Home > Trojan > Heaven’s Gate Miner Virus – How to Detect and Remove It

Heaven’s Gate Miner Virus – How to Detect and Remove It

This blog post has been created to explain what is Heaven’s Gate Miner cryptocurrency miner and show how to remove it from your computer plus protect your PC against future infections as well.

The Heaven’s Gate miner is a new cryptocurrency miner malware that is the main payload of a recent hacker attacks. It contains many advanced stealth protection features and upon infection it would use the resources of the victim computers to generate income for the operators.

Threat Summary

Name Heaven's Gate
Type CryptoCurrency Miner Malware
Short Description Aims to mine for different cryptocurrencies on the victim’s computer after which may begin to
Symptoms The Heaven’s Gate Miner miner may begin to slow down your computer by using over 90% of both your CPU and GPU. This may result in your cooling fans to work at higher speeds.
Distribution Method Via bundled installers, fake setups or via other PUP that has already been installed on your PC.
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User Experience Join Our Forum to Discuss Heaven's Gate.

Heaven’s Gate Miner Virus – Distribution Methods

The Heaven’s Gate Miner is distributed using large-scale attacks that are planned in advance by different hacker groups. At the moment the identity of the person or group behind the various campaigns is not known. The security analysts reveal that depending on the separate campaigns the exact configuration and behavior may differ.

A recent RIG exploit kit based attack campaign launched last week has been found to carry the Heaven’s Gate miner. Instead of ransomware however the latest campaign seem to include cryptocurrency miners as payloads such as the Heaven’s Gate malware. The analysts note that more and more of them are purposed to generate alternative crypto currencies to Bitcoin, the most popular being Monero.

The exploit kit uses the Ngay campaign to facilitate dangerous malvertising instances that lead to the Heaven’s Gate miner infections. They can be used in cases such as the following:

  • Hacker-controlled Sites — The criminals can utilize different web scripts such as redirects, banners, pop-ups and etc. that are inserted in various malware sites.
  • Email Messages — The criminals can utilize social engineering techniques in order to coerce the targets into opening the malware links. In some cases the files can also be attached directly to the messages masquerading as data of interest.

Criminals can also utilize browser hijackers to deliver the malware as part of their infection patterns. This type of computer viruses are counterfeit browser plugins that usually change important settings on the victims applications (default home page, search engine and new tabs page) in order to redirect the victims to hacker-controlled sites. They are also used to institute tracking cookies, Trojan viruses and cause dangerous system changes.

Malware software installers represent modified setup files taken from their official sources and changed to include payloads such as the Heaven’s Gate miner. They are often distributed using several methods at once.

Heaven’s Gate Miner Malware – Malicious Activity

At the start of infections the malicious process that is powered up by the main virus engine starts the behavior pattern is initiated. The analysts detected that the Notepad applications is started together with built-in parameters that runs the Heaven’s Gate miner code in parallel. An in-depth overview reveals that this is not the actual text software, but a customized xmring Monero mining instance. There are several reasons why the hacker operators would want to launch miner using this method:

  • Counterfeit Process Launch — The miner process is made to appear as one of the essential Microsoft Windows coponents. In many cases such techniques can fool users and system administrators that might be looking at their task manager. Such obfuscation techniques are fairy common among miners of late.
  • Minimum Time To Launch — This particular threat does not involve complex archives or packaging schemes that usually delay slightly the initial infections.
  • Customized Instance — Unlike simpler miner malware this particular one contains a distinctive launch mechanism which can make it harder to detect using generic signatures scans employed by anti-virus products in some cases.

The security investigation shows that the main malware process (dropper) appears to be 32-bit compatible. However it injects a 64-bit prcoess into the “notepad” instance. Officially this is not supported by the Windows API and the programmers behind the Heaven’s Gate miner have used workarounds in order to allow this to happen. The experts note that the hackers behind the threat are experienced criminals and it is likely that the virus can be modified further in future iterations.

During the code execution the hackers discovered that the samples include a stealth protection feature. It defends the malware files from virtual machines, sandboxes and debug environments. If such are found the malware may attempt to delete or disable them. If it is unable to do so then it can delete itself to avoid detection.

Cryptocurrency miners like the Heaven’s Gate malware aim to utilize the resources of the victim computers in order to generate income for the hacker operators. This particular strain is a Monero based software which is one of the most popular crypto currencies.

Malware miners such as this one have the ability to cause further damage to the victims machines including the following:

  • Trojan Virus Delivery — The hackers can institute Trojan malware that can spy on the users in real time. In can also take over control of the machines at any given time.
  • Additional Malware Delivery — The Heaven’s Gate miner virus can be used to institute other threats to the victim hosts.
  • System Changes — If configured so the main malware module can cause dangerous system changes to all aspects of the computers. This includes the Windows registry, configuration settings and services. As a result the users may experience performance issues or find that some system services or applications may fail to start. Boot and recovery options can also be affected.

The Heaven’s Gate miner is merely the latest payload used by the hackers. Usually such malware threats are customized and updated further in future attacks. We suspect that improved versions of it will follow.

Remove Heaven’s Gate Miner Virus and Protect Your PC

Q: How Do I Remove Heaven’s Gate Miner and How Do I Protect Myself In the Future?

A: In order to remove the Heaven’s Gate Miner miner, you should first stop the malicious processes of the malware by entering Windows Task Manager and stopping the malicious task by right-clicking on the Heaven’s Gate Miner process and clicking on End Process or End Process tree. This results in the virus stopping to mine. After doing so, you may want to remove the malware preferably by following the automatic or manual removal instructions below, if you have removed malware manually and have the experience. Be advised that security experts strongly recommend to remove the Heaven’s Gate Miner miner malware automatically by downloading an advanced anti-malware software, that aims to scan for and erase all malware from your system plus protect it against future infections as well.

