How to remove CPU Miner & GPU Miner Trojans

  • August 28, 2017

CPU and GPU Miners are Trojans that use your computer's resources without your knowledge to mine cryptocurrencies such as Monero, Bitcoin, DarkCoin, and others. While a person using a miner to mine a cryptocurrency is entirely legitimate, if a Trojan does it without a person's knowledge then it is considered malicious activity.

When a miner mines for coins they can either use the computer's graphics card, GPU mining, or the computer's processor, or CPU mining. In my experience, trojanized miners more commonly use CPU mining as every infected computer has a CPU that can be used to mine coins. On the other hand, not all computers have a compatible graphics card that can be used for GPU mining.

As miners use a computer's CPU and GPU constantly when mining for coins, it leads to increased electrical usage and prolonged periods of high heat. This type of usage can quickly damage a computer's CPU and graphics card and cause them to fail earlier than normal. Furthermore, the high electrical usage will increase electrical bills for computers that have a miner constantly being used. Due to this it is very important to remove unwanted miners as quickly as possible if they are detected.

You can see an example of a miner using almost all of the capacity of a CPU in the image below.

  • Moloko Miner
  • Acnom Miner
  • CPU.exe Miner

How can you tell if a CPU or GPU Miner is Installed?

Unfortunately, cryptocurrency miners are not very easy to spot as they provide no indication that a program is running. In many cases there are no screens displayed, no uninstall entries in the Uninstall Programs control panel, and no prompts that the program is running.

Therefore, the only way to really tell if a miner is installed is by symptoms that may be exhibited on the computer. Below is a list of symptoms that may indicate that a miner is installed. It should be noted that some of the symptoms below could be caused by other types of malware and even faulty software.

  • Processes using large amounts of the CPU processor. For example, in the images above you can see miners using more than 90% of the CPU's processing power.
  • Unkown processes running in Task Manager.
  • Computer begins to act sluggish or unresponsive.
  • Windows are slow to open or tasks take a while to respond to your requests.
  • When you type, the text takes longer to appear on the screen.
  • Games become unusable, wont start, or stutter.

How are GPU and CPU Miners installed on a Computer?

Miners are installed through a variety of methods. One method is through Trojans that download and install the miner on a computer. Another method is through the use of adware bundles that come with free software you download from the Internet. This is why it's very important to make sure you scan any program that you download using VirusTotal or your security software in order to make sure it's safe to execute.

As you can see, Miner Trojans are designed to steals your computer's resources and your electricity and profit from it. In order to make a computer operate normally again and protect the computer's hardware, you can use the guide below to check for Miner Trojans for free.

CPU Miner & GPU Miner Trojans Removal Options

Self Help Guide

This guide contains advanced information, but has been written in such a way so that anyone can follow it. Please ensure your data is backed up before proceeding.

If you are uncomfortable making changes to your computer or following these steps, do not worry! Instead you can get free one-on-one help by asking in the forums.

To remove CPU Miner & GPU Miner Trojans, follow these steps:

1

This removal guide may appear overwhelming due to the amount of the steps and numerous programs that will be used. It was only written this way to provide clear, detailed, and easy to understand instructions that anyone can use to remove this infection for free. Before using this guide, we suggest that you read it once and download all necessary tools to your desktop. After doing so, please print this page as you may need to close your browser window or reboot your computer.

2

To terminate any programs that may interfere with the removal process we must first download the Rkill program. Rkill will search your computer for active malware infections and attempt to terminate them so that they wont interfere with the removal process. To do this, please download RKill to your desktop from the following link.

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Rkill

When at the download page, click on the Download Now button labeled iExplore.exe. When you are prompted where to save it, please save it on your desktop.

3

Once it is downloaded, double-click on the iExplore.exe icon in order to automatically attempt to stop any processes associated with CPU Miner & GPU Miner Trojans and other malware. Please be patient while the program looks for various malware programs and ends them. When it has finished, the black window will automatically close and a log file will open. Please review the log file and then close so you can continue with the next step. If you have problems running RKill, you can download the other renamed versions of RKill from the rkill download page. All of the files are renamed copies of RKill, which you can try instead. Please note that the download page will open in a new browser window or tab.

Do not reboot your computer after running RKill as the malware programs will start again.

4

At this point you should download Malwarebytes Anti-Malware, or MBAM, to scan your computer for any infections, adware, or potentially unwanted programs that may be present. Please download Malwarebytes from the following location and save it to your desktop:

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Malwarebytes Anti-Malware
5

Once downloaded, close all programs and Windows on your computer, including this one.

6

Double-click on the icon on your desktop named mb3-setup-1878.1878-3.2.2.2029.exe. This will start the installation of MBAM onto your computer.

7

When the installation begins, keep following the prompts in order to continue with the installation process. Do not make any changes to default settings and when the program has finished installing, make sure you leave Launch Malwarebytes Anti-Malware checked. Then click on the Finish button. If MalwareBytes prompts you to reboot, please do not do so.

8

MBAM will now start and you will be at the main screen as shown below.

