How to remove SmartSignalSearch adware

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

How to remove SmartSignalSearch from Mac computers

What is SmartSignalSearch?

SmartSignalSearch is designed to serve advertisements and promote the address of a fake search engine by changing browser settings. This app functions as adware and a browser hijacker. Typically, users download and install apps like SmartSignalSearch inadvertently. Therefore, they are categorized as potentially unwanted applications (PUAs). Research shows that this particular PUA is distributed through a fake Adobe Flash Player installer.

SmartSignalSearch adware

Applications such as SmartSignalSearch display coupons, banners, surveys, pop-ups and other advertisements. People who click such ads often arrive at dubious, untrusted websites or allow the ads to cause download/installation of unwanted apps by running certain scripts. This app also promotes a fake search engine by changing browser settings. Typically, fake search engines are promoted by assigning their address as the address of the default search engine, homepage, and new tab. In summary, SmartSignalSearch's users are forced to visit a rogue address when they open a browser, new tab and enter search queries into the URL bar. Note that most fake search engines do not generate unique results, or they deliver misleading information. Furthermore, it is possible that SmartSignalSearch will track information, recording data such as entered search queries, addresses of visited/opened websites, geolocations, IP addresses and other browsing data. It might also gather personal, sensitive information. The data is sold to third parties (potentially, cyber criminals) and/or misused to generate revenue in other ways. Many users install SmartSignalSearch inadvertently via a fake Adobe Flash Player installer. Note that these installers can infiltrate malicious software including Trojans and ransomware-type programs. People might then lose data, suffer monetary loss, become victims of identity theft, cause installation of malware and experience other serious issues.

Threat Summary:
Name Ads by SmartSignalSearch
Threat Type Adware, Mac malware, Mac virus.
Detection Names Avast (MacOS:Adload-AD [Trj]), BitDefender (Adware.MAC.Generic.16183), ESET-NOD32 (A Variant Of OSX/TrojanDownloader.Adload.AE), Kaspersky (Not-a-virus:HEUR:AdWare.OSX.Cimpli.k), Full List (VirusTotal)
Additional Information This application belongs to the Adload malware family.
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
To use full-featured product, you have to purchase a license for Combo Cleaner. Limited three days free trial available.

SmartSignalSearch is similar to ActivelySearch, ExclusiveAction, ArtemisSearch and other apps of this type. Generally, such apps serve intrusive advertisements and collect browsing-related, and other, data. In any case, these apps deliver no real value. Furthermore, users are exposed to risk of various problems. If SmartSignalSearch and other adware-type application is installed on the browser/operating system, remove it immediately.

How did SmartSignalSearch install on my computer?

Many users install SmartSignalSearch's through a fake Adobe Flash Player installer. People also download and install adware, browser hijackers and other PUAs by clicking deceptive advertisements that cause unwanted downloads and installations by running certain scripts, or through the download/ installation set-ups of other programs. I.e., when developers include PUAs into set-ups as 'additional offers'. This distribution method is known as "bundling". Typically, offers to download or install additionally-included software are listed in settings such as "Advanced", "Custom", and "Manual". Many users fail to check and change these settings when they download and install their programs, thereby allowing PUAs to infiltrate together with regular software.

How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications

Software should be downloaded from official websites and via direct links. Other channels such as third party downloaders, Peer-to-Peer networks (e.g., torrent clients, eMule), unofficial pages, should not be used, since they can distribute unwanted, potentially malicious apps. Third party installers should also be avoided. Check all download/installation set-ups that contain "Advanced", "Custom" and other similar settings. Decline offers to download or install additional, potentially unwanted apps. Do not click intrusive ads that appear on various untrusted websites (e.g., on those relating to gambling, pornography, adult dating, etc.), since they often lead to dubious web pages or cause unwanted downloads and installations. Remove any suspicious, unknown and unwanted apps (plug-ins, add-ons, extensions) installed on the browser immediately. Also remove software of this kind that is installed on the operating system. If your computer is already infected with SmartSignalSearch, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for macOS to automatically eliminate this adware.

Files related to SmartSignalSearch adware that need to be removed:

  • ~/Library/Application Support/com.SmartSignalSearch/SmartSignalSearch
  • ~/Library/Application Support/com.SmartSignalSearchDaemon/SmartSignalSearch
  • ~/Library/LaunchAgents/com.SmartSignalSearch.plist
  • ~/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.SmartSignalSearchDaemon.plist

IMPORTANT NOTE! Rogue setups/apps that promote SmartSignalSearch 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".

Remove rogue profiles designed to promote SmartSignalSearch (Step 1)

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

Remove rogue profiles designed to promote SmartSignalSearch (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 adware.

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:

SmartSignalSearch adware removal:

Remove SmartSignalSearch-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 smartsignalsearch 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 SmartSignalSearch removal from Internet browsers:

safari browser iconRemove malicious extensions from Safari:

Remove ads by smartsignalsearch 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 smartsignalsearch 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 smartsignalsearch 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.

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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.

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 SmartSignalSearch 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 SmartSignalSearch on your mobile device.
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