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As most of us are aware, 2017 was a very successful year for cryptocurrency miners. The price of popular cryptocurrencies jumped dramatically (for example, in early 2017, Bitcoin was equivalent to ~$1000, while at the end of the year it reached nearly $20,000). Therefore, mining cryptocurrency became even more popular. Cyber criminals also started to partake in this enterprise: to generate revenue, they proliferated malware that stealthily mined cryptocurrency.
|Threat Type||Cryptominer, cryptocurrency miner.|
|Detection Names||Avast (Win64:Trojan-gen), Avira (TR/AD.CoinMiner.sjwdw), BitDefender (Gen:Variant.Ulise.36452), ESET-NOD32 (a variant of Win64/CoinMiner.OZ), Full List (VirusTotal)|
|Symptoms||Trojans are designed to stealthily infiltrate victim's computer and remain silent thus no particular symptoms are clearly visible on an infected machine.|
|Distribution methods||Infected email attachments, malicious online advertisements, social engineering, software cracks.|
|Damage||Decreased computer performance, system crashes, hardware overheat.|
|Malware Removal (Windows)|
To eliminate possible malware infections, scan your computer with legitimate antivirus software. Our security researchers recommend using Malwarebytes.
As mentioned above, COINMINER is distributed using fake update tools. Therefore, there is a high probability that it will be delivered with various potentially unwanted programs (PUPs). Most of these programs deliver various intrusive ads (coupons, banners, pop-ups, etc.) that conceal underlying content, thereby diminishing the browsing experience. Furthermore, some ads will redirect to malicious websites or even run malicious code that stealthily downloads and installs malware/PUPs. Therefore, clicking them risks further computer infections. Another downside is information tracking. Research shows that PUPs gather various information that typically includes personal data that is sold to third parties. There is a high probability that information tracking will lead to serious privacy issues or even identity theft. Potentially unwanted programs must be eliminated immediately.
Many PUPs offer various useful features, however, since their only purpose is to generate revenue for the developers, these claims are merely attempts to give the impression of legitimacy. Only a small percentage of PUPs provide the features promised - most are useless for regular users. Rather than (or together with) enabling functionality, PUPs pose a direct threat to your privacy and Internet browsing safety.
COINMINER and PUPs are typically distributed using the 'bundling' method - stealth installation of third party software together with regular (typically free) software. Developers hide 'bundled' apps within 'Custom/Advanced' settings of the download or installation processes. Many users rush and skip these sections, thus exposing their systems to risk of various infections and compromising their privacy.
The main reasons for computer infections are poor knowledge and careless behavior. The key to safety is caution. Therefore, carefully analyze each window of the download/installation dialogs and opt-out of all additionally-included programs. We also strongly recommend that you download your software from official sources only and, preferably, using a direct download links (most third party downloaders/installers are monetized using the 'bundling' method). Intrusive ads often look legitimate, however, they redirect to dubious websites (gambling, pornography, etc.) If you experience these redirects, uninstall all suspicious programs/browser add-ons.
Fake Flash Player update promoting COINMINER:
Another variant of a fake flash player update pop-up distributing Coinminer malware:
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:
Manual malware removal is a complicated task, usually it's better to let antivirus or anti-malware programs do it 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's an example of a suspicious program running on user's computer:
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:
Download a program called Autoruns. This program shows auto-start applications, Registry and file system locations:
Restart 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.
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.
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.
Video showing how to start Windows 10 in 'Safe Mode with Networking':
Extract the downloaded archive and run Autoruns.exe file.
In 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.
Check the list provided by Autoruns application and locate the malware file that you want to eliminate.
You should write down it full path and name. Note that some malware hides their process names under legitimate Windows process names. At this stage it's very important to avoid removing system files. After you locate he suspicious program you want to remove right click your mouse over it's name and choose 'Delete'
After removing the malware through Autoruns application (this ensures that the malware won't 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 file of the malware be sure to remove it.
Reboot your computer in normal mode. Following these steps should help remove any malware from your computer. Note that manual threat removal requires advanced computer skills, it's recommended to leave malware removal to antivirus and anti-malware programs. These steps might not work with advanced malware infections. As always it's better to avoid getting infected that try to remove malware afterwards. To keep your computer safe be sure to install 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.