- Bitcoin Miner virus is general name malware that steals computer’s resources to generate cryptocurrency.
- A dangerous crypto mining malware mostly infects through downloads and browser-based attacks.
- Slow performance, lagging, and overheating are warning signs of mining malware infection.
As long as Bitcoin grows in value, its mining will also rise. But as legal mining increases, so does the illegal. The worst thing here is that any of us may become a victim of crypto mining cybercrime.
Malicious cryptocurrency mining, or in other words cryptojacking, is a growing threat for both businesses and individual users. The unauthorized malware exploits computers or mobile devices to mine digital currencies. And the victims do not even notice it.
So, how to tell if you have a Bitcoin Miner virus? Let’s have a deeper look at how the Bitcoin Miner virus works and how we can identify and remove it.
What is the Bitcoin Miner virus?
BitCoinMiner is a generic name for various cryptocurrency-mining viruses. At first glance, the name suggests that these viruses mine only Bitcoin cryptocurrency, however, cybercriminals also attempt to mine other cryptocurrencies, such as Monero, Ethereum, etc.
Bitcoin Miner virus, cryptocurrency mining malware, or cryptojacking. Whatever you call it, it is the same form of cybercrime when fraudsters infect vulnerable computers with malware to steal computer processing power for illegal crypto mining.
Cybercriminals behind crypto mining viruses act with the purpose of profit. Mining lucrative cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin requires powerful and expensive ASIC mining hardware to become profitable. But as long as cryptocurrencies can be mined with processors (CPU) and graphics cards (GPU), the fraudsters utilize them as a cheap alternative. They simply target computing resources and steal power from thousands of unsuspecting users.
The principle here is simple. When a certain device is infected with cryptojacking malware, it gets added to a pool to work on the task. In a meantime, fraudsters earn profit with almost no costs to themselves. And although the name of the Bitcoin Miner virus suggests it mines only Bitcoins, criminals do mine other digital currencies like Ethereum or Monero.
How does the Bitcoin Miner virus spread?
Cryptojacking attacks are one of the most common cybersecurity threats. Crypto mining malware can be written in different programming languages and easily infect devices through multiple ways: from downloads to browsing on the compromised website. Bitcoin Miner virus can even be embedded in Trojan Horse viruses.
However, the most used methods are the following:
- Drive-by-download attacks. A popular form of cryptojacking involves social engineering attacks. Victims are tricked to download legitimate-looking files that are infected with hidden malware. Such viruses can be plugged in online ads, email attachments, various plugins, and extensions or downloaded with a free of charge software.
- Browser-based attacks. The attack is implemented by putting malicious crypto-mining code into a webpage. The code automatically runs every time when the victims open their browsers and visit a particular website. In this case, the victim’s computer stores no malware, but its resources are still exploited when opening an infected website.
How Bitcoin Miner malware affects devices?
As you may know, cryptocurrency mining requires a vast amount of computing power. It is necessary to solve mathematical puzzles and confirm new crypto transaction blocks.
Bitcoin Miner virus makes the computer work at its full capacity and slows down its performance. A device loads slowly and lags even in dealing with simple tasks. The continuous performance in such conditions wears out the device over time.
Simultaneously working at full capacity increases the risk of overheating, which leads to the reduced lifetime of the processor, graphics cards, or memory.
How to tell if you have a Bitcoin Miner virus?
Crypto mining malware might be difficult to detect for those with poor skills in IT or cybersecurity. However, there are general indicators of how to tell if you have a Bitcoin Miner virus.
If your computer started to act strangely, it’s performance slowed up or dozens of spams pop-up on your screen, the possibility of being infected with a virus is highly possible. To be sure you should know how to identify the warning signals and how to inspect them.
The common symptoms alarming the possible crypto-mining malware infection threat are the following:
- High CPU usage
- Slow performance, lagging
- Increased internet traffic
After you have identified the concerning signals, it’s worth running a manual inspection to verify them. However, not all of these signals can be checked by yourself, and need antivirus software and a more professional approach.
Nevertheless, here are the steps on how to check for the crypto mining viruses on your PC or mobile device.
How to check if you have been cryptojacked?
