How to uninstall StormKitty stealer from the operating system?

Also Known As: StormKitty malware
Type: Trojan
Distribution: Moderate
Damage level: Severe

StormKitty virus removal guide

What is StormKitty?

StormKitty is stealer, clipper and a keylogger written in C# programming language, cyber criminals can use it to steal a variety of sensitive information that could be misused for malicious purposes (to generate revenue). Research shows that StormKitty does not get detected by a number of antivirus programs. Therefore, it is very likely that most users who have StormKitty installed on a computer are not aware of that.

StormKitty malware

Research shows that StormKitty can be used to collect information such as system information (e.g., operating system version, CPU, GPU, RAM, list of running processes), passwords, credit card details, cookies, history, autofill data, bookmarks from Chromium-based browsers, cookies, history, bookmarks from Firefox-based browsers, passwords from Internet Explorer and Edge browsers, saved wifi networks, Steam, Uplay, Battle.Net, Skype, Telegram and Minecraft sessions, certain data from ProtonVPN, OpenVPN, NordVPN clients. Furthermore, it can be used to extract data from cryptocurrency wallets, Outlook and Pidgin accounts, steal Discord tokens, Filezilla hosts, access documents, images, source codes, databases, files on connected USB device, detect banking and cryptocurrency services in browsers, make desktop screenshots and access user's webcam. As mentioned in the introduction, StormKitty can be used as a keylogger and clipper. It is designed to log keystrokes (keyboard input) when users use messaging applications and banking websites. Its clipping feature allows it to automatically replace cryptocurrency wallet addresses saved in the clipboard to other addresses. It is worthwhile to mention that StormKitty starts webcam capture when users enter pornography-related keywords in the active browser windows, therefore, it is very likely that cyber criminals use this feature for sextortion. Being tricked into installing StormKitty may result in a variety of serious issues, for example, monetary loss, identity theft, loss of access to various personal accounts. Therefore, if there is any reason to believe that this software is installed on the operating system, then it should be uninstalled immediately.

Threat Summary:
Name StormKitty malware
Threat Type Password-stealing virus, banking malware, spyware.
Detection Names Avast (Win32:Trojan-gen), BitDefender (Gen:Variant.MSILPerseus.228898), ESET-NOD32 (A Variant Of MSIL/PSW.Agent.RXP), Kaspersky (Trojan-PSW.Win32.Coins.ymg), Full List (VirusTotal)
Malicious Process Name(s) Neko (its name may vary)
Symptoms Programs like StormKitty are designed to stealthily infiltrate the victim's computer and remain silent, and thus no particular symptoms are clearly visible on an infected machine.
Distribution methods Infected email attachments, malicious online advertisements, social engineering, software 'cracks'.
Damage Stolen passwords and banking information, identity theft, the victim's computer added to a botnet.
Malware Removal (Windows)

To eliminate possible malware infections, scan your computer with legitimate antivirus software. Our security researchers recommend using Malwarebytes.
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More examples of programs that cyber criminals use with a purpose to steal sensitive, personal information are DarkStealer, Taurus, XTMEM. Typically, they misuse collected data to make fraudulent purchases, transactions, sell it to third parties (other cyber criminals), etc. Instructions on how to uninstall malicious programs from computers are provided below.

How did StormKitty infiltrate my computer?

One of the most popular ways to try to trick users into installing malware is to use malspam campaigns. In such cases cyber criminals send emails with malicious attachments or website links in them with a purpose to deceive recipients into opening/executing malicious file. When opened, that file installs malware. Usually, they attach some malicious Microsoft Office document, PDF document, executable file like .exe, archive file like ZIP, RAR or JavaScript file. Another way to spread malicious software is to trick users into installing some Trojan that would be designed to cause chain infections. Trojans are malicious programs that can be designed to install other programs of this kind. Fake software updaters can cause installation of malware too. If used, they infect systems by installing malware instead of updates, fixed for installed software or by exploiting bugs, flaws of outdated software. Untrustworthy software download sources such as freeware download websites, free file hosting websites, Peer-to-Peer networks (e.g., torrent clients, eMule), various third party downloaders are often used as tools to trick users into downloading malicious files. Users who open files downloaded through such channels can cause installation of malware. Third party installers can be designed cause installation of malicious software too. One more way to proliferate malware is through unofficial software activation ('cracking') tools. Tools of this type supposed to illegally activate licensed software for free, however, quite often they are designed to infect computers by installing on or another malware.

How to avoid installation of malware?

Emails that contain website links and/or some attachments and are received from unknown, questionable addresses should not be trusted. It is common that such emails are sent by cyber criminals who attempt to trick recipients into infect computers with malware through files or links in them. Therefore, email contents should be opened only when there is no reason to suspect that it may be not safe. Software and files should be downloaded from official pages and through direct links. Third party downloaders or installers, unofficial websites and other sources that are mentioned in the previous paragraph can be (and often are) used as tools to distribute malicious files. All installed software must be activated and/or updated with tools or implemented functions provided by its official developers. Third party, unofficial updaters ant activation tools can be designed to install malware. Moreover, it is not legal to activate software with third party tools. Additioanally, it is advised to regularly scan a computer with a reputable antivirus or anti-spyware software. If you believe that your computer is already infected, we recommend running a scan with Malwarebytes for Windows to automatically eliminate infiltrated malware.

