What is PowerSmash?
The PowerSmash browser hijacker is designed to change certain browser settings to smashapps.net (a fake search engine) and collect browsing-related information. Browser hijackers are categorized as potentially unwanted applications (PUAs), since users often download and install them inadvertently.
Like most browser hijackers, PowerSmash changes settings such as the address of the default search engine, homepage, and new tab. In this case, it assigns them to smashapps.net, which then redirects users to searchmes.xyz and provides results by s3arch.page (a dubious search engine that might include links to other untrusted websites in its results).
It is possible that smashapps.net could also redirect users to other dubious addresses. In any case, smashapps.net should not be used as a search engine. To remove this address from browser settings it is necessary to first uninstall PowerSmash. Browser hijackers also collect browsing-related and/or other data.
They usually target IP addresses, entered search queries, geolocations, addresses of visited websites, and other information of this type. In some cases, they record personal, sensitive data. Furthermore, the developers can misuse the data to generate revenue by selling it to third parties (potentially, cyber criminals) or in other ways.
Therefore, users who have PowerSmash or similar apps installed on the browser and/or computer might experience problems relating to privacy and browsing safety, or, worse, might have their identities stolen.
|Threat Type||Browser Hijacker, Redirect, Search Hijacker, Toolbar, Unwanted New Tab.|
|Supposed Functionality||Improved browsing experience.|
|Serving IP Address (smashapps.net)||220.127.116.11|
|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)||
To eliminate possible malware infections, scan your computer with legitimate antivirus software. Our security researchers recommend using Combo Cleaner.
Note that browser hijackers are often advertised as useful, legitimate applications that supposedly improve the browsing experience and include various features, however, most collect data and promote fake search engines - they are designed only to generate revenue for the developers.
How did PowerSmash install on my computer?
PUAs are often downloaded/installed together with other products. This deceptive marketing technique of pre-packing regular software with unwanted or malicious additions is called "bundling".
By rushing through download/installation (e.g. ignoring terms, skipping steps and sections, using "Quick/Express" settings, etc.), many users risk unintentionally allowing bundled content into their devices. Intrusive advertisements proliferate PUAs as well.
When clicked, the ads can execute scripts to download/install these applications without users' permission. Some PUAs have "official" download web page.
How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications
Check all "Advanced" and "Custom" settings and decline offers to download or install additional apps. Download software and files only from official, trustworthy web pages and via direct links.
Third party downloaders and installers, unofficial sites, Peer-to-Peer networks (e.g., torrent clients, eMule) or other channels and sources are monetized by distributing unwanted, malicious apps. Do not click advertisements that appear on dubious websites, since they can open other pages of this kind or even cause unwanted downloads and installation by running certain scripts.
Remove any unwanted apps (extensions, plug-ins, add-ons) already installed on the browser. Also remove programs of this kind that are installed on the operating system. If your computer is already infected with PowerSmash, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows to automatically eliminate this browser hijacker.
Website promoting PowerSmash browser hijacker:
Another website promoting PowerSmash browser hijacker:
Notification stating that PowerSmash can read certain data and change settings:
Instant automatic 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 malware. Download it by clicking the button below:
- What is PowerSmash?
- STEP 1. Uninstall PowerSmash application using Control Panel.
- STEP 2. Remove PowerSmash browser hijacker from Google Chrome.
- STEP 3. Remove smashapps.net homepage and default search engine from Mozilla Firefox.
- STEP 4. Remove smashapps.net redirect from Safari.
- STEP 5. Remove rogue plug-ins from Microsoft Edge.
- STEP 6. Remove smashapps.net redirect from Internet Explorer.
PowerSmash browser hijacker removal:
Windows 11 users:
Right-click on the Start icon, select Apps and Features. In the opened window search for the application you want to uninstall, after locating it, click on the three vertical dots and select Uninstall.
Windows 10 users:
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.
