How to get rid of “Ads by DNS Unlocker” pop-up virus?

October 9, 2020 |

greater than 8 minutes

Do you keep getting “Ads by DNS Unlocker” pop-ups on your computer screen whenever you’re browsing the web? We understand how frustrating that can be and are here to help. In today’s post, we’ll show you how to delete the DNS Unlocker virus. But first, you need to understand what DNS Unlocker is and how it affects your PC.

What Is DNS Unlocker?

DNS Unlocker is a piece of adware that gets installed on your computer without your knowledge or permission. Adware programs are potentially unwanted programs (PUPs) that get installed on your PC through deceptive means – in most cases, through software bundling. DNS Unlocker is advertised as a tool that allows users to access blocked sites. However, this adware is simply a ploy to deliver targeted ads. It displays intrusive ads regardless of the website visited.

DNS Unlocker usually gets installed on your favorite browsers, including Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, and Mozilla Firefox, as a browser extension or an add-on. The adware then hijacks your browser in order to display irritating pop-up ads, banners, coupons, and link ads on virtually every web page you open. These ads offer to install purportedly useful software to enhance your user experience. The truth is that clicking on these deceptive ads puts your PC at risk of getting infected by dangerous malware.

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Threat Summary

Name: Ads by DNS Unlocker

Threat Type: Potentially unwanted program, adware, pop-up virus

Distribution: Free software bundling, fake Flash Player installers, misleading pop-up ads

Symptoms: Sluggish PC, slow internet speeds

Why You Should Remove the DNS Unlocker Adware

Cybercriminals are always hunting for victims who have valuable information stored on their computers. When they get their hands on that type of data, they may threaten to expose it to the whole world or use the data for illegal activities, such as identity theft. Adware programs like DNS Unlocker collect sensitive data like geolocation, IP addresses, browsing information (such as viewed pages, visited sites, search queries, browser cache, browsing history, and saved passwords, etc.), bank details, keystrokes, and so on.

As you can see, this type of information is confidential and you wouldn’t want it leaked. That’s why adware programs should be removed from your Windows machine as soon as you detect their presence.

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Is DNS Unlocker Unsafe?

Adware programs like DNS Unlocker are designed to fish for valuable data that can be sold to third parties to generate revenue. For that reason, DNS Unlocker is not safe to be allowed to run on any Windows computer. It’s a threat that should be eliminated immediately. Keep reading this post to find out how to remove DNS Unlocker ads.

“How Did DNS Unlocker Ads Get into My PC?”

PUPs like DNS Unlocker are distributed through various means. In most cases, users are not careful enough when downloading and installing software and cybercriminals take advantage of this oversight to hide additional programs in the main software.

Here are some of the common ways that adware programs could infect your PC:

  • Software bundling – the majority of free software offered by third-party download sites are bundled with additional programs that supposedly offer more value to your browsing experience. If you check the installation process closely, especially if you select “Custom” or “Advanced”, you’ll notice that there are other programs offered along with the main software. Most of these programs add no real value to your PC and are highly likely to be some type of malware.
  • Pop-up ads – the ads that appear on your screen may offer great “discounts” on certain products or services to trick you into clicking on them. Once you do, you open a backdoor through which the adware can infiltrate your system and modify your browser settings to display other ads or forcefully redirect you to other bogus websites.
  • Installing software from untrustworthy websites – some sites encourage users to download programs called “Installers”, “Download managers”, or “Download tools”, claiming that these programs enhance the download process. However, they are adware, and before you know it, your browser is filled with all sorts of pop-up ads that make the whole browsing experience very frustrating.
  • Transferring files using an infected USB flash drive.

Symptoms of the DNS Unlocker Virus Infection

We mentioned earlier that PUPs like DNS Unlocker sneak into your PC without you even realizing it. However, when you notice one of the symptoms below, chances are high that you’ve been infected:

  • Your Internet speeds are slow, yet the speed tests are normal.
  • Webpages, apps and the Windows system load slowly.
  • You notice high CPU usage caused by suspicious processes running in the background.
  • Strange browser extensions appear on your browser.
  • Strange shortcuts and icons appear on your desktop.
  • Your browser’s homepage and start page are suddenly changed, and you’re constantly redirected to unsafe sites.
  • Random adverts appear out of nowhere, and each ad displays the text “Ads by Unlocker”.

Tips to Avoid Future Adware Attacks

Admittedly, adware is designed to be sneaky and it’s not easy to know how you’ll be targeted. However, here are a few measures that you could take to protect yourself from future attacks:

  • Never click on pop-up ads no matter how legitimate they look. The links on these ads will redirect you to malicious websites that could infect your PC with malware.
  • As much as getting free software is enticing, you need to be extra careful not to download and install malicious apps. Avoid downloading files via peer-to-peer sharing networks, online game sites, and third-party downloaders.
  • Configure your browser to block notifications from untrusted websites.
  • Download or update software from verified sources only.
  • Perform regular malware scans on your PC.
  • Be sure to keep your software, browsers, and the Windows system up to date.

How to Remove DNS Unlocker Ads

Step 1: Uninstall DNS Unlocker via Control Panel

Before you uninstall the DNS Unlocker adware, you should first enable Safe Mode with Networking to isolate the virus and make it easier to remove it from your Windows system. To do this, follow the guide below:

  1. Open the “Start” menu and click on the “Power” button.
  2. While holding down the “Shift” key, proceed to click the “Restart” button.
  3. On the “Choose an option” screen, select Troubleshoot > Advanced options > Startup Settings, and then click “Restart”.
  4. Press “F5” on your keyboard to choose “Enable Safe Mode with Networking”.