StormKitty's process running in Task Manager as "Neko" (its name may vary):

stormkitty stealer running as neko process in task manager

Instant automatic malware removal: Manual threat removal might be a lengthy and complicated process that requires advanced computer skills. Malwarebytes is a professional automatic malware removal tool that is recommended to get rid of malware. Download it by clicking the button below:
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How to remove malware manually?

Manual malware removal is a complicated task - usually it is best to allow antivirus or anti-malware programs to do this automatically. To remove this malware we recommend using Malwarebytes for Windows. If you wish to remove malware manually, the first step is to identify the name of the malware that you are trying to remove. Here is an example of a suspicious program running on a user's computer:

malicious process running on user's computer sample

If you checked the list of programs running on your computer, for example, using task manager, and identified a program that looks suspicious, you should continue with these steps:

manual malware removal step 1Download a program called Autoruns. This program shows auto-start applications, Registry, and file system locations:

screenshot of autoruns application

manual malware removal step 2Restart your computer into Safe Mode:

Windows XP and Windows 7 users: Start your computer in Safe Mode. Click Start, click Shut Down, click Restart, click OK. During your computer start process, press the F8 key on your keyboard multiple times until you see the Windows Advanced Option menu, and then select Safe Mode with Networking from the list.

Safe Mode with Networking

Video showing how to start Windows 7 in "Safe Mode with Networking":

Windows 8 users: Start Windows 8 is Safe Mode with Networking - Go to Windows 8 Start Screen, type Advanced, in the search results select Settings. Click Advanced startup options, in the opened "General PC Settings" window, select Advanced startup. Click the "Restart now" button. Your computer will now restart into the "Advanced Startup options menu". Click the "Troubleshoot" button, and then click the "Advanced options" button. In the advanced option screen, click "Startup settings". Click the "Restart" button. Your PC will restart into the Startup Settings screen. Press F5 to boot in Safe Mode with Networking.

Windows 8 Safe Mode with networking

Video showing how to start Windows 8 in "Safe Mode with Networking":

Windows 10 users: Click the Windows logo and select the Power icon. In the opened menu click "Restart" while holding "Shift" button on your keyboard. In the "choose an option" window click on the "Troubleshoot", next select "Advanced options". In the advanced options menu select "Startup Settings" and click on the "Restart" button. In the following window you should click the "F5" button on your keyboard. This will restart your operating system in safe mode with networking.

windows 10 safe mode with networking

Video showing how to start Windows 10 in "Safe Mode with Networking":

 

manual malware removal step 3Extract the downloaded archive and run the Autoruns.exe file.

extract autoruns.zip and run autoruns.exe

manual malware removal step 4In the Autoruns application, click "Options" at the top and uncheck "Hide Empty Locations" and "Hide Windows Entries" options. After this procedure, click the "Refresh" icon.

Click 'Options' at the top and uncheck 'Hide Empty Locations' and 'Hide Windows Entries' options

manual malware removal step 5Check the list provided by the Autoruns application and locate the malware file that you want to eliminate.

You should write down its full path and name. Note that some malware hides process names under legitimate Windows process names. At this stage, it is very important to avoid removing system files. After you locate the suspicious program you wish to remove, right click your mouse over its name and choose "Delete".

locate the malware file you want to remove

After removing the malware through the Autoruns application (this ensures that the malware will not run automatically on the next system startup), you should search for the malware name on your computer. Be sure to enable hidden files and folders before proceeding. If you find the filename of the malware, be sure to remove it.

searching for malware file on your computer

Reboot your computer in normal mode. Following these steps should remove any malware from your computer. Note that manual threat removal requires advanced computer skills. If you do not have these skills, leave malware removal to antivirus and anti-malware programs. These steps might not work with advanced malware infections. As always it is best to prevent infection than try to remove malware later. To keep your computer safe, install the latest operating system updates and use antivirus software.

To be sure your computer is free of malware infections, we recommend scanning it with Malwarebytes for Windows.

About the author:

Tomas Meskauskas

Tomas Meskauskas - expert security researcher, professional malware analyst.

I am passionate about computer security and technology. I have an experience of over 10 years working in various companies related to computer technical issue solving and Internet security. I have been working as an author and editor for pcrisk.com since 2010. Follow me on Twitter and LinkedIn to stay informed about the latest online security threats. Contact Tomas Meskauskas.

PCrisk security portal is brought by a company RCS LT. Joined forces of security researchers help educate computer users about the latest online security threats. More information about the company RCS LT.

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Malware activity

Global malware activity level today:

Medium threat activity

Increased attack rate of infections detected within the last 24 hours.

QR Code
StormKitty malware QR code
A QR code (Quick Response Code) is a machine-readable code which stores URLs and other information. This code can be read using a camera on a smartphone or a tablet. Scan this QR code to have an easy access removal guide of StormKitty malware on your mobile device.
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