Adware | 05/09/2018

AutoKMS – Saving Money or Inviting problems to your system?

About: AutoKMS : Boon or a Curse? Thinking of Saving Money by looking for a free program activator rather than paying for the original one? Read this article carefully before making any such choice.

| Adware | AutoKMS – Saving Money or Inviting problems to your system?

What is AutoKMS?

The AutoKMS adware is a malicious program that is  prone to infringe your computer’s security. This malware program is highly vicious that is why it is important to follow a virus removal guide to get rid of this PUP for best malware protection.

Microsoft Office has enabled the world in creating & managing Documents, presentations, calculative sheets, emails and projects. This wonderful software suite is user friendly and is preferred over the other options available. As we know, Quality comes for a price; this software suite is also made available by Microsoft   to us at an affordable price.

Most of us want to be hassle free and thus purchase the authorized version of this software. Still, there are a number of users who believe in following malpractices of using unauthorized copies of software and using key generators to activate the software.

AutoKMS is known as Automatic Key Management System, was specifically designed to lure such users who seek short term benefits and neglect long term worries. It has a key generator application that boasts about cracking an unauthorized Microsoft Office copy and making it legitimate.  The moment the corrupt Key is placed in the activation wizard and the user tries to activate it, it befools the user by making its presence cited in startup and in believing that the Office suite is activated.

Threat Summary

  •  Name: AutoKMS
  • Browsers Affected: NA
  • Targeted Operating System: Windows Operating System
  • Category:  PuP, Hacktool

Why is AutoKMS considered Dangerous?

AutoKMS ensures its presence in the core windows folder in an unidentified file type disguise & also targets User profile.  It changes the startup settings by scheduling its occurrence periodically to which the user remains unaware and thus is surprised to see its attempt of activating Microsoft office again and again. Thus, it utilizes valuable system resources in performing useless tasks.

Why the Presence of AutoKMS considered a threat to your computer system?

AutoKMS as suggested earlier, may act as doorway for other malicious programs / adware to access your system. Following strategies can be considered responsible:

  1. Software Bundling: Software bundling is the process in which a malicious program is distributed with other free software, to get an unnoticed entry into your computer system. When a user installs a free application, the malicious programs gains a front door entry with the free application, the user has downloaded. In this case, Users specifically search for AutoKMS to save Money.
  2. Spam Emails – Spamming is the most economic and common method used for the distribution of such malware. The targeted users get genuine looking emails which contain AutoKMS installer as an attachment. These attachments can be named as anything which can grab the user’s attention and triggers him/her to open the attachment. As soon as the user opens this attachment, the malware infects the user’s computer system.
  3. Malicious Websites or Malevolent Advertisements: The malicious websites are the ones which are created just for promoting the malware infections. Such websites include but are not limited to porn sites, torrent sites and other free downloading platforms. By visiting such websites, the adware infects the user’s computer without permission. Fake advertisements and updates like Flash player and windows updates which ask the user to update to the latest version are a few examples. When the users click on such links, their computer system gets infected. That is why, it is highly recommended to resist clicking on such links. Also avoid clicking on advertisements offering free stuff such as Win an iPhones, cars or free overseas trips etc.

Removal steps of Autokms?    

Note: Before we begin, try to remember how the PUP got downloaded  on your computer system. Generally, these programs come bundled with free applications that we download off the internet. It is a good practice to locate and uninstall such programs while removing the Browser Hijacker/ Extensions.

Windows XP

  1. Click on the “Start” button on the bottom left corner of your screen. A Start menu will be displayed as shown below. From this menu select the option that reads “Control Panel”.Windows XP start menu image
  2. In the window that will be displayed, click the option “Switch to classic view”.Control panel switch to classic view
  3. This will display all the options/icons available to you. From the displayed icons, click on the icon that reads “Add or Remove Programs”.Windows XP add or remove a program
  4. Select the “Uninstall a program” option from the “Programs” category. A list will populate on the screen displaying all the programs.Uninstall a malicious program
  5. Select the programs related to AutoKMS and click on the Uninstall button.Windows XP confirmation window

Windows 7/Vista

  1. Right click on the “Start” button located at the lower left corner of the screen. From the Start menu, click on “Control Panel”.Windows 7 start menu
  2. The “Control Panel” Window will be displayed on the screen. Click on “Uninstall a Program” option from the “Programs” category.Uninstall a program from windows 7
  3. The “Programs and Features” window will be displayed on the screen. A list will populate on the screen displaying all the programs.
  4. Scroll though the list of programs and select the programs related to AutoKMS and then click on the “Uninstall” button.uninstall a program in Windows 7

Windows 8/10

  1. Right click on the “Windows logo” on the lower left side of the computer screen. From the drop down menu, select and click on “Control Panel”.Windows 10 start menu
  2. The “Control Panel” window will be displayed. From this window select “Uninstall a program” option form the “Programs” category.Control panel
  3. A list will populate on the screen displaying all the programs and features option
  4. Select the programs related to AutoKMS and click on the “Uninstall” button.uninstall a program in windows 8
  5. In the confirmation box, click on the box that reads “OK” to save changes.

Removing the PuP from System configuration settings.

**Though this option is only recommended for Advanced Users who has a flavour for troubleshooting, new users may also try it**

  1. Use “msconfig” command to open system configuration settings.
  2. Click on “Services” Tab and click on “Hide all Microsoft services”.
  3. Select AutoKMS from the list of remaining services and disable it.
  4. Move to the next tab – “Startup
  5. Find Auto Microsoft product activation program and remove the check mark. (AutoKMS)
  6. Restart the system.

Tips to prevent your computer system from getting infected –

  1. Keeping the Operating System Updated- In order to remain protected and avoid such infections, it is recommended to keep your Operating System updated by enabling the automatic update on your system. The systems with outdated or older versions of Operating System become an easy target for the attackers.
  2. Resist clicking on spam emails – One of the major techniques used for malware distribution is forwarding spam emails to the user. The system gets infected as soon as the user clicks on the attachment. These mails appear to be genuine, so be aware and resist falling for these tricks.
  3. Keep an eye on third party installations- It is quite important that you take due care while installing any third party applications for they are major source of such infections. Such malware programs come bundled with the free applications thereby requiring the user to remain cautious.
  4. Regular periodical backup- In order to keep your data and files safe, it is recommended to take regular back up of all your data and files either on an external drive or cloud.
  5. Use Anti-Virus Protection- We strongly recommend the use of antivirus protection/internet security in your PC like 360 Total Security and Sophos so that it remains safe.
  6. Enable the Ad Blocker/Popup Blocker in your browser- Enabling the popup blocker/ ad blocker in your chosen browser will help you to stay protected from annoying adware.

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