Update September 2019.
The GhostMiner virus is a stealth Trojan that can infect computer networks and infiltrate both end users and enterprise targets. It takes advantage of the available computer resources in order to generate income for the operators.
|Type||Trojan Horse/CryptoCurrency Miner|
|Short Description||Silently infects your computer after which begins to mine for cryptocurrencies via a fake executable process..|
|Symptoms||A very high resource usage and unusual operating system interaction.|
|Distribution Method||Malicious web links, Malicious Files, Malicious E-Mails|
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|User Experience||Join Our Forum to Discuss GhostMiner.|
GhostMiner – Update September 2019
Trend Micro researchers recently observed that GhostMiner is weaponizing Windows management instrumentation (WMI) objects to achieve fileless persistence, payload mechanisms, and AV-evasion capabilities. This new GhostMiner variant was also observed to modify infected host files that are heavily used by Mykings, PowerGhost, PCASTLE and BULEHERO, Trend Micro said.
GhostMiner was deploned in Monero mining operations. However, the latest infection mechanisms of the malware haven’t been revealed yet. Ealier GhostMiner versions were observed to have used multiple vulnerabilities in MSSQL, phpMyAdmin, and Oracle’s WebLogic to locate susceptible servers.
GhostMiner – How Does It Infect
The GhostMiner Trojan can be distributed using various strategies. Depending on the active hacker campaign the criminals behind it may choose a single strategy or launch several ones at once.
The GhostMiner virus files can be spread as executables files via email messages. The most common method is to insert them as hyperlinks in the body contents. In order to coerce the intended targets into falling victim to the virus the hackers may use various social engineering tricks. For example the message may be pose as an update notification or a software issue alert that asks the users to install an update or application. In related cases the strains can also be accompanied by direct attachments. Related cases include the following:
- Infected Documents — The GhostMiner virus can be embedded as a script in hacker-modified documents. They can be of different types such as presentations, rich text documents and spreadsheets. The infection begins if the users agree to the notification prompt asking them to run the built-in scripts (macros). If this is done the malware is downloaded from a remote site and executed on the local computer.
- Hacker-modified Setup Files — The hackers the threat take legitimate installers of famous software with the intent to scam the intended targets. In the most common case the victim applications are free or trial versions of system utilities, creative apps or computer games.
The GhostMiner malware files can also be spread on hacker-controlled sites. They usually take the legitimate graphics and text from famous portals and create copies of them. Familiar sounding domains are often used to scam the computer users into thinking that they have accessed the vendor’s site or a legitimate download sites. This practice can also be seen on file sharing networks such as BitTorrent.
Another method used by the hackers to distribute the GhostMiner virus is the use of browser hijackers. They represent malware browser plugins that seek to redirect the victim users to a specific hacker-controlled site. They are usually made compatible with the most popular browsers: Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, Opera, Safari and Microsoft Edge. After they have changed several important default settings (default homepage, search engine and new tabs page) they can deliver the GhostMiner virus to the infected hosts.
Miner instances can also be acquired from web scripts. Examples include all sorts of banners, ads and pop-ups that may also inject themselves to legitimate sites via various ad networks.
GhostMiner – More Information and Analysis
The GhostMiner virus is a dangerous cryptocurrency Trojan that has recently been spotted in a worldwide attack. According to the security researchers that analyzed the case the threat is labeled as “critical”. The threat has been found to be able to spread on a global scale using a “fileless” infiltration.
Such viruses have the main goal of infecting the target computers with resource-intensive code that performs complex calculations. As a result the criminal operators generate profit based on the work done. The actual infiltration happens using a several step process that can be further modified according to the individual targets and the relevant attack campaign. The attack begins with the initial infection phase that relies on several PowerShell evasion frameworks. They bypass the usual operating system protection and may also act against common security software: anti-virus programs, sandbox or debug environments and virual machine hosts. The module is designed to bypass or entirely remove the threat. In certain cases the malware may choose to delete itself if it finds that it cannot infect the target computer in a stealth way.
The security experts state that before its signatures were identified none of the major anti-virus vendors were able to pick up the infections using the routine heuristics real-time scan. The reason for this is the fact that the infection happens in memory only — no file interactions are done.
