A new, very dangerous cryptocurrency miner virus has been detected by security researchers. The malware, called NRSMiner can infect target victims using a variety of ways. The main idea behind the NRSMiner miner is to employ cryptocurrency miner activities on the computers of victims in order to obtain Monero tokens at victims’ expense. The outcome of this miner is the elevated electricity bills and if you leave it for longer periods of time NRSMiner may even damage your computer’s components.
|Type||Cryptocurrency Miner Virus|
|Short Description||A crypto miner that aims to use the resources of your computer to mine for cryptocurrencies.|
|Symptoms||Your computer may experience slow-downs, overheating, suspicious processes running and other types of unwanted side effects..|
|Distribution Method||Software vulnerabilities, Bundled downloads. Fake download portals|
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|User Experience||Join Our Forum to Discuss NRSMiner.|
NRSMiner — Distribution Methods
The NRSMiner malware uses two popular methods which are used to infect computer targets:
- Payload Delivery via Prior Infections — If an older NRSMiner malware is deployed on the victim systems it can automatically update itself or download a newer version. This is possible via the built-in update command which obtains the release. This is done by connecting to a certain predefined hacker-controlled server which provides the malware code. The downloaded virus will acquire the name of a Windows service and be placed in the %systemroot%\temp location. Important properties and operating system configuration files are changed in order to allow a persistent and silent infection.
- Software Vulnerability Exploits — The latest version of the NRSMiner malware have been found to be caused by the EternalBlue exploits, popularly known for being used in the WannaCry ransomware attacks. The infections are done by targeting open services via the TCP port 445. The attacks are automated by a hacker-controlled framework which looks up if the port is open. If this condition is met it will scan the service and retrieve information about it, including any version and configuration data. Exploits and popular username and password combinations may be done. When the EternalBlue exploit is triggered against the vulnerable code the miner will be deployed along with the DoublePulsar backdoor. This will present the a double infection.
Apart from these methods other strategies can be used as well. Miners can be distributed by phishing emails that are sent in bulk in a SPAM-like manner and depend on social engineering tricks in order to confuse the victims into believing that they have received a message from a legitimate service or company. The virus files can be either directly attached or inserted in the body contents in multimedia content or text links.
The criminals can also create malicious landing pages that can impersonate vendor download pages, software download portals and other frequently accessed places. When they use similar sounding domain names to legitimate addresses and security certificates the users may be coerced into interacting with them. In some cases merely opening them can trigger the miner infection.
Another approach would be to use payload carriers that can be spread using the above-mentioned methods or via file sharing networks, BitTorrent is one of the most popular ones. It is frequently used to distribute both legitimate software and files and pirate content. Two of the most popular payload carriers are the following:
- Infected Documents — The hackers can embed scripts that will install the NRSMiner malware code as soon as they are launched. All of the popular document are potential carriers: presentations, rich text documents, presentations and databases. When they are opened by the victims a prompt will appear asking the users to enable the built-in macros in order to correctly view the document. If this is done the miner will be deployed.
- Application Installers — The criminals can insert the miner installation scripts into application installers across all popular software downloaded by end users: system utilities, productivity apps, office programs, creativity suites and even games. This is done modifying the legitimate installers — they are usually downloaded from the official sources and modified to include the necessary commands.
Other methods that can be considered by the criminals include the use of browser hijackers — dangerous plugins which are made compatible with the most popular web browsers. They are uploaded to the relevant repositories with fake user reviews and developer credentials. In many cases the descriptions may include screenshots, videos and elaborate descriptions promising great feature enhancements and performance optimizations. However upon installation the behavior of the affected browsers will change — users will find that they will be redirected to a hacker-controlled lanidng page and their settings might be altered — the default home page, search engine and new tabs page.
NRSMiner — Analysis
The NRSMiner malware is a classic case of a cryptocurrency miner which depending on its configuration can cause a wide variety of dangerous actions. Its main goal is to perform complex mathematical tasks that will take advantage of the available system resources: CPU, GPU, memory and hard disk space. The way they function is by connecting to a special server called mining pool from where the required code is downloaded. As soon as one of the tasks is downloaded it will be started at once, multiple instances can be run at once. When a given task is completed another one will be downloaded in its place and the loop will continue until the computer is powered off, the infection is removed or another similar event happens. Cryptocurrency will be rewarded to the criminal controllers (hacking group or a single hacker) directly to their wallets.