Malwarebytes Anti-Malware

We now need to enable rootkit scanning to detect the largest amount of malware and unwanted programs that is possible with MalwareBytes. To do this, click on the Settings button on the left side of the screen and you will be brought to the general settings section.

Now click on the Protection tab at the top of the screen. You will now be shown the settings MalwareBytes will use when scanning your computer.

Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Detection and Protection Settings Page

At this screen, please enable the Scan for rootkits setting by clicking on the toggle switch so it turns green.

9

Now that you have enabled rootkit scanning, click on the Scan button to go to the scan screen.

Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Scan Screen

Make sure Threat Scan is selected and then click on the Start Scan button. If there is an update available for Malwarebytes it will automatically download and install it before performing the scan.

10

MBAM will now start scanning your computer for malware. This process can take quite a while, so we suggest you do something else and periodically check on the status of the scan to see when it is finished.

Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Scanning

11

When MBAM is finished scanning it will display a screen that displays any malware, adware, or potentially unwanted programs that it has detected. Please note that the items found may be different than what is shown in the image below due to the guide being updated for newer versions of MBAM.

MalwareBytes Scan Results

You should now click on the Remove Selected button to remove all the selected items. MBAM will now delete all of the files and registry keys and add them to the programs quarantine. When removing the files, MBAM may require a reboot in order to remove some of them. If it displays a message stating that it needs to reboot, please allow it to do so. Once your computer has rebooted, and you are logged in, please continue with the rest of the steps.

12

You can now exit the MBAM program.

13

Now please download Emsisoft Anti-Malware, which will scan for and remove any other adware that may have been bundled with this adware. Please download and save the Emsisoft Anti-Malware setup program to your desktop from the link below:

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Emsisoft Anti-Malware

The download is fairly large, so please be patient while it downloads.

14

Once the file has been downloaded, double-click on the EmsisoftAntiMalwareSetup_bc.exe icon to start the program. If Windows Smart Screen issues an alert, please allow it to run anyway.

If the setup program displays an alert about safe mode, please click on the Yes button to continue. You should now see a dialog asking you to agree to a license agreement. Please access the agreement and click on the Install button to continue with the installation.

15

You will eventually get to a screen asking what type of license you wish to use with Emsisoft Anti-Malware.

Select License Screen

If you have an existing license key or want to buy a new license key, please select the appropriate option. Otherwise, select the Freeware or Test for 30 days, free option. If you receive an alert after clicking this button that your trial has expired, just click on the Yes button to enter freeware mode, which still allows the cleaning of infections.

16

You will now be at a screen asking if you wish to join Emsisoft's Anti-Malware network. Read the descriptions and select your choice to continue.

17

Emsisoft Anti-Malware will now begin to update it's virus detections.

Downloading Updates

Please be patient as it may take a few minutes for the updates to finish downloading.

18

When the updates are completed, you will be at a screen asking if you wish to enable PUPs detection. We strongly suggest that you select Enable PUPs Detection to protect your computer from nuisance programs such as toolbars and adware.

19

You will now be at the final installation screen. Please click on the Finish Installation button end the setup and automatically launch Emsisoft Anti-Malware.

20

Emsisoft Anti-Malware will now start and display the start screen.

Emsisoft Anti-Malware Start Screen

At this screen, please left-click on the Scan section.

21

You will now be at a screen asking what type of scan you would like to perform.

Scan selection screen

Please select the Malware Scan option to begin scanning your computer for infections. The Malware Scan option will take longer than the Quick Scan, but will also be the most thorough. As you are here to clean infections, it is worth the wait to make sure your computer is properly scanned.

22

Emsisoft Anti-Malware will now start to scan your computer for rootkits and malware. Please note that the detected infections in the image below may be different than what this guide is for.

Scanning screen

Please be patient while Emsisoft Anti-Malware scans your computer.

23

When the scan has finished, the program will display the scan results that shows what infections where found. Please note, due to an updated version of Emsisoft Anti-Malware, the screenshot below may look different than the rest of the guide.

Scan Results

Now click on the Quarantine Selected button, which will remove the infections and place them in the program's quarantine. You will now be at the last screen of the Emsisoft Anti-Malware setup program, which you can close. If Emsisoft prompts you to reboot your computer to finish the clean up process, please allow it to do so. Otherwise you can close the program.

24

At this point you should download Zemana AntiMalware, or ZAM, in order to scan your computer for any any infections, adware, or potentially unwanted programs that may be present. Please download Zemana AntiMalware from the following location and save it to your desktop:

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Zemana AntiMalware
25

Once downloaded, close all programs and open windows on your computer.

26

Now double-click on the icon on your desktop named Zemana.AntiMalware.Setup.exe. This will start the installation of Zemana AntiMalware onto your computer.

27

When the installation begins, keep following the prompts in order to continue with the installation process. Do not make any changes to default settings and when the program has finished installing, Zemana will automatically start and display the main screen.

28

You will now be at the main screen for Zemana AntiMalware as shown below.

