THREAT REMOVAL

DNS Unlocker Ads “Virus” – How to Remove It (Update 2018)

This article has been created in order to help explain what is the DNS Unlocker adware and how to remove DNS Unlocker pop-ups, banners and redirects from your computer.

It seems as the nasty software, called DNS Unlocker which came out back during the autumn of 2014 has come back to haunt us. The program claims to enable the users who installed it to access the Netflix movie-watching service online so that they can watch their favorite TV shows and other series online from areas from which they cannot typically access the service. Once installed, the DNS Unlocker “virus” is granted as an administrator to modify the DNS (domain name service) settings on your computer under the pretext that it will enable you to access geo-restricted websites, whereas in reality, the software connects to remote hosts and begins advertising an array of third-party websites. Since those advertisements may slow down your computer and lead you to potentially unsafe websites, it is strongly recommended to remove this nasty ad-supported software immediately from your PC, information for which you can find if you read the following article.

Threat Summary

NameDNS Unlocker
TypeAdware/PUP
Short DescriptionPretends to be a legitimate program, providing access to restricted sites, but advertises unwanted websites instead..
SymptomsYou may be redirected to web pages with online surveys or other third-party sites, which may slow down your PC or infect it with malware.
Distribution MethodBundled downloads. Web pages which may advertise it.
Detection Tool See If Your System Has Been Affected by malware

Download

Malware Removal Tool

User ExperienceJoin Our Forum to Discuss DNS Unlocker.

DNS Unlocker – How Did I Get It

The main method which DNS Unlocker uses is to “hitchhike” the software setups of third-party programs that are offered for free. These programs may be older versions of often used apps, like media players, screen recorders, converters, drivers and many other types of free programs you download for your daily needs. Some software-providing sites aim to spread those programs via installers which they modify in order to advertise other third-party programs “as free extras”. This is not against the law and it is called bundling. However, these sites also bundled programs that may be unwanted on your computer because they are generally unsafe and may lead to more problems, just like the case of DNS Unlocker.

And it is not easy to find DNS Unlocker’s installation prompt either. The program’s install step may often reside in the “Custom” or “Advanced” installation mode of the setup pretending to be one of those free extras, similar to what the image below shows:

Since DNS Unlocker can be found very difficult on your computer, in order to protect yourself in the future against bundled programs, like itself it is often recommended to check the software license agreements for shady prompts to install third-party software, using free programs, like EULAlyzer, or carefully go through the installation steps.

DNS Unlocker – Complete Analysis

Once DNS Unlocker has been added to your computer, the adware may act as a legitimate program, thus preventing conventional antivirus programs from blocking the files it drops on your PC. The files which are initially dropped are located in the %Program Files% directory, in a folder, called DNS Unlocker. Their names are often changed, but the main support files are named as the following:

Once it has been recognized by your computer as a legitimate program, DNS Unlocker begins to modify your PC, by creating different registry entries, reported by Symantec(http://symantec.com/) to be the following:

→ HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\ {alpha-numerical-value-here}
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\ControlSet001\Services\Dhcp\Parameters\”{alpha-numerical-value-here}” = {Hexidecimal Value}

After it has dropped it’s files on your computer, the program alters your DNS address in the network configuration settings of your active network adapter with it’s own IP addresses, reported by researchers at Bleeping Computer to be the following:

→ 82.163.143.157
82.163.142.159
82.163.142.185
82.163.143.185

Once DNS Unlocker has done this, it becomes very difficult for users to remove the program, because even after you make sure to get rid of the program, your DNS settings may still remain changed and the virus uses them to connect to those remote hosts and display the following types of ads directly on your desktop:

  • Pop-ups.
  • Browser Redirections.
  • Ad-supported search results.
  • Banners on the websites you visit.

The advertisements often appear with the brand “Ad by DNS Unlocker” or “Ads by DNS Unlocker” or simply “DNS Unlocker Ad”. They often advertise retailers with low reputation:

These advertisements often tend to lead victims to third-party websites, the main risk associated with which may not be that they may offer higher prices than your average online retailer. Some of those sites tend to be completely fake and may make you conduct a payment or simply may use cookies and other tracking technologies to gather financial information from your computer system. Such are often:

  • Cookies.
  • Pixels.
  • Tags.
  • Geo-Locators.
  • LSOs.

