • Click on the Menu button (three dots) on the right upper corner of the screen and click "Settings"
  • Scroll down, click on "Site settings" and then "Notifications"
  • In the opened window, locate all suspicious URLs and click on them one-by-one
  • Select "Notifications" in the "Permissions" section and set the toggle button to "OFF"

Disable pop-up' notifications in Android Google Chrome web browser

Mozilla Firefox:

  • Click the Menu button (three bars) on the right upper corner of the screen
  • Select "Options" and click on "Privacy & Security" in the toolbar on the left hand side of the screen
  • Scroll down to the "Permissions" section and click the "Settings" button next to "Notifications"
  • In the opened window, locate all suspicious URLs, click the drop-down menu and select "Block"

Disable pop-up' notifications in Mozilla Firefox web browser

Internet Explorer:

  • Click the Gear button on the right upper corner of the IE window
  • Select "Internet options"
  • Select the "Privacy" tab and click "Settings" under "Pop-up Blocker" section
  • Select suspicious URLs under and remove them one by one by clicking the "Remove" button

Disable pop-up' notifications in Internet Explorer web browser

Microsoft Edge:

  • Click the menu button (three dots) on the right upper corner of the Edge window
  • Scroll down, find and click "Settings"
  • Scroll down again and click "View advanced settings"
  • Click "Manage" under "Website permissions"
  • Click the switch under each suspicious website

Disable pop-up' notifications in Microsoft Edge web browser

Safari (Mac):

  • Click "Safari" button on the left upper corner of the screen and select "Preferences..."
  • Select the "Websites" tab and then select "Notifications" section on the left pane
  • Check for suspicious URLs and apply the "Deny" option for each

Disable pop-up' notifications in Safari web browser

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Quick menu:

Smart Search browser hijacker removal:

Windows 7 users:

Accessing Programs and Features (uninstall) in Windows 7

Click Start (Windows Logo at the bottom left corner of your desktop), choose Control Panel. Locate Programs and click Uninstall a program.

Windows XP users:

Accessing Add or Remove Programs in Windows XP

Click Start, choose Settings and click Control Panel. Locate and click Add or Remove Programs.

Windows 10 and Windows 8 users:

Accessing Programs and Features (uninstall) in Windows 8

Right-click in the lower left corner of the screen, in the Quick Access Menu select Control Panel. In the opened window choose Programs and Features.

Mac OSX users:

Uninstall app in OSX (Mac)

Click Finder, in the opened screen select Applications. Drag the app from the Applications folder to the Trash (located in your Dock), then right click the Trash icon and select Empty Trash.

search.hsearchsmart.co browser hijacker uninstall via Control Panel

In the uninstall programs window: look for any recently installed suspicious applications (for example, "Smart Search"), select these entries and click "Uninstall" or "Remove".

After uninstalling the potentially unwanted applications that cause browser redirects to the search.hsearchsmart.co website, scan your computer for any remaining unwanted components. To scan your computer, use recommended malware removal software.

Smart Search browser hijacker removal from Internet browsers:

Video showing how to remove browser redirects:

Internet Explorer logoRemove malicious add-ons from Internet Explorer:

Removing search.hsearchsmart.co related Internet Explorer extensions

Click the "gear" icon Internet Explorer options icon (at the top right corner of Internet Explorer), select "Manage Add-ons". Look for any recently installed suspicious extensions, select these entries and click "Remove".

Change your homepage:

Removing search.hsearchsmart.co from Internet Explorer homepage

Click the "gear" icon Internet Explorer options icon (at the top right corner of Internet Explorer), select "Internet Options", in the opened window, remove hxxp://search.hsearchsmart.co and enter your preferred domain, which will open each time you launch Internet Explorer. You can also enter about: blank to open a blank page when you start Internet Explorer.

Change your default search engine:

Removing search.hsearchsmart.co from Internet Explorer default search engine

Click the "gear" icon Internet Explorer options icon (at the top right corner of Internet Explorer), select "Manage Add-ons". In the opened window, select "Search Providers", set "Google", "Bing", or any other preferred search engine as your default and then remove "Smart Search".

