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Also Known As: Clever Search adware
Type: Adware
Damage level: Medium

Clever Search (CS adware) removal instructions

What is Clever Search?

Clever Search attempts to give the impression of being a legitimate app by offering some useful features (text search and translation) - "Clever Search is an ad-supported software utility that makes searching and translating information you find online easy." Some users may believe that this application is legitimate and useful, however, Clever Search is adware and a potentially unwanted program (PUP). These negative associations are made for two main reasons. Firstly, Clever Search usually infiltrates systems without users' permission. Secondly, this application displays various types of intrusive online advertisements and collects Internet browsing-related information.

Clever Search adware

After infiltration on Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, and Mozilla Firefox, Clever Search employs a virtual layer to display intrusive online advertisements such as transitional, coupons, comparison, and in-text ads. In some instances, ads are opened in new browser tabs/windows. The virtual layer allows placement of graphical content on any website, however, note that the displayed content does not originate from the visited webpage. The displayed ads diminish the Internet browsing experience by concealing underlying content and redirecting users to various webpages that might be infectious. Therefore, clicking these advertisements may cause further computer infections. Furthermore, Clever Search monitors users' Internet browsing activity and collects various information that is, according to the Privacy Policy of Clever Search, not personally identifiable. This claim is false, since collected data includes browser type, browsing details (websites visited, pages viewed, search queries, cookies, etc.), computer type, Internet Protocol (IP) addresses, geographic locations, language settings, time zone, etc. There is no doubt that this information will contain personally identifiable details (such as PayPal or bank account logins/passwords). Gathered information is later shared with third parties who can misuse it to generate revenue, thereby causing serious privacy issues or even identity theft. If you are worried about your privacy and Internet browsing safety, eliminate Clever Search immediately.

In addition to the uses described above, we also share, transfer, or license your user and use information to third parties to store and analyze the data, provide search results and associated advertising, provide hosting services and customer support services.

Clever Search is identical to other variants (including WordSharkQuick Surf, and WordAnchor) that display intrusive online ads and collect private information. As with most regular adware, Clever Search is also similar to other applications of the same type. There are hundreds of examples such as Provider, SuperAdRemove, OptiSpace, etc. These applications provide no significant value for the user. Clever Search, and other adware-type applications, are developed to generate revenue by displaying advertisements and collecting personally identifiable information.

How did Clever Search install on my computer?

Although Clever Search has an official website, it is usually distributed using a deceptive software marketing method called 'bundling' - stealth installation of third party apps together with regular software. Research shows that most users do not pay enough attention when downloading/installing software, and by skipping the 'Custom' or 'Advanced' settings (where additional applications are usually hidden), they inadvertently install bogus applications.

How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications?

When downloading from a freeware download website, select the direct download link (if provided). Most freeware download websites enforce use of a 'download manager' (to monetize download websites' traffic and free services). In this case, closely analyze each step of the free software download procedure and decline all offers to install third party software. Finally, downloaded applications should be installed using the 'Custom' or 'Advanced' options - this will reveal any bundled apps listed for installation and allow you to cancel them.

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Quick menu:

Clever Search adware removal:

Windows 11 users:

Accessing Apps and Features in Windows 11

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:

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.

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.

macOS (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.

Clever Search adware uninstall via Control Panel

In the uninstall programs window, look for "Clever Search", select this entry and click "Uninstall" or "Remove".

After uninstalling the potentially unwanted program that causes Clever Search ads, scan your computer for any remaining unwanted components or possible malware infections. To scan your computer, use recommended malware removal software.

Remove CS ads from Internet browsers:

At time of research, Clever Search did not install its browser plug-ins on Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, or Mozilla Firefox, however, it was bundled with other adware. Therefore, you are advised to remove all potentially unwanted browser add-ons from your Internet browsers.

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

Internet Explorer logoRemove malicious add-ons from Internet Explorer:

Removing Clever Search ads from Internet Explorer step 1

Click the "gear" icon Internet Explorer options icon (at the top right corner of Internet Explorer), select "Manage Add-ons". Look for any recently-installed suspicious browser extensions, select these entries and click "Remove".

Removing Clever Search ads from Internet Explorer step 2

Optional method:

If you continue to have problems with removal of the clever search adware, 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:

Removing Clever Search  ads 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 "Extensions". Locate all recently-installed suspicious browser add-ons, select these entries and click the trash can icon.

Removing Clever Search ads from Google Chrome step 2

Optional method:

If you continue to have problems with removal of the clever search adware, 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 plug-ins from Mozilla Firefox:

Removing Clever Search ads from Mozilla Firefox step 1

Click the Firefox menu firefox menu icon (at the top right corner of the main window), select "Add-ons". Click "Extensions", in the opened window, remove all recently-installed suspicious browser plug-ins.

Removing Clever Search ads from Mozilla Firefox step 2

Optional method:

Computer users who have problems with clever search adware 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 clever search adware, 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.

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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.

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Clever Search adware QR code
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