FacebookTwitterLinkedIn

How to uninstall SmartSearch adware from the operating system?

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

How to remove SmartSearch from Mac?

What is SmartSearch?

SmartSearch is the name of a potentially unwanted application (PUA) that serves advertisements and modifies browser's settings. There is a possibility that it collects browsing data and/or other information as well. Simply said, SmartSearch functions both as adware and a browser hijacker. Such apps are rarely downloaded by users intentionally, that is why they are called PUAs. SmartSearch is distributed via deceptive installer that is disguised as an installer for the Adobe Flash Player.

SmartSearch adware

SmartSearch is an app that generates advertisements, for example, coupons, pop-up ads, surveys, banners, that, if clicked, could open untrustworthy, potentially malicious pages or even run scripts that would be designed to download and/or install some other unwanted app. Moreover, this app promotes a fake search engine (its address). Typically, apps of this type do that by modifying browser's settings such as the address of a default search engine, homepage and/or new tab. It means that it opens a certain address when a browser or new tab is opened, or when a search query into URL bar is entered. Furthermore, it is likely that SmartSearch gathers various browsing-related information. For example, details like addresses of visited pages, entered search queries, IP addresses, geolocations). However, it is possible that it collects sensitive, personal data as well. What is worse, gathered data could be monetized by selling it to third parties (potentially cyber criminals) or in misused to generate revenue in some other ways. Therefore, when users have apps like SmartSearch installed on a browser and/or the operating system, they are at risk of becoming victims of identity theft, encountering issues related to wb browsing safety, online privacy, and/or other problems.

Threat Summary:
Name Ads by SmartSearch
Threat Type Adware, Mac malware, Mac virus
Detection Names Avast (MacOS:Adload-AD [Trj]), BitDefender (Gen:Variant.Adware.MAC.Rload.5), ESET-NOD32 (A Variant Of OSX/TrojanDownloader.Adload.AE), Kaspersky (Not-a-virus:HEUR:AdWare.OSX.Cimpli.l), Full List (VirusTotal)
Additional Information This application belongs to 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.

There are many apps like SmartSearch, a couple of examples are MicroLookup, WebAdviseSearch, PublicCharacterSearch. The main difference between them is that they may be designed to promote a different fake search engine/address. Apart from that they function more or less similarly. In one way or another, most adware-type apps, browser hijackers are designed only to generate revenue for their developers and are useless to their users.

How did SmartSearch install on my computer?

This particular app is distributed via fake installer that is designed to look like the installer for Adobe Flash Player installer. It is worthwhile to mention that such installers can be used to distribute (install) malware. For example, ransomware, some Trojan-type malware. Also, it is common that PUAs are distributed via download and/or installation setups of other programs by including them as additional offers. Usually those offers can be declined by unticking certain checkboxes or via "Advanced", "Custom", "Manual", or other similar settings. However, not all users do that. In such cases they download and/or install included apps (PUAs) alongside with programs that they download and/or install intentionally. In some cases users download and/or install PUAs through deceptive advertisements that are designed to run certain scripts or download. Although, only if they click those ads.

How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications?

It is recommended not to finish any download or installation process without checking if there are any "Custom", "Advanced and other similar settings available in download and/or installation setup that could be used to decline offers to download and/or install unwanted apps. Also, it advised to download software only from official websites and using direct download links. It is not recommended to use third party downloaders (and installers), Peer-to-Peer networks like torrent clients, eMule, etc. It is not recommended to trust (click) ads that appear on questionable web pages as well. It is because those ads could be designed to promote other unreliable sites or cause unwanted downloads and/or installations. Any unwanted, suspicious extensions, add-ons, or plug-ins that are installed on a web browser should be uninstalled, programs that are installed on the operating system should be uninstalled too. If your computer is already infected with SmartSearch, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for macOS to automatically eliminate this adware.

Files related to SmartSearch adware that need to be removed:

  • ~/Library/Application Support/com.SmartSearch/SmartSearch
  • ~/Library/Application Support/com.SmartSearchDaemon/SmartSearch
  • ~/Library/LaunchAgents/com.SmartSearch.plist
  • ~/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.SmartSearchDaemon.plist

IMPORTANT NOTE! Rogue setups/apps that promote the SmartSearch 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"

Remove rogue profiles designed to promote pavadinimas (Step 1)

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

Remove rogue profiles designed to promote pavadinimas (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/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 SmartSearch adware using Combo Cleaner:

SmartSearch adware removal:

Remove SmartSearch-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 smartsearch 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 SmartSearch removal from Internet browsers:

safari browser iconRemove malicious extensions from Safari:

Remove ads by smartsearch 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 smartsearch 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 smartsearch 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.

Click to post a comment

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.

Our malware removal guides are free. However, if you want to support us you can send us a donation.

Removal Instructions in other languages
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 SmartSearch 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 SmartSearch on your mobile device.
We Recommend:

Get rid of Mac malware infections today:

▼ REMOVE IT NOW
Download Combo Cleaner for Mac

Platform: macOS

Editors' Rating for Combo Cleaner:
Editors ratingOutstanding!

[Back to Top]

To use full-featured product, you have to purchase a license for Combo Cleaner. Limited three days free trial available.