How to uninstall SmartWebSearch adware

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

How to remove SmartWebSearch from Mac computers

What is SmartWebSearch?

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

SmartWebSearch adware

Adware serves various intrusive advertisements. For example, coupons, banners, pop-up ads and surveys. Generally, the ads conceal content of visited websites and, if clicked, open various untrusted, potentially malicious web pages. In some cases, the ads execute scripts that download and install unwanted software. SmartWebSearch serves ads and also operates as a browser hijacker. It promotes the address of a fake search engine by changing certain browser settings. Typically, PUAs promote fake search engines by appointing their URLs as the address of the default search engine, homepage, and new tab. Furthermore, most do not allow users to undo these settings as long as the hijackers are installed. Note that fake search engines do not generate any unique results and often simply provide results generated by legitimate search engines. SmartWebSearch also gathers various browsing data such as geolocations, entered search queries, addresses of visited pages, IP addresses, and other details of this kind. There is a possibility that an app such as SmartWebSearch might be capable of accessing personal, sensitive information as well. The people behind these apps sell the information to third parties who misuse it to generate revenue in various ways. Adware developers might share collected data with cyber criminals. In summary, software such as SmartWebSearch can cause problems such as identity theft, financial loss, and issues relating to browsing safety, privacy and so on. If SmartWebSearch is installed on your browser or computer, remove it immediately.

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.
Malware Removal (Mac)

To eliminate possible malware infections, scan your Mac with legitimate antivirus software. Our security researchers recommend using Combo Cleaner.
▼ Download Combo Cleaner for Mac
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Some examples of other adware infections are ExploreSearchResults, MajorChannelSearch and MainSignalSearch. Generally, these apps do not deliver any useful features or any other value, and are designed only to help the developers to generate revenue. They display ads, gather information, promote fake search engines and simply cause problems.

How did SmartWebSearch install on my computer?

SmartWebSearch is distributed through fake Adobe Flash Player installers, which supposedly install and/or update Adobe Flash Player. In fact, they install various PUAs. Furthermore, developers often distribute PUAs using a deceptive marketing method called "bundling". They include these apps into the download/installation set-ups and present them as "additional offers", however, offers to download or install additional software (PUAs) are usually hidden in "Advanced", "Custom", and other similar settings of the set-ups. Many users fail to check and change these settings - leaving them unchanged grants PUAs permission to be downloaded/installed with your regular software by default. In some cases, unwanted downloads and installations can be caused by clicking deceptive advertisements that 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. Download only from official websites and via direct links. Check download/installation set-ups for settings such as "Custom" and "Advanced" - dismiss any offers of additional software to download or install before completing the process. Do not click intrusive ads that are displayed on dubious websites. When clicked, they can open untrusted websites or cause download/installation of unwanted apps. Check for unwanted, suspicious apps (extensions, add-ons, plug-ins) installed on the browser, and programs of this kind installed on the operating system. Remove unwanted entries immediately. 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 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. To use full-featured product, you have to purchase a license for Combo Cleaner. Limited three days free trial available.

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.

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, you are advised to check if download and/or installation set-ups contain settings such as "Custom", "Advanced" and see if those settings mention additional downloads and/or installations. Offers to download and/or install included PUAs 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 untrusted websites or cause downloads, installations of unwanted apps. Finally, we recommend that you ensure that there are no unyour, suspicious apps (extensions, add-ons or plug-ins) installed on the browser and programs of this kind on the operating system. These entries should be removed/uninstalled immediately. If your computer is already infected with SmartWebSearch, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for macOS to automatically eliminate this adwareNo 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, you are advised to check if download and/or installation set-ups contain settings such as "Custom", "Advanced" and see if those settings mention additional downloads and/or installations. Offers to download and/or install included PUAs 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 untrusted websites or cause downloads, installations of unwanted apps. Finally, we recommend that you ensure that there are no unyour, suspicious apps (extensions, add-ons or plug-ins) installed on the browser and programs of this kind on the operating system. These entries should be removed/uninstalled immediately. If your computer is already infected with SmartWebSearch, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for macOS to automatically eliminate this adware

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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