THREAT REMOVAL

Browser Miner Virus – How to Detect and Remove

Statistics from November this year revealed that 2,531 of the top 3 million websites are running the Coinhive miner, which amounts to 1 in 1,000 websites. To no one’s surprise, BitTorrent websites have been the main perpetrators. But they are not the only ones, as many other, often unexpected, websites are using users’ computer resources to mine for cryptocurrencies. Since the so-called browser miner virus is an emerging threat leveraging PC’s resources for crypto mining, users definitely need to know how to protect themselves from it. This article aims to help remove a browser miner virus from a computer.

Threat Summary

Name Browser miner virus
Type Cryptocurrency Miner
Short Description A browser miner virus may exploit the CPU, GPU and other PC resources for the purpose of mining for various cryptocurrencies.
Symptoms Increased CPU and GPU usage and overheating.
Distribution Method Spam Emails, Email Attachments, Executable files, Hacked Websites
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User Experience Join Our Forum to Discuss Browser miner virus.

Browser Miner Virus – Distribution Techniques

This type of threat is not entirely new to the threat landscape but it’s the first time researchers witness browser miner attacks at such a scale. Even though the exact distribution method of this threat is not yet known, researchers consider that the massively deployed methods for malware distribution are valid here as well. What does this mean?

A browser miner virus could be spread in the wild with the help of automatically generated email messages. This is an easy way to send the virus to as many victims as possible. The virus maybe attached to the email, or it could be present in the form of a script. The good news here is that email services are typically prepared to detect the signatures of the virus, and the messages may not reach the inbox if they were timely labeled as spam.

Nonetheless, this is not the only distribution form. The browser miner virus may be distributed through hyperlinks that are inserted in the email message itself. To lure the potential victim into clicking on it, the link may be disguised as something familiar to the user. Such redirects may send the user directly to hacked websites leveraged for cryptocurrency mining.

Other methods used for the distribution of browser miner viruses include the use of malicious websites and download (p2p) networks. Such websites are often used to spread malware across users worldwide, and the browser miner virus is not an exclusion of this well-known practice. The virus may even be hiding in infected documents, like spreadsheets, rich text documents, and databases. These could be altered to trigger the virus when the built-in scripts are activated. What usually happens in this case is that the user opens a notification prompting them to run macros, or scripts. Such an action will definitely lead to an infection with a browser miner virus.

Interestingly, browser hijackers may also be deployed in the distribution of miners – in the form of add-ons that are available for most browsers available to users, the most popular ones (Firefox, Chrome, Explorer, Edge, etc.) inclusive. If the user is tricked into installing such a malicious add-on (browser extension), he may end up being redirected to a hacked site leveraged for mining. However, according to the configuration of the hijacker, it can also perform other suspicious activities, like obtaining user login credentials, history, and similar.

Browser Miner Virus – Purpose, Capabilities, Deployment

It’s only logical to ask why this type of virus was created in the first place. The sole purpose of such a miner is to exploit the PC resources of unsuspecting users. These resources could be either or both the CPU and GPU of the system, depending on the cryptocurrency that the virus is mining for.

Another reason is that it is quite easy to start such a mining campaign. There is a ton of web services that can generate automatically compatible JavaScript code that will later be used in the mining operation. These services are prepared and they can support a variety of cryptocurrencies – like Bitcoin, Monero and Ethereum, among many others. These services can even provide tutorials to new beginners to help them initiate the mining operations. How is the money transferred? There may be some other options in combination with the unique wallet address. This is where the “crypto money” is going. In addition, CMS platforms can even provide plugins that make the whole process of code implementation quite easier.

Browser Miner Virus – Behavior and Consequences

Most browser miner virus types share an average behavioral pattern which leads to several outcomes for the user. One of these outcomes is the cross-browser contamination. What does this mean? Simply said, cross-browser contamination means that each subsequent browser window will escalate the pressure on the hardware resources and will divide them to several miner processes simultaneously. This leads to a problem known as resources allocation. This issue affects the whole operating system, be it Windows, Mac OS X, or Gnu/Linux. Unfortunately, there are miners available for each of these operating systems. As a result, the processor, memory and graphics card of a machine can be affected.

