Search Smarter and Search Assistor Ads

Also Known As: Search Smarter Virus
Type: Adware
Distribution: Low
Damage level: Moderate

Search Smarter and Search Assistor ads - removal instructions

What is Search Smarter and Search Assistor?

Search Smarter and Search Assistor are rogue browser plugins, which infiltrate users' Internet browsers (Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, and Mozilla Firefox) through fake downloads. At time of research, these potentially unwanted applications were distributed using a fake download called 'Secure loan viewer'. Internet users are tricked into installing these potentially unwanted applications by a malicious website purporting to represent a financial institution (Trust Financial Group) and offering the viewing of loan decisions. Internet users should be aware that, rather than downloading 'Secure loan viewer' software, they will actually install adware called 'Search Smarter' and 'Search Assistor'.

Search Smarter and Search Assistor ads

These rogue browser plugins track users' Internet browsing habits (recording URLs visited, pages viewed, search queries entered, etc.) and cause unwanted ads within search engines (Google, Bing and Yahoo!), pop-up ads, and in-text advertisements. Clicking ads generated by these bogus browser extensions can lead to installation of additional adware or even malware. Internet browsing tracking can lead to privacy issues and identity theft. Cyber criminals responsible for proliferating Search Smarter and Search Assistor adware, exploit Internet users' trust in financial institutions.

These bogus browser plugins are similar to other adware, which installs on users' Internet browsers without their consent, causing unwanted ads. Examples include SurfEnhanceWonderBrowseOutoBox, amongst many others. Commonly, these potentially unwanted applications are distributed using deceptive free software 'download clients', however, the case of Search Smarter and Search Assistor demonstrates that developers of rogue programs also use fake downloads to proliferate their deceptive browser extensions. To avoid installation of these rogue plugins, Internet users should be attentive when downloading free software. If your download is managed by a download client, decline installation of any advertised browser extensions. In the case of fake downloads such as 'Secure loan viewer', users should inspect each installation step and cancel the process if they notice anything suspicious. At time of research, the installer used to distribute these browser plugins encourages users to install 'Search Smarter and Search Assistor' (screenshot above) - at this stage users are able to cancel the installation. If you observe ads generated by these bogus browser plugins, use the removal guide provided to eliminate this adware from your Internet browser/s.

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Quick menu:

Search Smarter and Search Assistor removal:

Windows 7 users:

Accessing Programs and Features (uninstall) in Windows 7

Click Start (Windows Logo at the bottom left corner of your desktop), choose Control Panel. Locate Programs and click Uninstall a program.

Windows XP users:

Accessing Add or Remove Programs in Windows XP

Click Start, choose Settings and click Control Panel. Locate and click Add or Remove Programs.

Windows 10 and Windows 8 users:

Accessing Programs and Features (uninstall) in Windows 8

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.

Mac OSX users:

Uninstall app in OSX (Mac)

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.

Search Smarter and Search Assistor uninstall

In the uninstall programs window, look for "Search Smarter" and "Search Assistor", select these entries and click "Uninstall" or "Remove".

At time of research, the installer used to proliferate these rogue browser plugins was updated. Developers of this scam added one more application called 'Secure documents viewer'. When in the 'uninstall programs' window, users should also eliminate this plugin.

After uninstalling Search Smarter and Search Assistor, scan your computer for any remaining unwanted components or possible malware infections. Recommended malware removal software.

Remove Search Smarter and Search Assistor from Internet browsers:

Video showing how to remove potentially unwanted browser add-ons:

Internet Explorer logoRemove malicious add-ons from Internet Explorer:

Search Smarter and Search Assistor removal from Internet Explorer step 1

Click on the "gear" icon Internet Explorer options icon (at the top right corner of Internet Explorer) select "Manage Add-ons". Look for "Search Assistor" and "Search Smarter", select these entries and remove them.

If present, also remove "Secure documents viewer".

Search Smarter and Search Assistor removal from Internet Explorer step 2

Optional method:

If you continue to have problems with removal of the search smarter virus, 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.

Resetting Internet Explorer settings to default on Windows XP

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.

Resetting Internet Explorer settings to default on Windows 7

Windows 8 users: Open Internet Explorer and click the gear icon. Select Internet Options.

Reseting Internet Explorer settings to default in Windows 8 - accessing

In the opened window, select the Advanced tab.

Resetting Internet Explorer settings to default on Windows 8 - Internet options advanced tab

Click the Reset button.

Resetting Internet Explorer settings to default on Windows 8 - click the Reset button in the Internet options advanced tab

Confirm that you wish to reset Internet Explorer settings to default by clicking the Reset button.

