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DNS Unlocker belongs among so called Potentially Unwanted Applications; its purpose is to display advertisements to the victim. Typically, a computer user affected by DNS Unlocker will see advertisements with a note at the bottom like “Ads by DNS Unlocker” and multiple variations of “support scam” pop-ups.

“DNS hijacking is not that damaging – in comparison to, say, ransomware – and it has always been easy to fix. With the new variant of DNS Unlocker, the latter is no longer true,” comments James Rodewald, ESET Malware Removal Support Supervisor. 


ESET experts have found that this DNS Unlocker is able to trick Windows into displaying a different DNS configuration from what it had set as default.


“Within the graphical interface, it appears that you are using an automatically assigned DNS server address when in fact you are using the static ones. In short, this is a DNS hijack which forces the use of hidden DNS servers. This makes the issue quite difficult to solve for typical users,” says James Rodewald.


ESET experts analyzed the trick and identified the underlying issue with how Windows handle these DNS addresses and sent the details to Microsoft on May 10th 2016. The Microsoft Security Response Center (MSRC) acknowledged the problem, but, unfortunately, did not classify it as a security vulnerability. “As modifying the registry requires administrative privileges, we do not consider this to meet the bar for security servicing through MSRC”, the reasoning reads.


“Hopefully, Microsoft will address this issue in future versions of Windows. Until then, users should be aware of the possibility of DNS hijacking,” comments Marc-Etienne Léveillé, an ESET Malware Researcher who participated in the research.


ESET experts came up with a set of preventive measures and also with tips for remediation.

  • Don’t surf the web with administrator’s privileges; use them only where necessary
  • If you see unexpected advertisements, especially if they offer a “Ads by DNS Unlocker” badge or similar, check your DNS settings in the advanced pane of TCP/IP settings
  • If you see a pop-up window with some kind of offer for support, be extremely wary and prior to any other actions, check your DNS settings
  • If in any doubt about DNS settings, you can remove the bad DNS entries from the DNS tab of the Advanced TCP/IP Settings page. Scan your computer with ESET Online Scannerto remove the DNS Unlocker malware and to make it stop tampering with your DNS settings.
  • Follow all basic rules for the safe use of the internet, including having a quality security solution; ESET Smart Security fully protects from the DNS Unlocker. 


ESET®released the ESET Japan Cyber-Savviness Report 2016, which shows that while users in Japan are knowledgeable about cybersecurity, they still need to ensure that they are adequately protected when accessing the internet.


Findings show that while more than 70 percent of the respondents didn’t receive any formal education about cybersecurity, 4 out of 5 were able to correctly answer basic cybersecurity questions. This level of knowledge was consistent between the different age groups surveyed.

“In Asia-Pacific, Japan has always taken the lead in technology adoption and innovation. The country relies on data, online communications and information technology to drive innovation and efficiency, resulting in increased exposure to cybersecurity risks,” said Parvinder Walia, Sales and Marketing Director, ESET Asia-Pacific.

The survey polled 1,033 respondents in Japan to gain insight into attitudes, knowledge and user behavior when it comes to cybersecurity. Compared with the results of the ESET Asia Cyber-Savviness Report 2015 and the ESET Vietnam Cyber-Savviness Report 2015 (covering seven other Asia-Pacific markets), Japan had the highest cyber-savviness score. Cyber-savviness is based on users’ knowledge or ability to understand activities that make them vulnerable online and the proactive steps needed to protect themselves.


“All it takes to fend off cyber-criminals is the consistent use of simple preventive measures. It’s a shame that so many people are not actively using their knowledge of cybersecurity when little things like maintaining proper passwords could help alleviate their anxieties and use the internet safely and with confidence,” concluded Walia.

Overall, users in Japan do not engage in risky cyber behavior. For example, most respondents (86%) know to immediately disconnect a breached device from the internet and 71 percent do not open or download attachments from unknown senders.


However, the survey points to a significant gap between user awareness and implementation. Also, while as many as 96 percent of respondents were aware of the threat posed by using the same password for different accounts, only 1 in 5 actually set separate passwords for their individual online accounts.


To download the ESET Japan Cyber-Savviness Report 2016, please visit: https://static1.esetstatic.com/fileadmin/Images/INT/Press/2016/2016-05-17/ESET%20Japan%20Cyber-Savviness%20Report%202016.pdf

To download the ESET Vietnam Cyber-Savviness Report 2015, please click here.  

To download the ESET Asia Cyber-Savviness Report 2015, please click here


ESET Smart Security 9 is the only security solution with 100% protection, say the results of the first Home Anti-Malware Protection test by SE Labs.


In their first Home Anti-Malware Protection test, SE Labs tested eight leading consumer security solutions for three main criteria: protection accuracy, legitimate accuracy and total accuracy. In all categories ESET Smart Security 9 achieved the highest possible score – 100 percent.

“At ESET we are dedicated in our work to make products that protect millions of users around the world. It's nice to see tests out there validate the multi-layered approach we have been building over the last two decades,” said Palo Luka, Chief Technology Officer at ESET.

According to the report, ESET Smart Security 9 stands out as the one product that blocked every threat.

“ESET Smart Security handled the targeted attacks and public web-based threats perfectly, which is an unusually good result. It is rare in real-world threat testing for an uncompromised product offering complete protection to also manage legitimate applications and websites without a single error," explains Simon Edwards, SE Labs' founder and Director.

More information about the test and the methodology in detail  can be found in the test report.


ESET®, a global pioneer in IT security for more than two decades, released a new version of ESET Online Scanner – it’s ThreatSense®-based free scanning and cleaning app providing full antivirus scans directly via the internet browser.


The latest version of ESET Online Scanner is completely browser–independent, what means it  can be easily run from all known web browsers. Moreower, the installation is now possible without administrator privileges, which makes scannining and cleaning of computers from malware even more straightforward.


Designed to be user-friendly, ESET Online Scanner also introduces additional malware-removal related features, including:

  • Autostart locations scan – Enables scanning of Autostart locations and Boot sector for hidden threats – simply by choosing this option in advanced setup/scan targets.
  • Registry malware cleanup – Removes malware that resides in the system registry.
  • Cleanup during restart with following rescan – If needed, ESET Online Scanner is capable of tagging the most persistent malware for automatic cleanup  after restart.


For more information about free ESET Online Scanner visit ESET Knowledgebase or run it directly from www.eset.com


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