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What is SmartStreamSearch?

The Malwarebytes research team has determined that SmartStreamSearch is a search hijacker. These so-called "hijackers" manipulate your browser(s), for example to change your startpage or searchscopes, so that the affected browser visits their site or one of their choice.
This particular one is a search hijacker and uses web push notifications. It also adds advertisements to your search results in the form of recommended searches.

notifications.png

recommendations.png

How do I know if my computer is affected by SmartStreamSearch?

You may see this entry in your list of installed Chrome extensions:

main.png

and these warnings during install:

warning1.png

warning2.png

warning3.png

and this changed setting:

warning5.png

How did SmartStreamSearch get on my computer?

Browser hijackers use different methods for distributing themselves. This particular one was downloaded from the webstore:

webstore.png

after a redirect from their website:

website.png

How do I remove SmartStreamSearch?

Our program Malwarebytes can detect and remove this potentially unwanted program.

  • Please download Malwarebytes for Windows to your desktop.
  • Double-click MBSetup.exe and follow the prompts to install the program.
  • When your Malwarebytes for Windows installation completes, the program opens to the Welcome to Malwarebytes screen.
  • Click on the Get started button.
  • Click Scan to start a Threat Scan.
  • When the scan is finished click Quarantine to remove the found threats.
  • Reboot the system if prompted to complete the removal process.

Is there anything else I need to do to get rid of SmartStreamSearch?

  • No, Malwarebytes removes SmartStreamSearch completely.
  • If you have allowed the notifications you can read here how to disable them.

How would the full version of Malwarebytes help protect me?

We hope our application and this guide have helped you eradicate this hijacker.

As you can see below Malwarebytes Browser Guard, and the full version of Malwarebytes would have protected you against the SmartStreamSearch hijacker. It would have blocked their website, giving you a chance to stop it before it became too late.


 

protection1.png

 

Technical details for experts

Possible signs in FRST logs:


 

CHR Notifications: Default -> hxxps://get.smartstreamsearch.com
CHR DefaultSearchURL: Default -> hxxps://feed.smartstreamsearch.com/?q={searchTerms}&publisher=smartstreamsearch&barcodeid=584030000000000
CHR DefaultSearchKeyword: Default -> SmartStreamSearch
CHR DefaultSuggestURL: Default -> hxxps://api.smartstreamsearch.com/suggest/get?q={searchTerms}
CHR Extension: (SmartStreamSearch) - C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Extensions\eplgeocjolljcekonmlblfdoeakklejl [2021-01-13]

Alterations made by the installer:
 

File system details [View: All details] (Selection)
---------------------------------------------------
    Adds the folder C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Extensions\eplgeocjolljcekonmlblfdoeakklejl\1.1.0_0
       Adds the file manifest.json"="1/13/2021 8:46 AM, 2144 bytes, A
    Adds the folder C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Extensions\eplgeocjolljcekonmlblfdoeakklejl\1.1.0_0\_metadata
       Adds the file computed_hashes.json"="1/13/2021 8:46 AM, 6255 bytes, A
       Adds the file verified_contents.json"="10/6/2020 9:21 AM, 2049 bytes, A
    Adds the folder C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Extensions\eplgeocjolljcekonmlblfdoeakklejl\1.1.0_0\images
       Adds the file logo-white-text.png"="10/6/2020 9:21 AM, 0 bytes, A
    Adds the folder C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Extensions\eplgeocjolljcekonmlblfdoeakklejl\1.1.0_0\images\icons
       Adds the file 128x128.png"="1/13/2021 8:46 AM, 8578 bytes, A
       Adds the file 16x16.png"="1/13/2021 8:46 AM, 721 bytes, A
       Adds the file 64x64.png"="1/13/2021 8:46 AM, 3487 bytes, A
    Adds the folder C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Extensions\eplgeocjolljcekonmlblfdoeakklejl\1.1.0_0\scripts
       Adds the file background.js"="10/6/2020 9:21 AM, 514538 bytes, A
       Adds the file sitecontent.js"="10/6/2020 9:21 AM, 77 bytes, A
    Adds the folder C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Sync Extension Settings\eplgeocjolljcekonmlblfdoeakklejl
       Adds the file 000003.log"="1/13/2021 8:46 AM, 0 bytes, A
       Adds the file CURRENT"="1/13/2021 8:46 AM, 16 bytes, A
       Adds the file LOCK"="1/13/2021 8:46 AM, 0 bytes, A
       Adds the file LOG"="1/13/2021 8:46 AM, 0 bytes, A
       Adds the file MANIFEST-000001"="1/13/2021 8:46 AM, 41 bytes, A
    Adds the folder C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Web Applications\_crx_eplgeocjolljcekonmlblfdoeakklejl
       Adds the file SmartStreamSearch.ico"="1/13/2021 8:46 AM, 190161 bytes, A
       Adds the file SmartStreamSearch.ico.md5"="1/13/2021 8:46 AM, 16 bytes, A

Registry details [View: All details] (Selection)
------------------------------------------------
    [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Google\Chrome\PreferenceMACs\Default\extensions.settings]
       "eplgeocjolljcekonmlblfdoeakklejl"="REG_SZ", "FD3B952368C0E9F5344AB08A3053B40AC30353CD8CB50E6DB1FA8AAE1A95DE6B"

Malwarebytes log:
 

Malwarebytes
www.malwarebytes.com

-Log Details-
Scan Date: 1/13/21
Scan Time: 9:01 AM
Log File: 7bd34996-5575-11eb-a560-080027235d76.json

-Software Information-
Version: 4.3.0.98
Components Version: 1.0.1130
Update Package Version: 1.0.35667
License: Premium

