How to uninatall SmartWebSearch adware?

Also Known As: Ads by SmartWebSearch
Type: Mac Virus
Distribution: Moderate
Damage level: Medium

How to remove SmartWebSearch from Mac?

What is SmartWebSearch?

SmartWebSearch is a potentially unwanted application (PUA), an adware-type application which is a part of AdLoad adware family. It is designed to display intrusive advertisements and promote some fake search engine. It is very likely that it gathers various browsing-related (and other) data as well. Research shows that SmartWebSearch is distributed through a fake Adobe Flash Player installer/updater. In most cases people download and/or install apps like SmartWebSearch unintentionally.

SmartWebSearch adware

Adware is a type of software that is designed to serve various intrusive advertisements. For example, coupons, banners, pop-up ads and surveys. As a rule, displayed ads conceal contents of visited websites and, if clicked, open various untrustworthy, potentially malicious pages. In some cases advertisements of this kind can be designed to execute scripts that would download (or even install) unwanted software. As we mentioned in the introduction, SmartWebSearch not only serves ads but also operates as a browser hijacker. It promotes address of some fake search engine by changing certain browser's settings. Typically, PUAs promote fake search engines by appointing them as an addresses of a default search engine, homepage and new tab. Besides, most of them do not allow users to undo those settings as long as they are installed. It is worthwhile to mention that fake search engines do not generate any unique results. Very often they provide users with results generated by some legitimate search engine. In some cases fake search engines provide users with results. Furthermore, it is very likely that SmartWebSearch operates as information tracking tool and gathers various browsing data like geolocations, entered search queries, addresses of visited pages, IP addresses, and other data of this kind. There is always a possibility that an app like SmartWebSearch may be capable of accessing personal, sensitive information as well. Very often people behind such apps sell gathered information to third parties who misuse it to generate revenue in some other way (or ways). It is possible adware developers may share collected data with some cyber criminals as well. To sum up, software like SmartWebSearch can cause problems like identity theft, financial loss, issues relate to browsing safety, privacy and so on. If SmartWebSearch is installed on a browser and/or computer, then it should be removed as soon as possible.

Threat Summary:
Name Ads by SmartWebSearch
Threat Type Adware, Mac malware, Mac virus
Detection Names Avast (MacOS:Adload-M [Trj]), BitDefender (Gen:Variant.Adware.MAC.Adload.4), ESET-NOD32 (A Variant Of OSX/TrojanDownloader.Adload.AE), Kaspersky (Not-a-virus:HEUR:AdWare.OSX.Cimpli.k), Full List (VirusTotal)
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 malware infections our security researchers recommend scanning your Mac with Combo Cleaner.
▼ Download Combo Cleaner for Mac
Free scanner checks if your computer is infected. To remove malware, you have to purchase the full version of Combo Cleaner.

Some examples of other adware are ExploreSearchResults, MajorChannelSearch and MainSignalSearch. As a rule, apps of this type do not deliver any features or other value and are designed only to help their developers to generate revenue. In other words, they display ads, gather various information and/or promote some fake search engine and can cause various problems.

How did SmartWebSearch install on my computer?

SmartWebSearch is distributed through fake Adobe Flash Player installers. These installers supposed to install and/or update Adobe Flash Player, however, instead of doing that they install various PUAs. Also, developers often distribute PUAs by using a deceptive marketing method called "bundling". They include such apps in download and/or installation setups and present them as additional offers. However, offers to download and/or install additional software (PUAs) usually are hidden in "Advanced", "Custom", and other similar settings of setups. Not all users check and change those settings. It is common that by leaving them unchanged they give included PUA (or PUAs) a permission to be downloaded and/or installed together with some desired software. In some cases unwanted downloads and/or installations can be caused by clicking deceptive advertisements that are designed to run certain scripts.

How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications?

No software should be downloaded from unofficial websites, through torrent clients, eMule (and other Peer-to-Peer networks), third party downloaders, etc., or installed through third party installers. It should be downloaded only from official websites and via direct links. Also, it is recommended to check if download and/or installation setups contain settings like "Custom", "Advanced" and see if those settings mention additional downloads and/or installations. Offers to download and/or install included PUAs should be declined before completing downloads and installations. Furthermore, it is not safe to click various intrusive ads that are displayed on dubious websites. When clicked, those advertisements tend to open untrustworthy websites or cause downloads, installations of unwanted apps. And finally, we recommend to make sure that there are no undesired, suspicious apps (extensions, add-ons or plug-ins) installed on a browser and programs of this kind on the operating system. Such entries should be removed/uninstalled as soon as possible. If your computer is already infected with SmartWebSearch, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for macOS to automatically eliminate this adware.

Files related to the SmartWebSearch adware that need to be removed:

  • ~/Library/Application Support/com.SmartWebSearch/SmartWebSearch
  • ~/Library/Application Support/com.SmartWebSearchDaemon/SmartWebSearch
  • ~/Library/LaunchAgents/com.SmartWebSearch.plist
  • ~/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.SmartWebSearchDaemon.plist

IMPORTANT NOTE! Rogue setups/apps that promote the SmartWebSearch adware 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"

SmartWebSearch preferences step 1

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

SmartWebSearch 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 Mac malware removal: 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 Mac malware. 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 adware and browser hijackers from a Mac computer:

SmartWebSearch adware removal:

Remove SmartWebSearch-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 ads by smartwebsearch 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.

Ads by SmartWebSearch removal from Internet browsers:

safari browser iconRemove malicious extensions from Safari:

Remove ads by smartwebsearch 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.

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

firefox browser iconRemove malicious plug-ins from Mozilla Firefox:

Remove ads by smartwebsearch 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.

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

chrome-browser-iconRemove malicious extensions from Google Chrome:

Remove ads by smartwebsearch 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.

  • 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 malware activity level today:

Medium threat activity

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

QR Code
Ads by SmartWebSearch 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 Ads by SmartWebSearch on your mobile device.
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