Moreover, there are two types of the browser miner virus, outlined as stand-alone miners and malware modules. As the name suggests, the second type is far more dangerous, compared to the stand-alone miners which are basically basic types. If the miner is deployed through malware module, it means that it has been implemented in ransomware, like an addition to the original components. This means that the system will be affected by both the ransomware and the miner. In order to avoid such bad infections, users need to think of their protection in advance.

Users should also keep in mind that, like every other virus out there, browser miner viruses are also evolving. Advanced JavaScript code may be used to allow the miner process to continue “working” even after the browser window is closed.

This is known as drive-by cryptomining, or cryptojacking. In a recent infection case researchers stumbled upon a technique that enabled hackers to keep mining for Monero even after the browser window was closed. The research was focused on the Chrome browser but other browsers may have been affected as well, with different outcomes for each browser.

What happens after a user visits a website, which is silently loading the mining code is that the CPU activity is increasing but it is not maxing out. After the user leaves the particular site via closing the Chrome window, his machine’s CPU activity remains higher than usual. This is a sign that the cryptomining process is not resumed with the closing of the browser.

Browser Miner Virus – Removal

There are different ways to deal with a browser miner virus depending on its type and capabilities. The more sophisticated the miner is, as in the recent cases of drive-by cryptomining, the more challenging it would be to deal with it.

If the miner is a basic one, the user may install a specific extension according to his browser that would stop the mining in the web browser. There is also the option to manually block domains that are associated with cryptocurrency mining.

However, if the system is affected by malware or ransomware that was equipped with a browser miner virus, then it is advisable to use a proper anti-malware solution to deal with all of the infections.

Milena Dimitrova

Milena Dimitrova

An inspired writer and content manager who has been with SensorsTechForum since the beginning. Focused on user privacy and malware development, she strongly believes in a world where cybersecurity plays a central role. If common sense makes no sense, she will be there to take notes. Those notes may later turn into articles! Follow Milena @Milenyim

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Windows Mac OS X Google Chrome Mozilla Firefox Microsoft Edge Safari Internet Explorer

How to Remove Browser miner virus from Windows.


Step 1: Boot Your PC In Safe Mode to isolate and remove Browser miner virus

OFFER

Manual Removal Usually Takes Time and You Risk Damaging Your Files If Not Careful!
We Recommend To Scan Your PC with SpyHunter

Keep in mind, that SpyHunter’s scanner is only for malware detection. If SpyHunter detects malware on your PC, you will need to purchase SpyHunter's malware removal tool to remove the malware threats. Read our SpyHunter 5 review. Click on the corresponding links to check SpyHunter's EULA, Privacy Policy and Threat Assessment Criteria

1. Hold Windows key() + R


2. The "Run" Window will appear. In it, type "msconfig" and click OK.


3. Go to the "Boot" tab. There select "Safe Boot" and then click "Apply" and "OK".
Tip: Make sure to reverse those changes by unticking Safe Boot after that, because your system will always boot in Safe Boot from now on.


4. When prompted, click on "Restart" to go into Safe Mode.


5. You can recognise Safe Mode by the words written on the corners of your screen.


Step 2: Uninstall Browser miner virus and related software from Windows

Here is a method in few easy steps that should be able to uninstall most programs. No matter if you are using Windows 10, 8, 7, Vista or XP, those steps will get the job done. Dragging the program or its folder to the recycle bin can be a very bad decision. If you do that, bits and pieces of the program are left behind, and that can lead to unstable work of your PC, errors with the file type associations and other unpleasant activities. The proper way to get a program off your computer is to Uninstall it. To do that:


1. Hold the Windows Logo Button and "R" on your keyboard. A Pop-up window will appear.


2. In the field type in "appwiz.cpl" and press ENTER.


3. This will open a window with all the programs installed on the PC. Select the program that you want to remove, and press "Uninstall"
Follow the instructions above and you will successfully uninstall most programs.


