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Smart AD Adware

Also Known As: Smart AD ads

What is Smart AD?

Smart AD advertisements are displayed by two different adware applications - MovieDea and Games Desktop. Both claim to enhance the Internet browsing experience in an attempt to give the impression of legitimate and useful software. In fact, they are categorized as potentially unwanted programs (PUPs).

MovieDea and Games Desktop infiltrate systems during installation of regular apps, display intrusive online ads, and track Internet browsing activity.

Smart AD adwareSmart AD ads are displayed on the desktop and cannot be closed. Other ads are displayed by MovieDea and Games Desktop including those using a virtual layer, which allows placement of various graphical content on any visited website.

These ads conceal underlying content and might also redirect to bogus sites containing dubious content, thereby causing further computer infections. In addition, MovieDea and Games Desktop collect various information that may contain personally identifiable details.

This data is stored on remote servers and later shared with third parties who can misuse it to generate revenue. Therefore, having an information-tracking application such as this installed on your system can lead to serious privacy issues or even identity theft. For these reasons, you are strongly advised to uninstall MovieDea and/or Games Desktop applications.

False warning message displayed by Smart AD adware:

Message from webpage

 

Attention:

Your Browser seems to have encountered a problem because your IP address may have a severe adware/malware attack.

To block access to your personal and financial information from foreign IP's, Windows has blocked access to the Internet.

It is highly recommended that you call network diagnostic experts and get the issue fixed.

Please call 1-855-501-1110 for free diagnosis.

(24x7 Toll Free Support Line)

MovieDea and Games Desktop have similar behavior to other adware-type applications. In fact, all adware-type apps are almost identical. They offer a wide range of 'useful' features simply to trick users to install.

After system infiltration, adware-type applications such as PriceLessrinkela, SysPlayer, and hundreds of others, display intrusive online ads and collect personally identifiable information. Rather than providing any real value for the user, these apps simply generate revenue for the developers.

How did rogue applications install on my computer?

The developers of the aforementioned adware employ a deceptive software marketing method called 'bundling' - stealth installation of third party apps with regular software. Since many users do not pay enough attention when downloading and installing software, bundling becomes extremely effective.

Some users are unaware that PUPs are concealed within the 'Custom' or 'Advanced' installation settings. They often skip this section, thereby inadvertently installing rogue apps.

How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications?

The key to computer safety is caution. The download and installation procedures should not be rushed. Closely follow each step of the free software download process and decline all offers to download additional programs. In addition, applications should be installed using the 'Custom' or 'Advanced' options - this will reveal any bundled software listed for installation and allow you to opt-out.

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Quick menu:

Smart AD 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.

Smart AD adware uninstall via Control Panel

In the uninstall programs window, look for "MovieDea 1.0", "GamesDesktop" and any other recently-installed suspicious applications select such entries and click "Uninstall" or "Remove".

After uninstalling the potentially unwanted program(s) that cause Smart AD ads, scan your computer for any remaining unwanted components or possible malware infections. To scan your computer, use recommended malware removal software.

Remove Smart ads from Internet browsers:

At time of research, rogue applications did not install their browser plug-ins on Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, or Mozilla Firefox, however, they were 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 Smart AD 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 Smart AD ads from Internet Explorer step 2

Optional method:

If you continue to have problems with removal of the smart ad ads, 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 Smart AD  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 Smart AD ads from Google Chrome step 2

Optional method:

If you continue to have problems with removal of the smart ad ads, 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 Smart AD 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 Smart AD ads from Mozilla Firefox step 2

Optional method:

Computer users who have problems with smart ad ads 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 smart ad ads, 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.

Post a comment:
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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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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
Smart AD ads QR code
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