Now, once in the Safe Mode with Networking environment, go ahead and open Task Manager and kill all processes associated with the DNS Unlocker application. Here’s what you should do:

  1. Press the Ctrl + Shift + Esc shortcut to launch Task Manager.
  2. Under the “Processes” tab, look for any suspicious processes and applications that could be running, select them one by one and click “End task”. If you’re not sure about the function of a particular app or process, google it to avoid stopping crucial processes required by Windows.

Once you’ve stopped all the suspicious processes, exit Task Manager.

The final step is to uninstall the DNS Unlocker adware and its related applications. Here are the steps involved:

  1. Open the “Start” menu, type in Control Paneland hit “Enter”.
  2. Select the “Uninstall a program” option to open a list of all the installed programs and features.
  3. Locate the DNS Unlocker application and remove it from your PC. Look for any other suspicious applications that you didn’t install and uninstall them.

Once you’re done removing all the suspicious apps and features, proceed to the next step below.

Step 2: Delete Folders Associated with the DNS Unlocker Adware

Uninstalling an adware program leaves behind components that are likely to continue infecting your PC. Therefore, you need to delete all folders associated with the adware to completely remove it from your PC.

You should know that this process could take a while since you have to open a bunch of folders and research what each file entails to avoid deleting crucial system files. Pay close attention to unfamiliar folder names in the following directories:

  • %ProgramFiles%
  • %ProgramFiles(x86)%
  • %AppData%
  • %LocalAppData%

Step 3: Remove DNS Unlocker Ads from Internet Browsers

While the DNS Unlocker adware doesn’t necessarily install browser extensions or add-ons, it’s usually bundled with other types of adware. For this reason, we suggest removing all suspicious extensions that you didn’t install.

Remove Suspicious Add-Ons from Internet Explorer

  1. Launch Internet Explorer and click on its menu icon in the top right corner of the browser.
  2. Click on “Manage Add-ons” and select “Toolbars and Extensions”.
  3. Locate all suspicious extensions and disable them.

Alternatively, you could reset Internet Explorer to restore the settings to their factory defaults. To do so, follow these steps:

  1. Launch Internet Explorer, click on the gear icon and select “Internet options”.
  2. Click on the “Advanced” tab and select the “Reset” button.
  3. On the “Reset Internet Explorer Settings” screen, be sure to mark the “Delete personal settings” option and then click “Reset”.
  4. Exit Internet Explorer and restart the browser.

Remove Suspicious Extensions from Google Chrome

  1. Run the Google Chrome browser and click its menu icon in the top right corner of the browser to bring up the menu.
  2. Select More Tools > Extensions.
  3. Search for any suspicious browser add-ons and remove them.

Alternatively, you can reset Google Chrome back to its factory defaults to automatically restore any settings that might have been modified. Here is how to do so:

  1. Launch Chrome and open its menu.
  2. Click “Settings” and expand the “Advanced” section at the bottom of the page.
  3. Choose “Restore settings to their original defaults” under the “Reset and clean up” section, and select “Reset settings”.

Remove Suspicious Add-Ons from Microsoft Edge

  1. Run Edge and click on the three dots in the top right corner to bring up its menu.
  2. Select “Extensions” and remove all suspicious extensions that were installed in the background without permission.

Alternatively, reset Edge to its factory defaults to remove any modified settings. Here is how to do so:

  1. Launch Edge and click the menu icon to open the menu.
  2. Go to Settings > Privacy & Security, and select “Choose what to clear”.
  3. Check all options and click on the “Clear” button.

Remove Suspicious Add-Ons from Firefox

  1. Launch Mozilla Firefox and click on the menu icon to access the menu.
  2. Open “Add-ons” and click on “Extensions”.
  3. Locate any suspicious extensions and remove them from the browser.

Alternatively, you can opt to reset Mozilla Firefox to restore the factory settings. Here’s how:

  1. Run Firefox and open its menu.
  2. Go to Help > Troubleshoot Information, and click on “Refresh Firefox”.
  3. Click the “Refresh Firefox” button to reset the browser.

Step 4: Automatically Remove All Traces of the DNS Unlocker Virus

You see, removing malicious applications and browser extensions from your computer may still leave behind unwanted components of the DNS Unlocker adware. So, once you’re done with the steps above, we recommend using a reliable malware removal tool like Auslogics Anti-Malware to scan for and eliminate all threats.

This is a highly advanced security tool that’s designed to capture adware camouflaged as genuine software. It checks every corner of your computer to expose any suspicious entities that could be hiding within your system. The program then quarantines these malicious entities while awaiting further action from you.

Auslogics Anti-Malware is highly effective and checks, among other areas, your registry, system memory, temporary folders, cookies, and browser extensions to ensure that you’re fully protected from malicious items. This way, PUPs like Ads by DNS Unlocker won’t have a chance to infiltrate your system and make unauthorized changes.

The tool allows you to schedule automatic scans to ensure continuous protection. Plus, it’s designed to work alongside your primary antivirus program, thereby providing the much-needed protection from harmful viruses without running into software conflicts. Running regular malware scans will keep you safe from adware and other types of malware that could damage your system.

That’s how to delete the DNS Unlocker virus. If you have further questions or suggestions regarding the removal of Ads by DNS Unlocker, let us know by commenting below.

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