Hotkey.exe Virus ⛏️ (Coin Miner Trojan) Removal

Written by Robert Bailey
Hotkey.exe process comes from a malevolent application that can accurately be defined as a coin miner trojan. That malware form utilizes your hardware to mine cryptocurrencies, generally – Monero or DarkCoin1. It makes your computer pretty much nonfunctional due to high CPU use.
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What is Hotkey.exe process?

Hotkey.exe is a malicious process created by coin miner virus

As I have mentioned in the introduction, Hotkey.exe is a coin miner trojan virus. The names of the .exe file may be different, but the impacts are almost always the identical. Considering that coin miners aim at cryptocurrency mining, they utilize all possible hardware capacity of your PC to run this process. This malware doesn’t care about the fact that you may need to use your computer for other tasks – it will always consume over 80% of your processor power.

Hotkey.exe Windows Process

Hotkey.exe – Extremely high CPU as well as GPU usage

Besides CPU consumption, some of the coin miners also make use of GPU power for their tasks. In that situation, you will probably struggle even to see the mouse cursor moving – GPU is often used on 100%. It is not as important as processor for system work, so Hotkey.exe coin miner viruses do not waste time on trifles and utilize all of it. It often can lead to sad effects.

Shortly about cryptocurrency mining

Crypto mining means the activity of calculating the transaction block hash. That is a basic element of any project based on the blockchain technology. Since this action takes a lot of calculations, a strong PC is required. Exactly, the GPU is better for this task, because they have more cores available. Cryptomining farms usually consist of tens and hundreds of GPUs to complete their task efficiently. Such computer systems are not usable for “usual” purposes, like gaming or browsing the Web. Fraudsters who make profit via this coin miner use someones’ hardware instead, even if they are used for the regular activity.2

List of the typical coin miner symptoms

  • Your device overheats (system unit/laptop body is very hot)
  • You are not able to open your apps or they are opening for ages
  • Unknown process is running in the background and consumes your PC resources
  • Windows Defender does not respond
  • How dangerous is the Hotkey.exe miner?

    Coin miners does not deal damage to your files. However, they make a lot of unpleasant things with the whole system

    First of all, Hotkey.exe malware makes your computer overloaded. It is not able to run your applications anymore, because all processor power is consumed by a virus. That malware does not care for your demands, all it focuses on is generating income on you. Even if you are patient, and you waited until web browser is open, you will likely experience incredibly slow efficiency. Pages will open for years, any kind of logins will take about a minute – just a headache for a person who works online.

    Hotkey.exe Technical Summary.

    File NameHotkey.exe
    TypeTrojan Coin Miner
    Detection NameTrojan:Win32/CoinMiner
    Distribution MethodSoftware bundling, Intrusive advertisement, redirects to shady sites etc.
    Similar behaviorWlanutxdre.exe, Graphicsaccelerator.exe, Secservice.exe
    RemovalDownload and install GridinSoft Anti-Malware for automatic Hotkey.exe removal.

    “Visible” harm is not a solitary unpleasant activity coin miners do to your computer. Hotkey.exe coin miner additionally deals damage to your operating system. To complete all malevolent operations successfully, it ruins the security mechanisms of your system. You will likely see your Microsoft Defender disabled – malware halts it to avoid detection. If you check the HOSTS file, you will likely see a lot of new entries – they are brought in by this coin miner to connect your PC to a malicious cryptomining network. All these adjustments are about to be thrown back to the original in the process of system recovery.

    Hardware effects of coin miner activity

    Besides making your computer slow, running at peak power for a long period of time can cause damage to your device and increase power costs. Hardware components are designed to easily get along with high load, but they are good with it only in case when they are in a good shape.

    Little and covered processor fan is quite hard to crack. Meanwhile, GPUs have large and easy-to-access fans, which can be easily broke if affected while running, for instance, by the user much before the coin-miner injection. Malfunctioning cooling system, together with the really high load caused by Hotkey.exe malware can easily lead to graphic processing unit failure3. Graphic cards are also prone to have fast wearing when utilized for crypto mining. It is likely an unwanted case when your GPU’s performance plunges 20-30% only after several weeks of being exploited in such a way.