Check the CPU temperature
A device runs at a full capacity when mining a cryptocurrency. This leads to possible overheating, and the increased temperature of the CPU is a good indicator here.
The infected PC works slower and louder. If you witness the same behavior on your computer, check up the temperature of its processor (CPU). Here is how you can do this on the Windows operating system:
- Open the Task Manager (press ctrl +shift +esc).
- Click on the Performance tab.
- Check up the utilization of the CPU. The percentage above 80%-90% when no other programs are running indicates a serious danger of infection.
Devices running on macOS are vulnerable as well. There is enough crypto-mining malware that targets Apple devices. If you’re using macOS, complete the following steps to check up the temperature:
- Open Applications > Utilities > Activity Monitor.
- Check the CPU tab.
The healthy temperature for your CPU should be from 45°C to 65°C. If the number is above the specified level, there might be a risk of malware infection.
Check the network usage
While there are dozens of programs running on the computer, there is a chance that any of them can be accessing the internet without you even knowing about it.
Poor media streaming lags in online gaming sessions or other noticeably slowed down activities on the internet alert something is wrong. Unless there are problems with the network connection itself. However, in many cases, the unusually high network traffic on your PC or mobile device hints at a malware infection.
Monitoring all the internet traffic on your devices is important. Although it usually requires a special network monitoring software like SolarWinds, DataDog, or Azure Network Watcher for comprehensive insights on your PC performance.
But before purchasing one, you can quickly run your own inspections. Here is how to check network usage on Windows 10:
- Open Task Manager > App history.
- Check up the Network section.
This way you can check up on which applications are using the network since the day when the last monitoring was done. However, Task Manager only allows tracking the Universal Windows Platform (UWP) applications, which does not include desktop apps.
To monitor the network usage on desktop applications, complete the following steps:
- Open Settings > Network & internet > Data usage.
- Click on View usage per app to check network usage on each application.
MacOS users can monitor the network usage on their computers by following the instructions below:
- Open Applications > Utilities > Activity Monitor.
- Choose the Network section.
- Click on Sent Bytes. The list will rank apps from highest to lowest to see which applications are using the network.
Install anti-crypto mining browser extensions
Another form of cryptojacking attack is browser-based mining malware. It injects the malicious script on websites or on malicious ads that are placed across multiple web pages.
The script activates anytime the victim opens the infected site or when the ads pop up in the browser. In the meantime, the user whose device is mining digital coins and sending them to the hacker’s server has no idea of what’s going on.
The only way to protect from browser-based miner malware is to install the cryptojacking blockers. The browser extensions like NoCoin, MinerBlock, or Malwarebytes block crypto coin miners from using the computer’s processing power.
How to remove a Bitcoin Miner virus?
Illegal cryptocurrency mining is cybercrime and could be fought with by familiar means like various antivirus programs or complex manual removal. However, Bitcoin Miner Virus is a fileless malware. This means it does not leave traces and is especially difficult to detect.
Manual removal of the Bitcoin Miner Virus requires in-depth technical knowledge and is a far more sophisticated process than simply deleting the infected files. The process involves engaging with sensitive registry entries where the incorrect approach could cause irreparable damage and the device can no longer function.
An efficient antimalware software would be a much better option. Keep in mind that not all traditional antivirus software options can identify and remove Bitcoin Miner Virus.
Keep in mind that not all antivirus software options are capable of identifying and removing the Bitcoin Miner virus. This malware is fileless and programs that seek for malware based on the definitions of a virus can not detect it. To eliminate crypto-mining malware, scan your computer with legitimate security software like Comodo Antivirus, SpyHunter, or Malwarebytes that removes all types of malware including the fileless one.
How to prevent the Bitcoin Miner virus?
Cryptojacking attacks are a serious threat especially at a time when digital currencies are on a long-term uptrend. Installing security software can help to eliminate the risk of being exploited, but remaining cautious and self-aware is not less important.
There are still ways of how to tell if you have a Bitcoin Miner virus. Keep track of your device performance and inspect the warning signals. Accordingly, update your device regularly, avoid suspicious websites, email attachments, and links, use pop-up blockers, or install the anti-crypto mining browser extensions for even higher protection levels.