'Unlock this Page to Continue!' Virus Description
The 'Unlock this Page to Continue!' Virus is a malicious Winlocker that blocks access to a computer and then forces the victim to complete online surveys in order to allow access to the infected computer. This is a clever variant of a ransomware Trojan epidemic that has been rampant in recent years. While other ransomware Trojans block access to the infected computer's desktop and demand that the computer user pay a fine using Ukash or other money transfer services, the 'Unlock this Page to Continue!' Virus uses a more direct approach which gathers money from incremental transactions that involve online marketing, affiliate links and online surveys. If you cannot access your computer because it has been blocked by the 'Unlock this Page to Continue!' Virus, ESG security researchers strongly advise against following this malware infection's instructions and filling out its surveys; instead, remove the 'Unlock this Page to Continue!' Virus with the help of a reliable anti-malware program.
Whenever the victim fills out one of the surveys offered by the 'Unlock this Page to Continue!' Virus, the criminals responsible for this malware infection receive money from the marketing companies sponsoring these surveys. Examples of 'offers' that are used by the 'Unlock this Page to Continue!' Virus include the following:
Shop & Save with this free Toolbar download!
Breakfast on Us with a Dunkin’ Donuts Gift Card!
FREE pair of Studio Beats by Dr. Dre!
Take a back to school shopping spree!
Get FREE McDonald’s!
Take this survey & get a Visa gift card!
Win a voucher for drinks at Starbucks!
Clicking on these surveys takes the computer user to Internet Explorer where the victim will have to complete a survey. Although the 'Unlock this Page to Continue!' Virus claims to unblock the victim's computer as soon as the survey is done, this won't happen in the majority of cases. Instead, the following message will be displayed again:
Unlock this Page to Continue!
This page will immediately unlock and restore normal access upon your participation in an offer below. Please use valid information!
Your desktop was locked. Complete an offer below to unlock your desktop.
Complete an offer to continue.
Once the survey is complete, or the user ends up installing a toolbar or one of the offered options, they may receive more prompts to install more to unlock the page. This usually keeps happening until the criminals get what they want or the threat is removed.
While this threat may seem like it mimics ransomware, since it may lock up a browser, this survey scam is instead being spread by potentially unwanted programs (PUP). To unlock the screen, users may simply need to close the affected browser through task manager in some cases. The screen locker may also be removed by uninstalling any suspicious apps that may be installed behind the backs of the users.
Keeping in mind that these offers are obviously fake, users should ignore the fake warning messages. Once this is canceled, users should check for PUPs that may spread via freeware bundles. 'Unlock this Page' has mostly been seen affecting Windows operating systems, but other versions may exist that affect different operating systems as well. Usually, ransomware makes use of encryption algorithms to block access to user data, then demanding money in exchange for unlocking the files. This app may seem like one, but it instead acts like a scam that doesn't encrypt files or documents.
'Unlock this Page to Continue' does not lock the entire computer, but inexperienced users may be fooled into believing the scam, while they find themselves locked out. They may believe the claims by the scam about system damage, thus following the demands of the threat actors behind the scam.
Unlock this Page has different variants of text that may be placed on the infected computer's screen. This threat usually asks users to complete surveys so they can unlock a page. Doing what is expected generates revenue for the attackers, the more people falling for it, the more revenue made. Personal information may end up misused by the people behind the scam, such as being used for identity theft.
Removing the 'Unlock this Page to Continue!' Virus from your computer requires bypassing its message and supposed 'special offers'. This can usually be done by starting up the infected PC in Safe Mode, preferably with the Command Prompt. Once you gain access to your desktop, a reliable and up-to-date anti-malware program should be able to remove the 'Unlock this Page to Continue!' Virus from your computer.