A dangerous characteristic of this category of malware is that samples like this one can take all system resources and practically make the victim computer unusable until the threat has been completely removed. Most of them feature a persistent installation which makes them really difficult to remove. These commands will make changes to boot options, configuration files and Windows Registry values that will make the NRSMiner malware start automatically once the computer is powered on. Access to recovery menus and options may be blocked which renders many manual removal guides practically useless.
This particular infection will setup a Windows service for itself, following the conducted security analysis ther following actions have been observed:
- Information Harvesting — The miner will generate a profile of the installed hardware components and specific operating system information. This can include anythnig from specific environment values to installed third-party applications and user settings. The complete report will be made in real-time and may be run continuously or at certain time intervals.
- Network Communications — As soon as the infection is made a network port for relaying the harvested data will be opened. It will allow the criminal controllers to login to the service and retrieve all hijacked information. This component can be updated in future releases to a full-fledged Trojan instance: it would allow the criminals to take over control of the machines, spy on the users in real-time and steal their files. Furthermore Trojan infections are one of the most popular ways to deploy other malware threats.
- Automatic Updates — By having an update check module the NRSMiner malware can constantly monitor if a new version of the threat is released and automatically apply it. This includes all required procedures: downloading, installation, cleanup of old files and reconfiguration of the system.
- Applications and Services Modification — During the miner operations the associated malware can hook up to already running Windows services and thrid-party installed applications. By doing so the system administrators may not notice that the resource load comes from a separate process.
These kind of malware infections are particularly effective at carrying out advanced commands if configured so. They are based on a modular framework allowing the criminal controllers to orchestrate all kinds of dangerous behavior. One of the popular examples is the modification of the Windows Registry — modifications strings related by the operating system can cause serious performance disruptions and the inability to access Windows services. Depending on the scope of changes it can also make the computer completely unusable. On the other hand manipulation of Registry values belonging to any third-party installed applications can sabotage them. Some applications may fail to launch altogether while others can unexpectedly stop working.
This particular miner in its current version is focused on mining the Monero cryptocurrency containing a modified version of XMRig CPU mining engine. If the campaigns prove succesful then future versions of the NRSMiner can be launched in the future. As the malware uses software vulnerabilities to infect target hosts, it can be part of a dangerous co-infection with ransomware and Trojans.
Removal of NRSMiner is strongly recommended, since you risk not only a big electricity bill if it’s running on your PC, but the miner may also perform other unwanted activities on it and even damage your PC permanently.
Remove NRSMiner Miner from Your PC
If you want to remove this miner from your PC, be advised that it can delete your files. This is why, we advise you to backup all your important files if on your PC before removing this virus.
To remove NRSMiner miner automatically from your PC, we advise you to follow the removal manual below. It is separated In manual and automatic removal, since this will effectively help delete the virus files permanently. If manual removal does not help, however, we recommend what most researchers advise and that is to download an advanced anti-malware software to run a scan with it on your infected PC. Such program will automatically take care of the NRSMiner miner virus from your computer and will make sure that it’s removed completely plus your PC stays protected in the future too.
- Guide 1: How to Remove NRSMiner from Windows.
- Guide 2: Get rid of NRSMiner from Mac OS X.
- Guide 3: Remove NRSMiner from Google Chrome.
- Guide 4: Erase NRSMiner from Mozilla Firefox.
- Guide 5: Uninstall NRSMiner from Microsoft Edge.
- Guide 6: Remove NRSMiner from Safari.
- Guide 7: Eliminate NRSMiner from Internet Explorer.
How to Remove NRSMiner from Windows.
Step 1: Boot Your PC In Safe Mode to isolate and remove NRSMiner
Step 2: Uninstall NRSMiner 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 NRSMiner 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 NRSMiner there. This can happen by following the steps underneath:
Get rid of NRSMiner from Mac OS X.
Step 1: Uninstall NRSMiner 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 NRSMiner 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 malware from your Mac
When you are facing problems on your Mac as a result of unwanted scripts, programs and malware, the recommended way of eliminating the threat is by using an anti-malware program. Combo Cleaner offers advanced security features along with other modules that will improve your Mac’s security and protect it in the future.
Remove NRSMiner 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 NRSMiner 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 NRSMiner 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 NRSMiner 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 NRSMiner will be removed.
Eliminate NRSMiner 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.