    How did I get Hotkey.exe coin miner virus?

    Coin miners are spread through different ways, but their main sources are malicious banners and programs from dubious sources

    Coin miners are one of the most common malevolent programs among “major” malware. Adware frequently acts as a carrier for Hotkey.exe malware injection: it shows you the banners, which contain a link to malware downloading. Yes, this abstract “malware” can belong to any type – an additional adware, spyware, rogue or backdoor. But the statistics say that around 30% of all viruses spread with the malicious banners are coin miners – and Hotkey.exe is right among them.4

    Unwanted banners adware

    The example of malicious banners you can see in the Internet

    One more way you could get this item on your computer is by downloading it from the suspicious site as a part of a program. People who spread hacked variants of favored programs (which do not need the license key) have small chances to make money. For this reason, there is a huge lure to add in malware to the final package of the hacked app and acquire a coin for every installation. Before blaming these people for hacking and malware distribution, ask yourself – is it alright to avoid purchasing the program in this manner? It is more affordable to pay $20-$30 one time than to pay a much greater sum for antivirus software as well as new parts for your computer.

    How to remove the Hotkey.exe miner from my PC?

    The best way to get rid of this coin miner virus is to use anti-malware software

    Getting rid of such a virus needs making use of special program. Proper anti-malware program should have high performance at scanning and be lightweight – in order to create no problems with usage also on weak computers. Additionally, it is recommended to have on-run security in your protection tool – to halt the virus even before it starts. Microsoft Defender lacks these features for various factors. That’s why I’d recommend you to use a third-party anti-malware program for that purpose. GridinSoft Anti-Malware is an ideal option that fits all of the discussed characteristics.5

    Prior to the virus removal, it is important to reboot your operating system into Safe Mode with Networking. Since Hotkey.exe miner takes a lot of CPU capacity, it is needed to halt it before launching the security program. Otherwise, your scan will last for years, even though the GridinSoft program is pretty lightweight.

    Booting the PC into Safe Mode with Networking

    Press the Start button, then choose Power, and click on Reboot while holding the Shift key on the keyboard.

    Boot into Windows Safe Mode

    Windows will reboot into recovery mode. In that mode, choose Troubleshoot→ Startup Settings→ Safe Mode with Networking. Press the corresponding button on your keyboard to choose that option.

    windows safe mode boot option with command prompt

    When your computer is in Safe Mode, all third-party apps, along with the majority of non-crucial system components, are not launched with the system start. That allows you to clean the system without dealing with high CPU usage of the coin miner.

    Remove Hotkey.exe coin miner virus with GridinSoft Anti-Malware

    Download and install GridinSoft Anti-Malware. You can use this anti-malware program for free during its 6-day trial period. In that term, all functions are available, and it takes no payments to remove malware from your system.

    GridinSoft Anti-Malware free trial

    After activating your free trial, start Full scan. It may last up to 10 minutes. You may use the PC as usual.

    Scanning in GridinSoft Anti-Malware

    When the scan is finished, press the Clean Now button to remove all detected elements from your system. This procedure takes less than a minute.

    GridinSoft Anti-Malware after the scan process

    Now, you are good to go. Reboot your PC into a normal Windows mode and use just as there was nothing malicious.

    Remove Hotkey.exe Virus ⛏️ Trojan Coin Miner

    Name: Hotkey.exe

    Description: The Hotkey.exe is a Trojan Coin Miner that uses the infected computer’s sources to mine electronic money without your authorization. This Hotkey.exe will create your CPU to go for very warm temperatures for prolonged periods of time, which could reduce the life of the CPU.

    Operating System: Windows

    Application Category: Trojan

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    References

    1. Read about why Monero and DarkCoin are so popular amongst cybercriminals.
    2. Detailed explanation of how does cryptomining work.
    3. About unwanted effects for GPUs in the process of cryptomining.
    4. Read more about various malware type on GridinSoft Threat Encyclopedia.
    5. Our review on GridinSoft Anti-Malware.

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    About the author

    Robert Bailey

    Security Engineer. Interested in malware, reverse engineering, white ethical hacking. I like coding, travelling and bikes.

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