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

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
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 DNS Unlocker


Malware Removal Tool

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

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:


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.


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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