The captured samples have been found to begin the attacks with an information gathering module. It generates a profile of the victim computers based on the acquired data: hardware components and installed software. The researchers uncovered that some of the samples acquired from the search for the presence of the following servers and tools: Oracle WebLogic, MSSQL and phpMyAdmin. This likely means that the malware directed mainly against enterprise networks rather than individual users. It appears that one of the main goals of the threat is to compromise the Oracle WebLogic application. This is done using the reported CVE-2017-10271 advisory. It reads the following:
Vulnerability in the Oracle WebLogic Server component of Oracle Fusion Middleware (subcomponent: WLS Security). Supported versions that are affected are 10.3.6.0.0, 188.8.131.52.0, 184.108.40.206.0 and 220.127.116.11.0. Easily exploitable vulnerability allows unauthenticated attacker with network access via T3 to compromise Oracle WebLogic Server. Successful attacks of this vulnerability can result in takeover of Oracle WebLogic Server. CVSS 3.0 Base Score 7.5 (Availability impacts). CVSS Vector: (CVSS:3.0/AV:N/AC:L/PR:N/UI:N/S:U/C:N/I:N/A:H).
The performed network analysis on the GhostMiner virus reveals that the virus engine constantly probes the IP address of the target machine which leads to the creation of numerous TCP connections until a vulnerability is identified. In order to avoid the port scan detection the hackers encode the bogus messages using Base64. It has been found that malware HTTP request that reference popular web services are used to fool the administrators. A frequent listing is the popular Chinese QQ Internet service. This lead is attributed to the notion that the hacker or criminal collective behind GhostMiner may be from China. e
After the virus has infiltrated the target system it runs a computer audit which seeks to find if there are any other miners installed. If such are found they are entirely removed from the targets.
The GhostMiner virus has the ability to create numerous processes and spawn its own threads using various privilege levels, including administrative ones. As a result it can be used for other criminal activity including the following:
- Data Theft — An information gathering module can be used to generate a profile of the victims. The extracted strings can directly expose the users identity by collecting data such as the victims name, address, phone number, passwords and account credentials.
- Additional Malware Delivery — The virus can be used to deliver other malware.
- System Changes — The GhostMiner virus can lead to dangerous system modifications including Windows Registry changes, a removal of the possibility to enter into boot recovery and etc.
Remove GhostMiner Effectively from Windows
In order to fully get rid of this cryptocurrency miner Trojan, we advise you to follow the removal instructions underneath this article. They are made so that they help you to isolate and then delete the GhostMiner Trojan either manually or automatically. If manual removal represents difficulty for you, experts always advise to perform the removal automatically by running an anti-malware scan via specific software on your PC. Such anti-malware program aims to make sure that the GhostMiner is fully gone and your Windows OS stays safe against any future malware infections.
- Guide 1: How to Remove GhostMiner from Windows.
- Guide 2: Get rid of GhostMiner from Mac OS X.
- Guide 3: Remove GhostMiner from Google Chrome.
- Guide 4: Erase GhostMiner from Mozilla Firefox.
- Guide 5: Uninstall GhostMiner from Microsoft Edge.
- Guide 6: Remove GhostMiner from Safari.
- Guide 7: Eliminate GhostMiner from Internet Explorer.
How to Remove GhostMiner from Windows.
Step 1: Boot Your PC In Safe Mode to isolate and remove GhostMiner
Step 2: Uninstall GhostMiner 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.
Step 3: Clean any registries, created by GhostMiner on your computer.
The usually targeted registries of Windows machines are the following:
You can access them by opening the Windows registry editor and deleting any values, created by GhostMiner there. This can happen by following the steps underneath:
Get rid of GhostMiner from Mac OS X.
Step 1: Uninstall GhostMiner and remove related files and objects
1. Hit the ⇧+⌘+U keys to open Utilities. Another way is to click on “Go” and then click “Utilities”, like the image below shows:
- 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 GhostMiner 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:
You can repeat the same procedure with the following other Library directories:
Tip: ~ is there on purpose, because it leads to more LaunchAgents.
Step 2: Scan for and remove GhostMiner files from your Mac
When you are facing problems on your Mac as a result of unwanted scripts and programs such as GhostMiner, 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.
Remove GhostMiner 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.
Erase GhostMiner 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.
Uninstall GhostMiner 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.
Remove GhostMiner 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".
Step 4: After that, select the 'Extensions' Tab.
Step 5: Click once on the extension you want to remove.
Step 6: Click 'Uninstall'.
A pop-up window will appear asking for confirmation to uninstall the extension. Select 'Uninstall' again, and the GhostMiner will be removed.
Eliminate GhostMiner 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.