These can be used to collect different type of information from your computer, like the following:

  • Your web browsing history.
  • Online clicks.
  • What you have searched for online.

This data may be used by DNS Unlocker’s creators for different purposes and as their website claims, it can be shared with third-parties:

Since the websites to which the advertisements shown by DNS Unlocker can lead you to may be unsafe, it is strongly recommended to remove this indirect threat from your computer immediately.

How Do I Remove the DNS Unlocker Adware Fully

A conventional deletion of this program may not work for you and may not be able to delete DNS Unlocker or change your DNS setttings. This is why, what we urge you is to take more advanced steps towards a permanent solution of this problem. Such is to follow the manual or the automatic removal instructions underneath this article. If you lack the experience in manually removing unwanted programs and the objects related to them, like DNS Unlocker, we recommend you to automatically scan for and delete all of the objects changed by this program, preferably by using an advanced anti-malware software. Such tool has the capability to fully eradicate DNS Unocker from your PC and make sure that your computer stays safe in the future as well.

In addition to the instructions underneath you will need to revert your DNS settings after removing DNS Unlocker. This can happen if you follow the after mentioned steps:

Step 1: Open Control Panel.
Step 2: Go to Network and Internet.
Step 3: Under Network Sharing, click on “View Network Status and Tasks”.
Step 4: Click on the “Change Adapter Settings” in the top left of your screen.
Step 5: Right-click on your Wi-Fi network and then click Properties.
Step 6: Go to Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4) or if you have IPV6 to the version 6 one. Mark it with your mouse and then click on Properties underneath it.
Step 7: On DNS Address, click on “Obtain DNS server address automatically”.

Step 8: Follow the removal instructions below or the instructions in this video to fully delete DNS Unlocker and make sure it doesn’t come back.

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Ventsislav Krastev

Ventsislav has been covering the latest malware, software and newest tech developments at SensorsTechForum for 3 years now. He started out as a network administrator. Having graduated Marketing as well, Ventsislav also has passion for discovery of new shifts and innovations in cybersecurity that become game changers. After studying Value Chain Management and then Network Administration, he found his passion within cybersecrurity and is a strong believer in basic education of every user towards online safety.

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Windows Mac OS X Google Chrome Mozilla Firefox Microsoft Edge Safari Internet Explorer

How to Remove DNS Unlocker from Windows.


Step 1: Boot Your PC In Safe Mode to isolate and remove DNS Unlocker

OFFER

Manual Removal Usually Takes Time and You Risk Damaging Your Files If Not Careful!
We Recommend To Scan Your PC with SpyHunter

Keep in mind, that SpyHunter’s scanner is only for malware detection. If SpyHunter detects malware on your PC, you will need to purchase SpyHunter's malware removal tool to remove the malware threats. Read our SpyHunter 5 review. Click on the corresponding links to check SpyHunter's EULA, Privacy Policy and Threat Assessment Criteria

1. Hold Windows key() + R


2. The "Run" Window will appear. In it, type "msconfig" and click OK.


3. Go to the "Boot" tab. There select "Safe Boot" and then click "Apply" and "OK".
Tip: Make sure to reverse those changes by unticking Safe Boot after that, because your system will always boot in Safe Boot from now on.


4. When prompted, click on "Restart" to go into Safe Mode.


5. You can recognise Safe Mode by the words written on the corners of your screen.


Step 2: Uninstall DNS Unlocker and related software from Windows

Here is a method in few easy steps that should be able to uninstall most programs. No matter if you are using Windows 10, 8, 7, Vista or XP, those steps will get the job done. Dragging the program or its folder to the recycle bin can be a very bad decision. If you do that, bits and pieces of the program are left behind, and that can lead to unstable work of your PC, errors with the file type associations and other unpleasant activities. The proper way to get a program off your computer is to Uninstall it. To do that:


1. Hold the Windows Logo Button and "R" on your keyboard. A Pop-up window will appear.


2. In the field type in "appwiz.cpl" and press ENTER.


3. This will open a window with all the programs installed on the PC. Select the program that you want to remove, and press "Uninstall"
Follow the instructions above and you will successfully uninstall most programs.