Martin Beltov

Martin graduated with a degree in Publishing from Sofia University. As a cyber security enthusiast he enjoys writing about the latest threats and mechanisms of intrusion.

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Preparation before removing Heaven's Gate.

Before starting the actual removal process, we recommend that you do the following preparation steps.

  • Make sure you have these instructions always open and in front of your eyes.
  • Do a backup of all of your files, even if they could be damaged. You should back up your data with a cloud backup solution and insure your files against any type of loss, even from the most severe threats.
  • Be patient as this could take a while.
  • Scan for Malware
  • Fix Registries
  • Remove Virus Files

Step 1: Scan for Heaven's Gate 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.

SpyHunter 5 Scan Step 1

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

SpyHunter 5 Scan Step 2

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 Scan Step 3

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

Step 2: Clean any registries, created by Heaven's Gate 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 Heaven's Gate there. This can happen by following the steps underneath:

1. Open the Run Window again, type "regedit" and click OK.
Remove Virus Trojan Step 6

2. When you open it, you can freely navigate to the Run and RunOnce keys, whose locations are shown above.
Remove Virus Trojan Step 7

3. You can remove the value of the virus by right-clicking on it and removing it.
Remove Virus Trojan Step 8 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.

Step 3: Find virus files created by Heaven's Gate on your PC.

1.For Windows 8, 8.1 and 10.

For Newer Windows Operating Systems

1: On your keyboard press + R and write explorer.exe in the Run text box and then click on the Ok button.

Remove Virus Trojan Step 9

2: Click on your PC from the quick access bar. This is usually an icon with a monitor and its name is either “My Computer”, “My PC” or “This PC” or whatever you have named it.

Remove Virus Trojan Step 10

3: Navigate to the search box in the top-right of your PC's screen and type “fileextension:” and after which type the file extension. If you are looking for malicious executables, an example may be "fileextension:exe". After doing that, leave a space and type the file name you believe the malware has created. Here is how it may appear if your file has been found:

file extension malicious

N.B. We recommend to wait for the green loading bar in the navigation box to fill up in case the PC is looking for the file and hasn't found it yet.

2.For Windows XP, Vista, and 7.

For Older Windows Operating Systems

In older Windows OS's the conventional approach should be the effective one:

1: Click on the Start Menu icon (usually on your bottom-left) and then choose the Search preference.

Remove Virus Trojan

2: After the search window appears, choose More Advanced Options from the search assistant box. Another way is by clicking on All Files and Folders.

Remove Virus Trojan Step 11

3: After that type the name of the file you are looking for and click on the Search button. This might take some time after which results will appear. If you have found the malicious file, you may copy or open its location by right-clicking on it.

Now you should be able to discover any file on Windows as long as it is on your hard drive and is not concealed via special software.

Heaven's Gate FAQ

What Does Heaven's Gate Trojan Do?

The Heaven's Gate Trojan is a malicious computer program designed to disrupt, damage, or gain unauthorized access to a computer system.

It can be used to steal sensitive data, gain control over a system, or launch other malicious activities.

Can Trojans Steal Passwords?

Yes, Trojans, like Heaven's Gate, can steal passwords. These malicious programs are designed to gain access to a user's computer, spy on victims and steal sensitive information such as banking details and passwords.

Can Heaven's Gate Trojan Hide Itself?

Yes, it can. A Trojan can use various techniques to mask itself, including rootkits, encryption, and obfuscation, to hide from security scanners and evade detection.

Can a Trojan be Removed by Factory Reset?

Yes, a Trojan can be removed by factory resetting your device. This is because it will restore the device to its original state, eliminating any malicious software that may have been installed. Bear in mind, that there are more sophisticated Trojans, that leave backdoors and reinfect even after factory reset.

Can Heaven's Gate Trojan Infect WiFi?

Yes, it is possible for a Trojan to infect WiFi networks. When a user connects to the infected network, the Trojan can spread to other connected devices and can access sensitive information on the network.

Can Trojans Be Deleted?

Yes, Trojans can be deleted. This is typically done by running a powerful anti-virus or anti-malware program that is designed to detect and remove malicious files. In some cases, manual deletion of the Trojan may also be necessary.

Can Trojans Steal Files?

Yes, Trojans can steal files if they are installed on a computer. This is done by allowing the malware author or user to gain access to the computer and then steal the files stored on it.

Which Anti-Malware Can Remove Trojans?

Anti-malware programs such as SpyHunter are capable of scanning for and removing Trojans from your computer. It is important to keep your anti-malware up to date and regularly scan your system for any malicious software.

Can Trojans Infect USB?

Yes, Trojans can infect USB devices. USB Trojans typically spread through malicious files downloaded from the internet or shared via email, allowing the hacker to gain access to a user's confidential data.

About the Heaven's Gate Research

The content we publish on SensorsTechForum.com, this Heaven's Gate how-to removal guide included, is the outcome of extensive research, hard work and our team’s devotion to help you remove the specific trojan problem.

How did we conduct the research on Heaven's Gate?

Please note that our research is based on an independent investigation. We are in contact with independent security researchers, thanks to which we receive daily updates on the latest malware definitions, including the various types of trojans (backdoor, downloader, infostealer, ransom, etc.)

Furthermore, the research behind the Heaven's Gate threat is backed with VirusTotal.

To better understand the threat posed by trojans, please refer to the following articles which provide knowledgeable details.

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