Step 3: Clean any registries, created by Browser miner virus on your computer.

The usually targeted registries of Windows machines are the following:

  • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run
  • HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run
  • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\RunOnce
  • HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\RunOnce

You can access them by opening the Windows registry editor and deleting any values, created by Browser miner virus there. This can happen by following the steps underneath:

1. Open the Run Window again, type "regedit" and click OK.


2. When you open it, you can freely navigate to the Run and RunOnce keys, whose locations are shown above.


3. You can remove the value of the virus by right-clicking on it and removing it.
Tip: To find a virus-created value, you can right-click on it and click "Modify" to see which file it is set to run. If this is the virus file location, remove the value.

IMPORTANT!
Before starting "Step 4", please boot back into Normal mode, in case you are currently in Safe Mode.
This will enable you to install and use SpyHunter 5 successfully.

Step 4: Scan for Browser miner virus with SpyHunter Anti-Malware Tool

1. Click on the "Download" button to proceed to SpyHunter's download page.


It is recommended to run a scan before purchasing the full version of the software to make sure that the current version of the malware can be detected by SpyHunter. Click on the corresponding links to check SpyHunter's EULA, Privacy Policy and Threat Assessment Criteria.


2. After you have installed SpyHunter, wait for it to update automatically.

SpyHunter5-update-2018


3. After the update process has finished, click on the 'Malware/PC Scan' tab. A new window will appear. Click on 'Start Scan'.

SpyHunter5-Free-Scan-2018


4. After SpyHunter has finished scanning your PC for any files of the associated threat and found them, you can try to get them removed automatically and permanently by clicking on the 'Next' button.

SpyHunter-5-Free-Scan-Next-2018

If any threats have been removed, it is highly recommended to restart your PC.


Windows Mac OS X Google Chrome Mozilla Firefox Microsoft Edge Safari Internet Explorer

Get rid of Browser miner virus from Mac OS X.


Step 1: Uninstall Browser miner virus and remove related files and objects

OFFER
Manual Removal Usually Takes Time and You Risk Damaging Your Files If Not Careful!
We Recommend To Scan Your Mac with SpyHunter for Mac
Keep in mind, that SpyHunter for Mac needs to purchased to remove the malware threats. Click on the corresponding links to check SpyHunter’s EULA and Privacy Policy


1. Hit the ⇧+⌘+U keys to open Utilities. Another way is to click on “Go” and then click “Utilities”, like the image below shows:


2. Find Activity Monitor and double-click it:


3. In the Activity Monitor look for any suspicious processes, belonging or related to Browser miner virus:

Tip: To quit a process completely, choose the “Force Quit” option.


4. Click on the "Go" button again, but this time select Applications. Another way is with the ⇧+⌘+A buttons.


5. In the Applications menu, look for any suspicious app or an app with a name, similar or identical to Browser miner virus. If you find it, right-click on the app and select “Move to Trash”.


6: Select Accounts, after which click on the Login Items preference. Your Mac will then show you a list of items that start automatically when you log in. Look for any suspicious apps identical or similar to Browser miner virus. Check the app you want to stop from running automatically and then select on the Minus (“-“) icon to hide it.


7: Remove any left-over files that might be related to this threat manually by following the sub-steps below:

  • Go to Finder.
  • In the search bar type the name of the app that you want to remove.
  • Above the search bar change the two drop down menus to “System Files” and “Are Included” so that you can see all of the files associated with the application you want to remove. Bear in mind that some of the files may not be related to the app so be very careful which files you delete.
  • If all of the files are related, hold the ⌘+A buttons to select them and then drive them to “Trash”.

In case you cannot remove Browser miner virus via Step 1 above:

In case you cannot find the virus files and objects in your Applications or other places we have shown above, you can manually look for them in the Libraries of your Mac. But before doing this, please read the disclaimer below:

Disclaimer! If you are about to tamper with Library files on Mac, be sure to know the name of the virus file, because if you delete the wrong file, it may cause irreversible damage to your MacOS. Continue on your own responsibility!