Resetting Internet Explorer settings to default on Windows 8 - confirm settings reset to default by clicking the reset button

Google Chrome logoRemove malicious extensions from Google Chrome:

Search Smarter and Search Assistor removal from Google Chrome step 1

Click the Chrome menu icon Google Chrome options icon (at the top right corner of Google Chrome) select "Tools" and click on "Extensions". Locate: "Search Assistor" and "Search Smarter", select these entries and click the trash can icon. If present, also remove "Secure documents viewer".

Search Smarter and Search Assistor removal from Google Chrome step 2

Optional method:

If you continue to have problems with removal of the search smarter virus, reset your Google Chrome browser settings. Click the Chrome menu icon Google 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.

Google Chrome settings reset step 1

After scrolling to the bottom of the screen, click the Reset (Restore settings to their original defaults) button.

Google Chrome settings reset step 2

In the opened window, confirm that you wish to reset Google Chrome settings to default by clicking the Reset button.

Google Chrome settings reset step 3

Mozilla Firefox logoRemove malicious plugins from Mozilla Firefox:

Search Smarter and Search Assistor removal from Mozilla Firefox step 1

Click on the Firefox menu firefox menu icon (at the top right corner of the main window) select "Add-ons". Click on "Extensions" and remove "Search Smarter" and "Search Assistor". If present, also remove "Secure documents viewer".

Search Smarter and Search Assistor removal from Mozilla Firefox step 2

Optional method:

Computer users who have problems with search smarter virus removal can reset their Mozilla Firefox settings.

Open Mozilla Firefox, at the top right corner of the main window, click the Firefox menu, firefox menu icon in the opened menu, click Help.

Accessing settings (Reset Firefox to default settings step 1)

Select Troubleshooting Information.

Accessing Troubleshooting Information (Reset Firefox to default settings step 2)

In the opened window, click the Refresh Firefox button.

Clicking on Refresh Firefox button (Reset Firefox to default settings step 3)

In the opened window, confirm that you wish to reset Mozilla Firefox settings to default by clicking the Refresh Firefox button.

Confirm your want to reset Firefox settings to default (Reset Firefox to default settings step 4)

safari browser logoRemove malicious extensions from Safari:

removing adware from safari step 1 - accessing preferences

Make sure your Safari browser is active, click Safari menu, and select Preferences....

removing adware from safari step 2 - removing extensions

In the opened window click Extensions, locate any recently installed suspicious extension, select it and click Uninstall.

Optional method:

Make sure your Safari browser is active and click on Safari menu. From the drop down menu select Clear History and Website Data...

resetting safari step 1

In the opened window select all history and click the Clear History button.

resetting safari step 2

Microsoft Edge (Chromium) logoRemove malicious extensions from Microsoft Edge:

Removing adware from Microsoft Edge step 1

Click the Edge menu icon Microsoft Edge (chromium) menu icon (at the upper-right corner of Microsoft Edge), select "Extensions". Locate all recently-installed suspicious browser add-ons and click "Remove" below their names.

Removing adware from Microsoft Edge step 2

Optional method:

If you continue to have problems with removal of the search smarter virus, reset your Microsoft Edge browser settings. Click the Edge menu icon Microsoft Edge (chromium) menu icon (at the top right corner of Microsoft Edge) and select Settings.

Microsoft Edge (Chromium) reset step 1

In the opened settings menu select Reset settings.

Microsoft Edge (Chromium) reset step 2

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.

Microsoft Edge (Chromium) reset step 3

  • If this did not help, follow these alternative instructions explaining how to reset the Microsoft Edge browser.

Summary:

declining installation of adware while downloading free software sampleCommonly, adware or potentially unwanted applications infiltrate Internet browsers through free software downloads. Note that the safest source for downloading free software is via developers' websites only. To avoid installation of adware, be very attentive when downloading and installing free software. When installing previously-downloaded free programs, choose the custom or advanced installation options – this step will reveal any potentially unwanted applications listed for installation together with your chosen free program.

Removal assistance:
If you are experiencing problems while trying to remove search smarter virus from your computer, please ask for assistance in our malware support forum.

Post a comment:
If you have additional information on search smarter virus or it's removal please share your knowledge in the comments section below.

partialgemini

this was so bad, ty guys

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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Software uninstall instructions
Malware activity

Global malware activity level today:

Medium threat activity

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

QR Code
Search Smarter Virus 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 Search Smarter Virus on your mobile device.
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