KMSPico Malware – WHAT IS IT + Remove It

KMSPico Malware – WHAT IS IT + Remove It

What is KMSPico? Is KMSPico legit or a scam? How to remove KMSPico PUP from your PC or Mac?

The KMSPico Malware is a hacking tool which is advertised as an activator for Microsoft Windows and Office. It is widely distributed over fake download sites and file-sharing networks like BitTorrent under many names and versions. As soon as it is installed it can lead to many malicious actions including data theft, Trojan operations and more.

Threat Summary

NameKMSPico Malware
TypeMalware, Scam Hacking Program
Short DescriptionPoses as a tool that will activate Microsoft and Windows products.
SymptomsThe victims may notice performance issues and can get infected with other malware.
Distribution MethodMainly via download sites and file sharing networks.
Detection Tool See If Your System Has Been Affected by KMSPico Malware


Malware Removal Tool

User ExperienceJoin Our Forum to Discuss KMSPico Malware.

KMSPico — June 2019 Update

A recent security report indicates that KMSPico malware can also be spread via popular ransomware releases. Some of the newest versions of this threat have been found to be found within new application installers which are uploaded to hacker-controlled sites and portals. The campaigns can even present the virus in ad campaigns, banners and on social networks using fake or hacked profiles. This is done in order to maximize the reach to the intended victims.

The recent campaigns involve the inclusion of the virus code of both the ransomware and the KMSPico malware in application installers. What’s more dangerous is that the popular STOP Ransomware samples have been found to spread it.

Related: Decrypt Files Encrypted by STOP Ransomware

These STOP ransomware especially in their later iterations can also be accompanied by other “lucrative” data such as the following:

  • Iliegal Applications and Games Cracks
  • Patches
  • Updates
  • Game Mods and Add-Ons

KMSPico – How Did I Get It

The KMSPico malware can be spread using a variety of different tactics. There are many variants of it which are spread using various collectives. Our security research shows that there are many versions using the KMSPico name and alternatives as well. This allows the criminal collectives to launch a multitude of attacks bearing different versions of the malware.

One of the main techniques is the coordination of phishing email messages which coerce the victims to interact with the included content. They are designed to appear as legitimate notifications sent from well-known services and companies. The KMSPico malware files can be either attached or inserted as text links.

Hacker-made sites that pose as legitimate download portals, search engines and software product pages will scam the users into downloading and running the application. They are generally hosted on domains that sound similar to popular sources and may include self-signed security certificates.

To increase the number of infected victims the criminals can also place the KMSPico malware in payload carriers such as macro-infected documents and malware application bundles. They are widely downloaded from the Internet by end users and may be found on file-sharing sites as well like BitTorrent.

Such infections can also be spread via browser hijackers which are dangerous web browser extensions that are usually uploaded to the repositories of the most popular browsers.

KMSPico – What Does It Do

The KMSPico malware is advertised as a hacking tool which will is used to activate unlicensed versionf of the Microsoft Windows operating system and Office software. It is widely available under several names — both using various “editions” and version numbers.

Such malware can execute many different tactics depending on the exact attack campaign. Most of them are used in order to serve as payload carriers for other threats. Popular options are the following:

  • Trojan Clients — The made infections will create a persistent and secure connection to a hacker-controlled server which allows the hackers to take over control of the infected machines, steal their files and deploy other malware.
  • Data Theft — The KMSPico malware may include an information harvesting ability which is capable of acquiring data that ca directly expose the identity of the victim users.
  • Machine Identification — Many similar threats are programmed to extract the list of installed hardware components ,specific operating system environment values and user settngs which are then processed by a special algorithm that will ouput an unique infection ID that is to be assigned to each different computer.
  • Windows Registry Changes — The KMSPico malware can create entries for itself in the Windows Registry which can make its removal more difficult. If it edits existing values then serious performance issues can arise. Data loss and errors are a common side effect of this operation.
  • Boot Menu Options Modification — Some KMSPico malware versions can modify the boot options in order to automatically start themselves when the computer is powered on. By disabling access to these options manual user removal guides can become worthless.
  • Data Removal — The engine can be configured to locate and delete files such as system backups, restore files and shadow volume copies. This makes recovery much more difficult and in this case the use of a data recovery solution needs to be used.

Any future KMSPico variants can include other malicious actions as per the hacker’s instructions.

How to Remove KMSPico

In order to fully remove KMSPico from your computer system, we recommend that you follow the removal instructions underneath this article. If the first two manual removal steps do not seem to work and you still see KMSPico or programs, related to it, we suggest what most security experts advise – to download and run a scan of your comptuer with a reputable anti-malware program. Downloading this software will not only save you some time, but will remove all of KMSPico files and programs related to it and will protect your computer against such intrusive apps and malware in the future.


Martin Beltov

Martin graduated with a degree in Publishing from Sofia University. As a cyber security enthusiast he enjoys writing about the latest threats and mechanisms of intrusion.

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