Windows 7 users:
Click Start (Windows Logo at the bottom left corner of your desktop), choose Control Panel. Locate Programs and click Uninstall a program.
macOS (OSX) users:
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.
In the uninstall programs window: look for any recently installed suspicious applications (for example, "PowerSmash"), select these entries and click "Uninstall" or "Remove".
After uninstalling the potentially unwanted applications that cause browser redirects to the smashapps.net website, scan your computer for any remaining unwanted components. To scan your computer, use recommended malware removal software.
PowerSmash browser hijacker removal from Internet browsers:
Video showing how to remove browser redirects:
Remove malicious extensions from Google Chrome:
Click the Chrome menu icon (at the top right corner of Google Chrome), select "More tools" and click "Extensions". Locate "PowerSmash" and other recently-installed suspicious browser add-ons, and remove them.
Change your homepage:
Click the Chrome menu icon (at the top right corner of Google Chrome), select "Settings". In the "On startup" section, disable "PowerSmash", look for a browser hijacker URL (hxxp://www.smashapps.net) 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:
To change your default search engine in Google Chrome: Click the 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 "smashapps.net", when located click the three vertical dots near this URL and select "Remove from list".
If you continue to have problems with removal of the smashapps.net redirect, reset your Google Chrome browser settings. Click the 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.
After scrolling to the bottom of the screen, click the Reset (Restore settings to their original defaults) button.
In the opened window, confirm that you wish to reset Google Chrome settings to default by clicking the Reset button.
Remove malicious plug-ins from Mozilla Firefox:
Click the Firefox menu (at the top right corner of the main window), select "Add-ons". Click on "Extensions" and remove "PowerSmash", as well as all other recently installed browser plug-ins.
Change your homepage:
To reset your homepage, click the Firefox menu (at the top right corner of the main window), then select "Options", in the opened window disable "PowerSmash", remove hxxp://smashapps.net and enter your preferred domain, which will open each time you start Mozilla Firefox.
Change your 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: "extensionControlled"
Set both results to "false" by either double-clicking each entry or clicking the button.
Computer users who have problems with smashapps.net redirect removal can reset their Mozilla Firefox settings.
Open Mozilla Firefox, at the top right corner of the main window, click the Firefox menu, in the opened menu, click Help.
Select Troubleshooting Information.
In the opened window, click the Refresh Firefox button.
In the opened window, confirm that you wish to reset Mozilla Firefox settings to default by clicking the Refresh Firefox button.
Remove malicious extensions from Safari:
Make sure your Safari browser is active and click Safari menu, then select Preferences...
In the preferences window select the Extensions tab. Look for any recently installed suspicious extensions and uninstall them.
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.
In the preferences window select Search tab and make sure that your preferred Internet search engine is selected.
Make sure your Safari browser is active and click on Safari menu. From the drop down menu select Clear History and Website Data...
In the opened window select all history and click the Clear History button.
Remove malicious extensions from Microsoft Edge:
Click the Edge 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:
Click the Edge 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:
To change your default search engine in Microsoft Edge: Click the Edge 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 near it and select "Disable".
If you continue to have problems with removal of the smashapps.net redirect, reset your Microsoft Edge browser settings. Click the Edge menu icon (at the top right corner of Microsoft Edge) and select Settings.
In the opened settings menu select Reset settings.
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.
- If this did not help, follow these alternative instructions explaining how to reset the Microsoft Edge browser.
Remove malicious add-ons from Internet Explorer:
Click the "gear" 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:
Click the "gear" icon (at the top right corner of Internet Explorer), select "Internet Options", in the opened window remove hxxp://smashapps.net 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:
Click the "gear" 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 "PowerSmash".
If you continue to have problems with removal of the smashapps.net 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.
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.
Windows 8 users: Open Internet Explorer and click the gear icon. Select Internet Options.
In the opened window, select the Advanced tab.
Click the Reset button.
Confirm that you wish to reset Internet Explorer settings to default by clicking the Reset button.
A 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.
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