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How to remove Kelihos from Windows 10?

By Emmanuel Seriki | March 20, 2020 |

greater than 10 minutes

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If you are looking to remove Kelihos from your computer, then we can safely assume that you are being bothered by certain operations or events that occurred recently on your system. Well, you probably have your reasons for worrying. In this guide, we intend to examine Kelihos, tell you all you need to know about this malicious program, and also show you how to deal with the issues associated with it.

What is Kelihos?

Kelihos is popular bot malware that attackers use to carry out nefarious acts. Once Kelihos finds its way into a computer, a skilled hacker can control the affected device remotely.

After Kelihos gets control of a system, the malicious application becomes capable of performing a wide variety of automated tasks (depending on the instructions it gets from its controllers). It might force Windows or applications to put up strange messages, execute simple or complicated operations (to slow down the computer), or even cause the system to crash.

Attackers have been reported to steal users’ information using Kelihos and send spam through the same service.

By design, Kelihos does more than just compromising a single computer. It typically tries to infect as many devices as it can (or spread itself in all the ways possible). For these reasons, bot shepherds often use Kelihos on computers through Trojan horses.

Kelihos can attach itself to new devices automatically (without you knowing anything about the events as they occur). Kelihos cloaks its activities quite well, so users rarely detect or find the malicious program.

Most Kelihos forms (as programs) typically use a small proportion of the available system resources to avoid interfering with or disrupting the regular operations in the Windows operating system environment. It all makes sense; if the malware forces a computer to do a lot of work (while draining the available resources), then users might notice that things are not in order.

Certain (advanced) strains of the Kelihos malware are capable of updating their behaviors or code automatically to evade detection by security utilities.

Is Kelihos a virus?

Kelihos might not be a virus because it does not conform to the standard replication behavior that defines viruses. However, Kelihos is definitely a malicious program (make no mistake about it). Kelihos is basically a bot.

In computing, bots refer to programmed robots, such as web crawlers, spiders, and similar applications or scripts. Bots have defined responsibilities.

When bots are employed for legitimate purposes, they are designed to perform recurring tasks (the indexing of a search engine, for example). Other times, however, attackers create bots in the form of malware, which they use to target users or their devices.

The simplest application of a standard bot lies in the collection of information activities. Other bots might help people or organizations with instant messages, relay chats, and other web services. Some firms even use bots for dynamic interactions with their clients.

Malicious bots – which are the objects of importance in this guide – are seen as malware that infects computers (hosts) and maintains communication with one or more central servers. The servers in view correspond to the command and control center for a botnet (which the bot belongs to) or a network of compromised (or vulnerable) computers.

Some malicious bots are programmed to spread like worms.

Bots can do the following: collect passwords, record keystrokes made on a keyboard, capture and analyze packages, steal personal details or financial information, forward spam to many users, facilitate DDoS attacks, expose security holes or vulnerabilities on a machine (which might then be exploited by other malicious programs), etc.

Most popular bots became known only because they infected a large number of computers. The affected computers constitute what we call a botnet (the same thing as a bot network).

What are the symptoms of the Kelihos infection?

At this point, your mind might still be filled with doubts as to whether Kelihos actually exists on your machine. Or perhaps, you are simply interested in knowing how victims of the Kelihos malware figured out that a malicious program was operating on their computers.

 Well, one of these events or happenings might further heighten your suspicions:

  • Your computer is exhibiting strange behaviors (or doing things it has not done before). You find yourself struggling to explain the occurrence of certain events or happenings.
  • You are struggling with performance downgrades or inconsistencies in operations. You might notice that applications are running slower than before or a program is not functioning well (as it is supposed to).
  • You see shortcuts to files that you do not remember downloading or applications that you do not remember installing. You do not know how such items came to be.
  • Your browser settings get changed. Your browser starts using a different search engine or redirects you several times when you try to search for something; your browser loads up a different homepage.
  • You continuously receive unsolicited messages in your email. You notice that your email has been sending messages (spam emails) without your knowledge.
  • You see unexplainable pop-ups. You do not know the applications responsible for the pop-ups, or you do not remember installing the application that is forcing up the pop-ups.
  • You notice that your firewall configuration has been changed (without your knowledge, of course). You realize that your antivirus settings have been changed, or you find out that your security utility has been disabled.

How did Kelihos find its way into my computer?

It is likely Kelihos entered your computer because you tried to open a malicious attachment (in an email, for example) or clicked on a link on a phishing message (forwarded to you on your social media network account, for example). Or perhaps, you got your computer to run or install a harmless-looking application that was already bundled with malware.

You might not be able to recall the event where the action you took led to the malware finding its way into your machine.  Well, it hardly matters now. What you should be looking to do is learning how to delete Kelihos from your computer.

How to remove Kelihos from a Windows 10 PC

We will now walk you through the standard procedures used to remove the Kelihos malware from devices.

  1. Terminate the active (malicious) program:

First, we want you to force Windows to end proceedings for the Kelihos malware (if it is currently executing operations on your computer). When the main malicious executable gets put down, you might find it easier to perform other tasks to remove the malware, or you are more likely to succeed in your quest to identify and get rid of the bad stuff.

For the tasks ahead, you will need to open the Task Manager app or Process Explorer program. We prefer the path involving the Task Manager program, though. These are the instructions you must go through:

  • Open the Task Manager app: Right-click on the taskbar (at the bottom of your display) to see the available menu list and then select Task Manager.

The Ctrl + Shift + Esc key combination also does the trick here for the program launch operation.

  • Once the Task Manager window comes, you have to check all its tabs for applications, processes, or services that should not be running, or items whose origins you do not know.
  • Once you find something that should not be active (or an item that should not even exist), you can do some research online to learn more about it.