Zemana AntiMalware

Above the Scan button, please change the scan type to Deep Scan and then click on the Scan button to start the malware removal scan.

29

Zemana AntiMalware will now start scanning your computer for malware, adware, and potentially unwanted programs. This process can take quite a while, so we suggest you do something else and periodically check on the status of the scan to see when it is finished.

Zemana AntiMalware Scan

30

When Zemana has finished finished scanning it will display a screen that displays any programs that have been detected. Please note that the items found may be different than what is shown in the image below.

Zemana AntiMalware Scan Results

Review the scan results and when you are ready to continue with the cleanup process, click on the Next button to delete or repair all of the the selected results. Once you click on the Next button, Zemana will remove any unwanted files and fix any modified legitimate files. If you receive a warning that Zemana needs to close your open browsers, please close any web browsers that may be open and then click on the OK button to continue.

Zemana will now create a System Restore Point and remove the detected files and repair any files that were modified.

31

When the process is complete, you will be shown a screen that says Completed. At this screen, you can now close the Zemana AntiMalware screen and continue with the rest of the instructions.

32

Now please download AdwCleaner and save it to your desktop. AdwCleaner will scan your computer for adware programs that may have been installed on your computer without your knowledge. You can download AdwCleaner from the following URL:

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AdwCleaner
33

When AdwCleaner has finished downloading, please double-click on the AdwCleaner.exe icon that now appears on your desktop. Once you double-click on the icon the AdwCleaner program will open and you will be presented with the program's license agreement. After you read it, click on the I agree button if you wish to continue. Otherwise, click on the I disagree button to close the program. If Windows prompts you as to whether or not you wish to run AdwCleaner, please allow it to run.

If you selected to continue, you will be presented with the start screen as shown below.

AdwCleaner Start Screen

34

Now click on the Scan button in AdwCleaner. The program will now start to search for known adware programs that may be installed on your computer. When it has finished it will display all of the items it has found in Results section of the screen above. Please look through the results and try to determine if the programs that are listed contain ones that you do not want installed. If you find programs that you need to keep, then uncheck the entries associated with them.

For many people, the contents of the Results section may appear confusing. Unless you see a program name that you know should not be removed,please continue with the next step.

35

To remove the adware programs that were detected in the previous step, please click on the Clean button on the AdwCleaner screen. AdwCleaner will now prompt you to save any open files or data as the program will need to close any open programs before it starts to clean.

Please save your work and then click on the OK button. AdwCleaner will now delete all detected adware from your computer. When it is done it will display an alert that explains what PUPs (Potentially Unwanted Programs) and Adware are. Please read through this information and then press the OK button. You will now be presented with an alert that states AdwCleaner needs to reboot your computer.

AdwCleaner Reboot Prompt

Please click on the OK button to let AdwCleaner reboot your computer.

36

When your computer reboots and you are logged in, AdwCleaner will automatically open a log file that contains the files, registry keys, and programs that were removed from your computer.

AdwCleaner Log

Please review this log file and then close the Notepad Window.

37

As many malware and unwanted programs are installed through vulnerabilities found in out-dated and insecure programs, it is strongly suggested that you use Secunia PSI to scan for vulnerable programs on your computer. A tutorial on how to use Secunia PSI to scan for vulnerable programs can be found here:

How to detect vulnerable and out-dated programs using Secunia Personal Software Inspector

Your computer should now be free of the CPU Miner & GPU Miner Trojans program. If your current security solution allowed this program on your computer, you may want to consider purchasing the full-featured version of Malwarebytes Anti-Malware to protect against these types of threats in the future.

If you are still having problems with your computer after completing these instructions, then please follow the steps outlined in the topic linked below:

Preparation Guide For Use Before Using Malware Removal Tools and Requesting Help

Are Your Protected?

While Malwarebytes Anti-Malware, Emsisoft Anti-Malware & Zemana AntiMalware will scan and clean a computer for free, the free versions do not offer real-time protection. If you want to be fully protected at all times then it is recommended that you purchase a premium version.

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Malwarebytes Anti-Malware

Purchase the full-featured version of Malwarebytes Anti-Malware, which includes real-time protection, scheduled scanning, and website filtering, to protect yourself against these types of threats in the future!


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Emsisoft Anti-Malware

Purchase the full-featured version of Emsisoft Anti-Malware, which includes real-time protection and behavior blocker, to protect yourself against these types of threats in the future!


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Zemana AntiMalware

Purchase the full-featured version of Zemana AntiMalware, which includes second opinion malware scanner when other solutions do not work, cloud scanning, and super-fast scan time, to protect yourself against these types of threats in the future!

Disclaimer: While we do earn a commission from the sale of the above products, rest assured we only recommend them due to their effectiveness.

This is a self-help guide. Use at your own risk.

BleepingComputer.com can not be held responsible for problems that may occur by using this information. If you would like help with any of these fixes, you can ask for malware removal assistance in our Virus,Trojan,Spyware, and Malware Removal Logs forum.

If you have any questions about this self-help guide then please post those questions in our Am I infected? What do I do? and someone will help you.

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