How to Detect and Delete KBOT Malware That Infects Windows System Files

kbot malwareKBOT is a piece of polymorphic malware infection that usually comes from the Web, via a local network, or even through infected external storage devices. The virus’s code suggests that it may be an enhanced descendant of the infamous Bolek malware, which hit the headlines in 2016.

First spotted in February 2020, KBOT is a persistent cyber threat aimed at harvesting whatever sensitive data it may come across. Such data include banking details, login credentials, cryptocurrency wallets, as well as any other potentially valuable details. All that information then goes to a remote command-and-control server where it falls into the wrong hands. To do that, KBOT first injects its malicious payload directly into Windows executable code and system processes to gain elevated privilege in Windows Startup and Task Scheduler in particular. The infection chain then continues with additional malware modules obtained through web injects. Such modules may allow for data stealing, C&C communication, and remote code execution.

The multiple code injections may heavily debilitate the Windows OS of each targeted PC, eventually resulting in severe performance issues, as well as constant system errors and crashes. Moreover, KBOT is so adept at patching its entry point code that it is virtually impossible to bring your system files to their pre-infected state ultimately.

The KBOT malware is a computer virus which can also act like a worm. If KBOT infiltrates a networked PC, it will spread fast to every executable file on every logical drive (internal and external) within the network.

How to Detect KBOT

KBOT is reasonably hard to detect because it deploys many obfuscation techniques to evade security detection. Not only does it neutralize all AV-related DLL files, but it also encrypts its own DLL library module just to remain unexposed. Nevertheless, most of the reputable antivirus software solutions out there can detect KBOT and neutralize it.

How to Delete KBOT

While using a robust anti-malware tool will go a long way towards recovering your PC, you can also remove it manually. To do so, you will need to go through the steps outlined below.

  1. Right-click on your Taskbar, select Task Manager, then click on the Processes tab to look for any suspicious running processes.
  2. Download (but do NOT install yet) Microsoft’s Autoruns and Autorunsc utility
  3. Shut down your PC and start Windows in Safe Mode with Networking
  4. Install the Autoruns and Autorunsc utility to see a comprehensive list of all programs configured to run during system startup. Locate the malicious file and right-click to delete it. Be careful NOT to delete any system file by mistake!
  5. Search your PC for the name of the malware you found on the Autoruns tool, then delete it.
  6. Restart your PC in Normal Mode.

Even if you remove KBOT from your machine, it might still not run smoothly because of the initial damage done as a result of the multiple code injection mentioned above. Should that be the case, performing a clean reinstallation of your Windows OS will then be your best option.

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