1: Click on "Go" and Then "Go to Folder" as shown underneath:

2: Type in "/Library/LauchAgents/" and click Ok:

3: Delete all of the virus files that have similar or the same name as Browser miner virus. If you believe there is no such file, do not delete anything.

You can repeat the same procedure with the following other Library directories:

→ ~/Library/LaunchAgents
/Library/LaunchDaemons

Tip: ~ is there on purpose, because it leads to more LaunchAgents.


Step 2: Scan for and remove Browser miner virus files from your Mac

When you are facing problems on your Mac as a result of unwanted scripts and programs such as Browser miner virus, the recommended way of eliminating the threat is by using an anti-malware program. SpyHunter for Mac offers advanced security features along with other modules that will improve your Mac’s security and protect it in the future.


Click the button below below to download SpyHunter for Mac and scan for Browser miner virus:


Download

SpyHunter for Mac



Windows Mac OS X Google Chrome Mozilla Firefox Microsoft Edge Safari Internet Explorer


Remove Browser miner virus from Google Chrome.


Step 1: Start Google Chrome and open the drop menu


Step 2: Move the cursor over "Tools" and then from the extended menu choose "Extensions"


Step 3: From the opened "Extensions" menu locate the unwanted extension and click on its "Remove" button.


Step 4: After the extension is removed, restart Google Chrome by closing it from the red "X" button at the top right corner and start it again.


Windows Mac OS X Google Chrome Mozilla Firefox Microsoft Edge Safari Internet Explorer


Erase Browser miner virus from Mozilla Firefox.

Step 1: Start Mozilla Firefox. Open the menu window


Step 2: Select the "Add-ons" icon from the menu.


Step 3: Select the unwanted extension and click "Remove"


Step 4: After the extension is removed, restart Mozilla Firefox by closing it from the red "X" button at the top right corner and start it again.



Windows Mac OS X Google Chrome Mozilla Firefox Microsoft Edge Safari Internet Explorer


Uninstall Browser miner virus from Microsoft Edge.


Step 1: Start Edge browser.


Step 2: Open the drop menu by clicking on the icon at the top right corner.


Step 3: From the drop menu select "Extensions".


Step 4: Choose the suspected malicious extension you want to remove and then click on the gear icon.


Step 5: Remove the malicious extension by scrolling down and then clicking on Uninstall.



Windows Mac OS X Google Chrome Mozilla Firefox Microsoft Edge Safari Internet Explorer


Remove Browser miner virus from Safari.


Step 1: Start the Safari app.


Step 2: After hovering your mouse cursor to the top of the screen, click on the Safari text to open its drop down menu.


Step 3: From the menu, click on "Preferences".

stf-safari preferences


Step 4: After that, select the 'Extensions' Tab.

stf-safari-extensions


Step 5: Click once on the extension you want to remove.


Step 6: Click 'Uninstall'.

stf-safari uninstall

A pop-up window will appear asking for confirmation to uninstall the extension. Select 'Uninstall' again, and the Browser miner virus will be removed.


How to Reset Safari
IMPORTANT: Before resetting Safari make sure you back up all your saved passwords within the browser in case you forget them.

Start Safari and then click on the gear leaver icon.

Click the Reset Safari button and you will reset the browser.


Windows Mac OS X Google Chrome Mozilla Firefox Microsoft Edge Safari Internet Explorer


Eliminate Browser miner virus from Internet Explorer.


Step 1: Start Internet Explorer.


Step 2: Click on the gear icon labeled 'Tools' to open the drop menu and select 'Manage Add-ons'


Step 3: In the 'Manage Add-ons' window.


Step 4: Select the extension you want to remove and then click 'Disable'. A pop-up window will appear to inform you that you are about to disable the selected extension, and some more add-ons might be disabled as well. Leave all the boxes checked, and click 'Disable'.


Step 5: After the unwanted extension has been removed, restart Internet Explorer by closing it from the red 'X' button located at the top right corner and start it again.


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