A cryptocurrency miner virus is a malicious program that uses your CPU or GPU to mine cryptocurrencies. As the popularity of virtual currencies continues to rise, so has the prevalence of these viruses.
Mining programs generate revenue for their owners. Profit can be taken in the form of mining Bitcoin, Monero, Litecoin, and others.
The risk of infection is that these programs are known to consume CPU and graphics card resources for long periods of time and at a high intensity. If left unchecked, they can damage the hardware in your computer and may cause it to overheat; they can also increase your electricity bill.
Miners are designed to run in the background without your knowledge or consent. Most people are therefore unaware that their computers have been compromised.
Below are some common symptoms of infection:
- Computer is noticeably slower than before
- Programs are unresponsive or unstable
- Games run slowly and windows take longer to maximize and minimize
- There are suspicious processes in task manager that use 50% of your CPU or more
It should be noted, however, that it is unusual to see a high CPU usage if your computer is infected with a cryptocurrency miner. The reason being is that most of the “mining” is conducted through your graphics card, and not your CPU.
If you believe that you have been infected with a miner that’s using your graphics card one diagnostic tool to try is GPU-Z by Bleeping Computer. This free application checks the load on your graphics card and reports irregularities when you are not using it for playing games or watching videos.
You’ll be able to tell if you are dealing with a miner if your GPU usage is high when your computer is not under heavy use.
How are computers infected with cryptocurrency miner viruses?
The most common method of infection is through other malware that was installed on your computer beforehand. You get infected through: opening dangerous attachments, visiting comprised websites, or by downloading torrented applications and games.
Once the virus is on your computer, it then opens a “back door” for the trojan miner to come in through. Afterwards, your PC may become compromised in other ways and be left vulnerable to credit card and identity theft.
Miners can infect a range of devices and operating systems including: Windows, and Mac OS X computers as well as all brands of mobile phones.
List of miner viruses
Below is a list of the most common threats you’ll come across. But keep in mind, however, permutations and new miners are being created every day so this is not an exhaustive resource.
Although each virus has unique properties, the one thing they have in common is that they are all removable.
In summary, a trojan miner steals your computer’s CPU and GPU resources in order to generate a profit for its owner.
The problem usually gets worse over time as your computer overheats, leading to total hardware failure and losing your files forever.
So what can you do about it?
How to easily remove miner viruses
The good news is that it’s relatively easy to remove miners from your PC — provided you have the right software.
Most up to date antivirus packages will automatically detect and remove them for you.
But if your PC is unprotected or are simply unsure if you can remove the miner yourself then you could consider downloading Malwarebytes.
This software will give your PC real-time protection against miners and other viruses from abusing your system.
You can download the free or premium versions of Malwarebytes here.
Note that the free version does not support real-time protection, so your PC could still be at risk.
Once you have downloaded the Malwarebytes installer, open it and read the setup instructions.
After installation is complete, follow the removal steps below:
- Once the program has fully updated, select Scan Now on the Dashboard. Or select the Threat Scan from the Scan menu.
- When the scan is complete, make sure that all Threats are selected, and click Remove Selected.
- Restart your computer when prompted to do so.
Downloading Malwarebytes and scanning your system is all you need to do to remove miners from your PC.
It will also keep your files and personal information secure in future.
Did we miss anything for how to remove miners and other crypto viruses? Let us know in the comments below.