Ideally, you should take note of applications or processes that are consuming a disproportionate amount of your computer resources (with no reasonable justifications).

  • To terminate an application or process, you have to click on it (to get it highlighted) and then click on the End task button (around the bottom-right corner of the Task Manager window).

Windows will now act to terminate operations for the selected application or process.

By terminating the malicious process or application, you stop it from functioning for a while. You might notice less activity or load on your computer, but you must not take that change as confirmation that the Kelihos malware is gone from your computer forever. You still have some work to do.

  1. Run scans for malware:

Here, we want you to run comprehensive scans for malicious programs on your computer. Once you find the bad files, packages, and entries, you will be able to get rid of them for good. You will need a security utility to assist you with the proposed task. If you do not have an antivirus or similar protection application, then you have to download and install something quickly.


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Assuming you have the security utility ready, these are the instructions you must follow to use the program to check your computer for malicious items and also get rid of them:

  • First, you have to open your antivirus or antimalware application.

You can click on the app icon (if it exists on your taskbar or system tray) or double-click on the program shortcut (which is likely to be on your desktop).

  1. Once the application window comes up, you have to check its main menu for Scan options.
  2. Click on the highest scan function (to select it). You will probably have to click on one of the following: Full scan, Total scan, or Complete scan.

Basically, we want you to use the scan function that provides the best threat detection outcomes. The most comprehensive scan function is the one you must use.

When your antivirus or antimalware application uses the full, complete, or total scan function, it ends up checking almost every location or folder on your computer disk while reviewing the items stored in the directories.

Well, the full scan operation might take a while (longer than the average runtimes for regular scan operations), but the wait is worth it.

  • Assuming your antivirus or antimalware app is done with the scan tasks, you have to review the detected threats on your own.

The security application is likely to have quarantined the bad items, which means they are unlikely to cause trouble for you.

  • If you find an item that should not be in quarantine, then you can force your antivirus or antimalware to restore it to its rightful location.

Security utilities are not perfect; sometimes, they make mistakes when they see harmless applications and work against them (to place them in quarantine, block their operations, or even remove them). It is your job to correct your antivirus or antimalware application when it does the wrong thing by showing it the errors of its ways.

Nevertheless, we recommend that you make the correction (by restoring a suspected threat placed in quarantine to its rightful location) only when you are absolutely sure of things (that the item is not malicious or harmful). When you are in doubt, you are better off trusting the security application’s judgment or conducting some research to find the truth of things.

  1. If you see an item you know to be a threat and you are sure of it, then you can instruct your antivirus to get rid of it (which means it gets removed from the quarantine list and deleted permanently).
  2. At this point, assuming you are done with the threat removal operations, you must close your antivirus.

If there are other items you suspect to be harmful or malicious on your computer, you must get rid of them manually. You can open the File Explorer application (through the Windows button + letter E combination), navigate through the necessary paths to enter the directories housing the threats, and then delete or remove them.

If you want to remove bad programs, you have to open Control Panel and then go to the Uninstall or change a program screen, or you can open the Settings app and then go to the Apps screen there. On the projected screens or menus, you can then initiate the uninstallation operations for the unwanted applications. After you remove the bad apps, you must restart your computer to finish things.

  1. Boot your machine into safe mode:

If you encountered setbacks or difficulties during your attempts to perform any of the tasks described above – or if the Kelihos malware continues to bother you even after you did some work to get rid of it – then you have to boot your device into safe mode to take things to a new level.

Safe mode will help you if the malware infection on your computer is so strong that you cannot execute threat removal operations properly. The same thing goes for users who doubt that they have done enough to remove the malicious or harmful programs from their computers.

Safe mode allows you to get your computer up using the fewest set of drivers, services, and startup applications. Only the most essential processes are allowed to run in safe mode. Third-party applications do not get to operate in the environment resulting from safe mode. Therefore, malicious programs (which are essentially third-party apps) do not get to cause trouble or stop you from executing operations against them.

Basically, you will find it easier to perform the tasks we already described in safe mode. The success outcomes for the operations (to get rid of threats) become higher – since you are less likely to experience setbacks or miss the bad stuff.

There are numerous procedures through which people get their computers into the safe mode environment. The path involving the System Configuration app is probably the easiest and the most straightforward of the lot, so we’ll walk you through it. These are the instructions you must follow to boot your PC into safe mode:

  • Press the Windows button on your device’s keyboard (or click on the Windows icon on your display).

You will end up on the Windows Start screen.

  • Type Msconfig into the text box (that shows up the moment you begin to type) to run a search task using this keyword as the query.
  • Once System Configuration (Desktop app) emerges as the main entry on the results list returned, you have to click on it to open the needed application.Your computer will bring up the System Configuration window now.
  1. Click on the Boot tab (to go there).
  2. Click on the checkbox for Safe boot (to get this parameter selected).
  3. Click on the radio button for Network (one of the parameters under Safe boot) to select this option.
  4. Click on the Apply button and then click on the OK button.

Windows is now supposed to bring up a prompt telling you that you need to restart your computer to allow Windows to take note of the new boot configuration and apply the needed changes.

If you are ready to let your machine reboot itself, then you must click on the Restart button (to allow Windows to get on with the operation).

Otherwise – if you have other plans (or things to do) – then you must click on the Exit without restart button to ignore the prompt. You will then have to initiate the restart task on your own later on to get your computer into safe mode.

Assuming you are now in the safe mode operating system environment, you must perform all the tasks you struggled with earlier and execute other operations to remove the Kelihos malware. Things should go smoothly this time. Good luck.

Fed up with your slow PC? Tired of waiting for Windows to start up? Take a look at the most common reasons behind poor performance and the best ways to deal with them here.

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