Optional method:

If you continue to have problems with removal of the search.hsearchsmart.co redirect, reset your Internet Explorer settings to default.

Windows XP users: Click Start, click Run, in the opened window type inetcpl.cpl In the opened window click the Advanced tab, then click Reset.

Resetting Internet Explorer settings to default on Windows XP

Windows Vista and Windows 7 users: Click the Windows logo, in the start search box type inetcpl.cpl and click enter. In the opened window click the Advanced tab, then click Reset.

Resetting Internet Explorer settings to default on Windows 7

Windows 8 users: Open Internet Explorer and click the gear icon. Select Internet Options.

Reseting Internet Explorer settings to default in Windows 8 - accessing

In the opened window, select the Advanced tab.

Resetting Internet Explorer settings to default on Windows 8 - Internet options advanced tab

Click the Reset button.

Resetting Internet Explorer settings to default on Windows 8 - click the Reset button in the Internet options advanced tab

Confirm that you wish to reset Internet Explorer settings to default by clicking the Reset button.

Resetting Internet Explorer settings to default on Windows 8 - confirm settings reset to default by clicking the reset button

Google Chrome logoRemove malicious extensions from Google Chrome:

Removing search.hsearchsmart.co related Google Chrome extensions

Click the Chrome menu icon Google Chrome menu icon (at the top right corner of Google Chrome), select "More tools" and click "Extensions". Locate "Smart Search" and other recently-installed suspicious browser add-ons, and remove them.

Change your homepage:

Removing search.hsearchsmart.co from Google Chrome homepage

Click the Chrome menu icon Google Chrome menu icon (at the top right corner of Google Chrome), select "Settings". In the "On startup" section, disable "Smart Search" look for a browser hijacker URL (hxxp://www.search.hsearchsmart.co) below the “Open a specific or set of pages” option. If present, click on the three vertical dots icon and select “Remove”.

Change your default search engine:

Removing search.hsearchsmart.co from Google Chrome default search engine

To change your default search engine in Google Chrome: Click the Chrome menu icon Google Chrome menu icon (at the top right corner of Google Chrome), select "Settings", in the "Search engine" section, click "Manage search engines...", in the opened list, look for "search.hsearchsmart.co", and when located, click the three vertical dots near this URL and select "Remove from list".

Optional method:

If you continue to have problems with removal of the search.hsearchsmart.co redirect, reset your Google Chrome browser settings. Click the Chrome menu icon Google Chrome menu icon (at the top right corner of Google Chrome) and select Settings. Scroll down to the bottom of the screen. Click the Advanced… link.

Google Chrome settings reset step 1

After scrolling to the bottom of the screen, click the Reset (Restore settings to their original defaults) button.

Google Chrome settings reset step 2

In the opened window, confirm that you wish to reset Google Chrome settings to default by clicking the Reset button.

Google Chrome settings reset step 3

Mozilla Firefox logoRemove malicious plug-ins from Mozilla Firefox:

Removing search.hsearchsmart.co related Mozilla Firefox extensions

Click the Firefox menu firefox menu icon (at the top right corner of the main window), select "Add-ons". Click on "Extensions" and remove "Smart Search", as well as all other recently installed browser plug-ins.

Change your homepage:

Removing search.hsearchsmart.co from Mozilla Firefox homepage

To reset your homepage, click the Firefox menu firefox menu icon (at the top right corner of the main window), then select "Options", in the opened window, disable "Smart Search" remove hxxp://search.hsearchsmart.co and enter your preferred domain, which will open each time you start Mozilla Firefox.

Change your default search engine:

Removing search.hsearchsmart.co from Mozilla Firefox default search engine

In the URL address bar, type about:config and press Enter.
Click "I'll be careful, I promise!".
In the search filter at the top, type: "hsearchsmart.co"
Right-click on the found preferences and select "Reset" to restore default values.

Optional method:

Computer users who have problems with search.hsearchsmart.co redirect removal can reset their Mozilla Firefox settings.