Step 3: Clean any registries, created by DNS Unlocker on your computer.

The usually targeted registries of Windows machines are the following:

  • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run
  • HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run
  • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\RunOnce
  • HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\RunOnce

You can access them by opening the Windows registry editor and deleting any values, created by DNS Unlocker there. This can happen by following the steps underneath:

1. Open the Run Window again, type "regedit" and click OK.


2. When you open it, you can freely navigate to the Run and RunOnce keys, whose locations are shown above.


3. You can remove the value of the virus by right-clicking on it and removing it.
Tip: To find a virus-created value, you can right-click on it and click "Modify" to see which file it is set to run. If this is the virus file location, remove the value.

IMPORTANT!
Before starting "Step 4", please boot back into Normal mode, in case you are currently in Safe Mode.
This will enable you to install and use SpyHunter 5 successfully.

Step 4: Scan for DNS Unlocker with SpyHunter Anti-Malware Tool

1. Click on the "Download" button to proceed to SpyHunter's download page.


It is recommended to run a scan before purchasing the full version of the software to make sure that the current version of the malware can be detected by SpyHunter. Click on the corresponding links to check SpyHunter's EULA, Privacy Policy and Threat Assessment Criteria.


2. After you have installed SpyHunter, wait for it to update automatically.

SpyHunter5-update-2018


3. After the update process has finished, click on the 'Malware/PC Scan' tab. A new window will appear. Click on 'Start Scan'.

SpyHunter5-Free-Scan-2018


4. After SpyHunter has finished scanning your PC for any files of the associated threat and found them, you can try to get them removed automatically and permanently by clicking on the 'Next' button.

SpyHunter-5-Free-Scan-Next-2018

If any threats have been removed, it is highly recommended to restart your PC.


Windows Mac OS X Google Chrome Mozilla Firefox Microsoft Edge Safari Internet Explorer

Get rid of DNS Unlocker from Mac OS X.


Step 1: Uninstall DNS Unlocker and remove related files and objects

OFFER
Manual Removal Usually Takes Time and You Risk Damaging Your Files If Not Careful!
We Recommend To Scan Your Mac with SpyHunter for Mac
Keep in mind, that SpyHunter for Mac needs to purchased to remove the malware threats. Click on the corresponding links to check SpyHunter’s EULA and Privacy Policy


1. Hit the ⇧+⌘+U keys to open Utilities. Another way is to click on “Go” and then click “Utilities”, like the image below shows:


2. Find Activity Monitor and double-click it:


3. In the Activity Monitor look for any suspicious processes, belonging or related to DNS Unlocker:

Tip: To quit a process completely, choose the “Force Quit” option.


4. Click on the "Go" button again, but this time select Applications. Another way is with the ⇧+⌘+A buttons.


5. In the Applications menu, look for any suspicious app or an app with a name, similar or identical to DNS Unlocker. If you find it, right-click on the app and select “Move to Trash”.


6: Select Accounts, after which click on the Login Items preference. Your Mac will then show you a list of items that start automatically when you log in. Look for any suspicious apps identical or similar to DNS Unlocker. Check the app you want to stop from running automatically and then select on the Minus (“-“) icon to hide it.


7: Remove any left-over files that might be related to this threat manually by following the sub-steps below:

  • Go to Finder.
  • In the search bar type the name of the app that you want to remove.
  • Above the search bar change the two drop down menus to “System Files” and “Are Included” so that you can see all of the files associated with the application you want to remove. Bear in mind that some of the files may not be related to the app so be very careful which files you delete.
  • If all of the files are related, hold the ⌘+A buttons to select them and then drive them to “Trash”.