-System Information-
OS: Windows 7 Service Pack 1
CPU: x64
File System: NTFS
User: {computername}\{username}

-Scan Summary-
Scan Type: Threat Scan
Scan Initiated By: Manual
Result: Completed
Objects Scanned: 232786
Threats Detected: 12
Threats Quarantined: 12
Time Elapsed: 3 min, 15 sec

-Scan Options-
Memory: Enabled
Startup: Enabled
Filesystem: Enabled
Archives: Enabled
Rootkits: Disabled
Heuristics: Enabled
PUP: Detect
PUM: Detect

-Scan Details-
Process: 0
(No malicious items detected)

Module: 0
(No malicious items detected)

Registry Key: 0
(No malicious items detected)

Registry Value: 1
Adware.SearchEngineHijack.Generic, HKCU\SOFTWARE\GOOGLE\CHROME\PREFERENCEMACS\Default\extensions.settings|eplgeocjolljcekonmlblfdoeakklejl, Quarantined, 15230, 799722, , , , , , 

Registry Data: 0
(No malicious items detected)

Data Stream: 0
(No malicious items detected)

Folder: 2
Adware.SearchEngineHijack.Generic, C:\USERS\{username}\APPDATA\LOCAL\GOOGLE\CHROME\USER DATA\Default\Sync Extension Settings\eplgeocjolljcekonmlblfdoeakklejl, Quarantined, 15230, 799722, , , , , , 
Adware.SearchEngineHijack.Generic, C:\USERS\{username}\APPDATA\LOCAL\GOOGLE\CHROME\USER DATA\DEFAULT\EXTENSIONS\EPLGEOCJOLLJCEKONMLBLFDOEAKKLEJL, Quarantined, 15230, 799722, 1.0.35667, , ame, , , 

File: 9
Adware.SearchEngineHijack.Generic, C:\USERS\{username}\APPDATA\LOCAL\GOOGLE\CHROME\USER DATA\Default\Secure Preferences, Replaced, 15230, 799722, , , , , 23F372E0298B8B97539714E42BF4C289, A1C1CF679DB9F3A9DBB23E069EBEFB9E97BB5F7B9FE830D1FB56B562A8C4201D
Adware.SearchEngineHijack.Generic, C:\USERS\{username}\APPDATA\LOCAL\GOOGLE\CHROME\USER DATA\Default\Preferences, Replaced, 15230, 799722, , , , , E1BA116175F1ABD85E41BF2AAC9DFF98, BC06D6117C885E87A7CAC1BB693E63DC3087F22E286F0AFF15EADDDDA12A73A8
Adware.SearchEngineHijack.Generic, C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Sync Extension Settings\eplgeocjolljcekonmlblfdoeakklejl\000003.log, Quarantined, 15230, 799722, , , , , 3E93CA5E46C001B30CE94E0DEC8D12F4, D5586EE1363D37E2B1548BD005D6B2C4125011782EE673EEB6A4E0D7D634955A
Adware.SearchEngineHijack.Generic, C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Sync Extension Settings\eplgeocjolljcekonmlblfdoeakklejl\CURRENT, Quarantined, 15230, 799722, , , , , 46295CAC801E5D4857D09837238A6394, 0F1BAD70C7BD1E0A69562853EC529355462FCD0423263A3D39D6D0D70B780443
Adware.SearchEngineHijack.Generic, C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Sync Extension Settings\eplgeocjolljcekonmlblfdoeakklejl\LOCK, Quarantined, 15230, 799722, , , , , , 
Adware.SearchEngineHijack.Generic, C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Sync Extension Settings\eplgeocjolljcekonmlblfdoeakklejl\LOG, Quarantined, 15230, 799722, , , , , E0C13E062AC0B7878AC483A8FAB929AE, 33463EBC25AF43E3E228D9E9CAB4CB5CC50CCE8196B295C925F0A8337D57059C
Adware.SearchEngineHijack.Generic, C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Sync Extension Settings\eplgeocjolljcekonmlblfdoeakklejl\MANIFEST-000001, Quarantined, 15230, 799722, , , , , 5AF87DFD673BA2115E2FCF5CFDB727AB, F9D31B278E215EB0D0E9CD709EDFA037E828F36214AB7906F612160FEAD4B2B4
Adware.SearchEngineHijack.Generic, C:\USERS\{username}\APPDATA\LOCAL\GOOGLE\CHROME\USER DATA\DEFAULT\EXTENSIONS\EPLGEOCJOLLJCEKONMLBLFDOEAKKLEJL\1.1.0_0\MANIFEST.JSON, Quarantined, 15230, 799722, 1.0.35667, , ame, , 676BC1051BF99FF50824C5B51F661D89, 1A47FD2C4D5C0C42B3B38929A9A6E1E88C7795874049477CB754FADEF203C989
PUP.Optional.PushNotifications, C:\USERS\{username}\APPDATA\LOCAL\GOOGLE\CHROME\USER DATA\Default\Preferences, Replaced, 14951, 846248, 1.0.35667, , ame, , E1BA116175F1ABD85E41BF2AAC9DFF98, BC06D6117C885E87A7CAC1BB693E63DC3087F22E286F0AFF15EADDDDA12A73A8

Physical Sector: 0
(No malicious items detected)

WMI: 0
(No malicious items detected)


(end)

As mentioned before the full version of Malwarebytes could have protected your computer against this threat.
We use different ways of protecting your computer(s):

  • Dynamically Blocks Malware Sites & Servers
  • Malware Execution Prevention

Save yourself the hassle and get protected.

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