Open Mozilla Firefox, at the top right corner of the main window, click the Firefox menu, firefox menu icon in the opened menu, click Help.

Accessing settings (Reset Firefox to default settings step 1)

Select Troubleshooting Information.

Accessing Troubleshooting Information (Reset Firefox to default settings step 2)

In the opened window, click the Refresh Firefox button.

Clicking on Refresh Firefox button (Reset Firefox to default settings step 3)

In the opened window, confirm that you wish to reset Mozilla Firefox settings to default by clicking the Refresh Firefox button.

Confirm your want to reset Firefox settings to default (Reset Firefox to default settings step 4)

safari browser logoRemove malicious extensions from Safari:

Removing browser hijackers from safari step 1 - accessing preferences

Make sure your Safari browser is active and click Safari menu, then select Preferences...

removing browser hijacker from safari step 2 - removing extensions

In the preferences window select the Extensions tab. Look for any recently installed suspicious extensions and uninstall them.

Removing browser hijackers from safari step 3 - changing homepage

In the preferences window select General tab and make sure that your homepage is set to a preferred URL, if its altered by a browser hijacker - change it.

removing browser hijackers from safari step 4 - changing the default Internet search engine

In the preferences window select Search tab and make sure that your preferred Internet search engine is selected.

Optional method:

Make sure your Safari browser is active and click on Safari menu. From the drop down menu select Clear History and Website Data...

resetting safari step 1

In the opened window select all history and click the Clear History button.

resetting safari step 2

Microsoft Edge (Chromium) logoRemove malicious extensions from Microsoft Edge:

Removing browser hijackers from Microsoft Edge step 1

Click the Edge menu icon Microsoft Edge (chromium) menu icon (at the top right corner of Microsoft Edge), select "Extensions". Locate any recently-installed suspicious browser add-ons, and remove them.

Change your homepage and new tab settings:

Removing browser hijackers from Microsoft Edge step 2

Click the Edge menu icon Microsoft Edge (chromium) menu icon (at the top right corner of Microsoft Edge), select "Settings". In the "On startup" section look for the name of the browser hijacker and click "Disable".

Change your default Internet search engine:

Removing browser hijackers from Microsoft Edge step 3

To change your default search engine in Microsoft Edge: Click the Edge menu icon Microsoft Edge (chromium) menu icon (at the top right corner of Microsoft Edge), select "Privacy and services", scroll to bottom of the page and select "Address bar". In the "Search engines used in address bar" section look for the name of the unwanted Internet search engine, when located click the "Disable" button near it. Alternatively you can click on "Manage search engines", in the opened menu look for unwanted Internet search engine. Click on the puzzle icon Microsoft Edge (Chromium) puzzle icon near it and select "Disable".

Optional method:

If you continue to have problems with removal of the search.hsearchsmart.co redirect, reset your Microsoft Edge browser settings. Click the Edge menu icon Microsoft Edge (chromium) menu icon (at the top right corner of Microsoft Edge) and select Settings.

Microsoft Edge (Chromium) reset step 1

In the opened settings menu select Reset settings.

Microsoft Edge (Chromium) reset step 2

Select Restore settings to their default values. In the opened window, confirm that you wish to reset Microsoft Edge settings to default by clicking the Reset button.

Microsoft Edge (Chromium) reset step 3

  • If this did not help, follow these alternative instructions explaining how to reset the Microsoft Edge browser.

Summary:

declining installation of browser hijackers while downloading free software sampleA browser hijacker is a type of adware infection that modifies Internet browser settings by assigning the homepage and default Internet search engine settings to some other (unwanted) website URL. Commonly, this type of adware infiltrates operating systems through free software downloads. If your download is managed by a download client, ensure that you decline offers to install advertised toolbars or applications that seek to change your homepage and default Internet search engine settings.

Removal assistance:
If you are experiencing problems while trying to remove search.hsearchsmart.co redirect from your Internet browsers, please ask for assistance in our malware support forum.

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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.

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Software uninstall instructions
Malware activity

Global malware activity level today:

Medium threat activity

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

QR Code
search.hsearchsmart.co redirect QR code
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