THREAT REMOVAL

DNS Unlocker PUP (Adware) – How to Remove It and Stop Ads

This article has been made with the idea in mind to explain to you what is the unwanted program DNS Unlocker and how to remove it from your computer and stop “Ads by DNS Unlocker” from appearing.

It has come to our attention that a very annoying unwnated software, known as DNS Unlocker, which we detected way back in 2015 has reportedly came back in 2018 with a new setup and a new interface, still promising the same deceitful claims that it will enable users to access geo-restricted websites, like Netflix and others of this type by modifying the DNS settings on the victim computers. The DNS Unlocker virus is the type of software which does modify the network settings on your computer, but it also does more than that. The suspicious program displays different types of advertisements, that aim to lead victimized computers to third-party websites that are advertised by this PUP. Since some of these websites may lead you to scamming or malicious URLs, we advise that you read this article as it may help you understand more about DNS Unlocker and how you can remove it from your computer.

Threat Summary

NameDNS Unlocker
TypeAdware/PUA
Short DescriptionThe program pretends to provide you access to geo-restricted sites, but also aims to fill your computer with different types of “Ads by DNS Unlocker”.
SymptomsDNS Unlocker may display all types of ads that lead to websites which cannot be guaranteed to be safe. The program also slows down the internet connection and the performance of the computer It’s installed on.
Distribution MethodVia bundled installers or it’s website, claiming the program is legitimate and working.
Detection Tool See If Your System Has Been Affected by malware

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User ExperienceJoin Our Forum to Discuss DNS Unlocker.

DNS Unlocker – How It Enters Computers

The DNS Unlocker program does not use conventional ways of being installed on the computers of users. The program often “hitchhikes” the setup wizards of other programs that are often downloaded for free online. These programs may be casual system optimizer, torrent downloading software, media players and other helper software which is provided for free download by third-party websites.

Since those programs may have their installers modified, they may contain DNS Unlocker added to them in one of their installation steps, looking like the following:

But this is not the only way via which DNS Unlocker enters users’ computers. The DNS Unlocker program may also be seen having it’s own installer if it’s downloaded from it’s own website or websites that advertise it as a helpful tool. The installer looks like the following:

DNS Unlocker – What Does It Do

DNS Unlocker is advertised as a helpful software as the description on it’s software setup wizard claims:

“DNS Unlocker
Unlock Censored Website and Protect Your Privacy

Overview
Unlock blocked websites and digital media for Free! Our DNS service is faster than VPN, simpler to setup…

Many countries have decided to arbitrarily block web sites access by blacklisting domains on local DNS servers. Some for political reason by blocking access to Twitter or Facebook, other to please the film industry by blocking torrent and video web sites such as PirateBay or PopCornTimes.

DNS Unlocker lets you unlock those domains by simply connecting to our custom DNS instead of your local one.

We don’t claim to unlock every blocked web sites, but in many cases the censorship is done using domain name redirection, and in this case our custom servers may help.

Key features
Transparent filtering.
No speed degradation.
Ease of use.”

And while this program may act as a legitimate helper that improves your web browsing experience, it may do more than that. By connecting you to the server of it’s creators, you may open up your computer to a whole new level of problems for your computer and your information.

Once installed on your PC, DNS Unlocker drops the following files in it’s file system:

  • %ProgramFiIes%\DNS Unlocker\config.ini
  • %ProgramFiIes%\DNS Unlocker\config.ini
  • %ProgramFiIes%\DNS Unlocker\DNSCONTRERAS.cer
  • %ProgramFiIes%\DNS Unlocker\DNSCONTRERAS.exe
  • %ProgramFiIes%\DNS Unlocker\Info.rtf
  • %ProgramFiIes%\DNS Unlocker\License.rtf
  • %ProgramFiIes%\DNS Unlocker\logoBlack.ico
  • %ProgramFiIes%\DNS Unlocker\logoGreen.ico
  • %ProgramFiIes%\ DNS Unlocker\logoYellow.ico
  • %ProgramFiIes%\DNS Unlocker\Microsofl.Win32.TaskScheduler
  • %ProgramFiIes%\DNS Unlocker\settings.ini
  • %ProgramFiIes%\ DNS Unlocker\uninsOOO.dat
  • %ProgramFiIes%\ DNS Unlocker\uninsOOO.exe
  • %ProgramFiIes%\DNS Unlocker\ZonoTools.XPIorerBar.dII
  • %Windir%\Tasks\DNSCONTRERAS.job

Once DNS Unlocker is on and active on your compuer, the program may start to change different settings on your computer as reports by Symantec indicate. For starters, DNS Unlocker may interfere with the following registry sub-keys, adding custom alpha-numerical values:

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

Furthermore, DNS Unlocker also obtains administrator permissions on the computers it’s installed on in order to access Network Configuration. When DNS Unlocker access your network settings, the program has been reported by researchers to change DNS settings with the following IP addresses, similar to what most VPN programs do:

→ 82.163.143.157
82.163.142.159
82.163.142.185
82.163.143.185

But, be aware and do not underestimate DNS Unlocker, because while it may give you access to geo-restritect sites, the program also gives direct access to it’s creators of the following parts of your online activities:

  • Your online clicks.
  • Information that you have saved on your browser (Logins, bookmarked sites, etc.)
  • Your browsing history.
  • Online searchers you make.

This information may be used in order to display different types of advertisements on your computer, like the following types of ads:

  • Redirects to suspicious sites.
  • Pop-ups that may lead you to scamming sites.
  • Banners that may advertise phishing sites.
  • Ad-supported search results that lead you to fake retailer websites.

The advertisements that are shown by DNS Unlocker may often appear with a brand text, similar to “DNS Unlocker Ad”, “Ad by DNS Unlocker” or “Ads by DNS Unlocker”. These advertisements often lead yu to sites with low reputation and they should be avoided.

Some of the DNS Unlocker adds occasionally may appear similar to what the image below shows:

And to top this report out, the data that may be obtained and used by this potentially unwanted program may be used for different purposes and even shared with other parties under suspicious circumstances, like it says on DNS Unlocker’s web site:

Since the whole existence of DNS Unlocker on your computer is believed by most researchers to do more harm than good and it can even indirectly lead to malware infection via the third-parties advertised, it is strongly reccomended that you remove DNS Unlocker from your computer and eliminate it’s ads.

How to Remove DNS Unlocker and Stop Advertisements Coming from It

Conventional manual removal of this program will unfortunately not eliminate the DNS Unlocker ads. This is the main reason why we have created specific steps that you shoud do if you want to fully eliminate DNS Unlocker without reinstalling Windows. The first thing you should start with doing is to remove the files of DNS Unlocker either manually using the instructions underneath this paragraph or automatically by using an advanced anti-malware software, which will scan for and remove all of the DNS Unlocker objects permanently.

In combination with the Manual or Automatic removal instructions below, we recommend that you also revert your DNS settings by following the manual DNS fixing steps underneath:

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.

Avatar

Ventsislav Krastev

Ventsislav is a cybersecurity expert at SensorsTechForum since 2015. He has been researching, covering, helping victims with the latest malware infections plus testing and reviewing software and the newest tech developments. Having graduated Marketing as well, Ventsislav also has passion for learning new shifts and innovations in cybersecurity that become game changers. After studying Value Chain Management, Network Administration and Computer Administration of System Applications, he found his true calling within the cybersecrurity industry and is a strong believer in the education of every user towards online safety and security.

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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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