In case you cannot remove DNS Unlocker via Step 1 above:

In case you cannot find the virus files and objects in your Applications or other places we have shown above, you can manually look for them in the Libraries of your Mac. But before doing this, please read the disclaimer below:

Disclaimer! If you are about to tamper with Library files on Mac, be sure to know the name of the virus file, because if you delete the wrong file, it may cause irreversible damage to your MacOS. Continue on your own responsibility!

1: Click on "Go" and Then "Go to Folder" as shown underneath:

2: Type in "/Library/LauchAgents/" and click Ok:

3: Delete all of the virus files that have similar or the same name as DNS Unlocker. If you believe there is no such file, do not delete anything.

You can repeat the same procedure with the following other Library directories:

→ ~/Library/LaunchAgents
/Library/LaunchDaemons

Tip: ~ is there on purpose, because it leads to more LaunchAgents.


Step 2: Scan for and remove malware from your Mac

When you are facing problems on your Mac as a result of unwanted scripts, programs and malware, the recommended way of eliminating the threat is by using an anti-malware program. Combo Cleaner offers advanced security features along with other modules that will improve your Mac’s security and protect it in the future.



Windows Mac OS X Google Chrome Mozilla Firefox Microsoft Edge Safari Internet Explorer


Remove DNS Unlocker from Google Chrome.


Step 1: Start Google Chrome and open the drop menu


Step 2: Move the cursor over "Tools" and then from the extended menu choose "Extensions"


Step 3: From the opened "Extensions" menu locate the unwanted extension and click on its "Remove" button.


Step 4: After the extension is removed, restart Google Chrome by closing it from the red "X" button at the top right corner and start it again.


Windows Mac OS X Google Chrome Mozilla Firefox Microsoft Edge Safari Internet Explorer


Erase DNS Unlocker from Mozilla Firefox.

Step 1: Start Mozilla Firefox. Open the menu window


Step 2: Select the "Add-ons" icon from the menu.


Step 3: Select the unwanted extension and click "Remove"


Step 4: After the extension is removed, restart Mozilla Firefox by closing it from the red "X" button at the top right corner and start it again.



Windows Mac OS X Google Chrome Mozilla Firefox Microsoft Edge Safari Internet Explorer


Uninstall DNS Unlocker from Microsoft Edge.


Step 1: Start Edge browser.


Step 2: Open the drop menu by clicking on the icon at the top right corner.


Step 3: From the drop menu select "Extensions".


Step 4: Choose the suspected malicious extension you want to remove and then click on the gear icon.


Step 5: Remove the malicious extension by scrolling down and then clicking on Uninstall.



Windows Mac OS X Google Chrome Mozilla Firefox Microsoft Edge Safari Internet Explorer


Remove DNS Unlocker from Safari.


Step 1: Start the Safari app.


Step 2: After hovering your mouse cursor to the top of the screen, click on the Safari text to open its drop down menu.


Step 3: From the menu, click on "Preferences".

stf-safari preferences


Step 4: After that, select the 'Extensions' Tab.

stf-safari-extensions


Step 5: Click once on the extension you want to remove.


Step 6: Click 'Uninstall'.

stf-safari uninstall

A pop-up window will appear asking for confirmation to uninstall the extension. Select 'Uninstall' again, and the DNS Unlocker will be removed.


How to Reset Safari
IMPORTANT: Before resetting Safari make sure you back up all your saved passwords within the browser in case you forget them.

Start Safari and then click on the gear leaver icon.

Click the Reset Safari button and you will reset the browser.


Windows Mac OS X Google Chrome Mozilla Firefox Microsoft Edge Safari Internet Explorer


Eliminate DNS Unlocker from Internet Explorer.


Step 1: Start Internet Explorer.


Step 2: Click on the gear icon labeled 'Tools' to open the drop menu and select 'Manage Add-ons'


Step 3: In the 'Manage Add-ons' window.


Step 4: Select the extension you want to remove and then click 'Disable'. A pop-up window will appear to inform you that you are about to disable the selected extension, and some more add-ons might be disabled as well. Leave all the boxes checked, and click 'Disable'.


Step 5: After the unwanted extension has been removed, restart Internet Explorer by closing it from the red 'X' button located at the top right corner and start it again.


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