Pnputil.exe Virus ⛏️ (Coin Miner Trojan) Removal

Written by Robert Bailey
Pnputil.exe executable file belongs to a harmful program that can accurately be recognized as a coin miner trojan. That malware type uses your hardware to mine cryptocurrencies, generally – Monero or DarkCoin. It makes your personal computer pretty much nonfunctional as a result of high CPU utilization.
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What is Pnputil.exe process?

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

As I have pointed out previously, Pnputil.exe is a coin miner trojan virus. The names of the executive file can be different, however, the consequences are generally the same. Considering that coin miners aim at cryptocurrency mining, they utilize all available hardware power of your personal computer to conduct this procedure. This malware doesn’t take note of the fact that you may want to use your desktop for other activities – it will continuously take over 80% of your processor power.

Pnputil.exe Windows Process

Pnputil.exe – Very high CPU as well as GPU usage

Besides CPU utilization, some of the coin miners additionally use GPU power for their operations. In that instance, you will probably struggle also to see the mouse cursor moving – GPU is usually utilized on 100%. It is not as vital as CPU for system work, so Pnputil.exe coin miner viruses do not waste time on trifles and utilize all of it. It sometimes may result in bad consequences.

Shortly about cryptocurrency mining

Crypto mining means the action of calculating the transaction block hash. That is a integral part of anything based on the blockchain technology. Since this action takes a lot of calculations, a very strong computer is needed. Exactly, the video card is better for this purpose, because they have more cores available. Cryptocurrency mining farms are usually constructed of tens and hundreds of graphic cards to conduct their activity effectively. Such systems are not usable for “normal” purposes, like gaming or browsing the Web. Fraudsters who make profit via Pnputil.exe coin miner use someones’ PCs instead, even if they are used for the regular activity.1

List of the typical Pnputil.exe coin miner symptoms

  • Extremely bad performance
  • CPU/GPU cooler fan creates a lot of noise
  • High temperature of the device (for laptops)
  • 80-90% consumption of CPU/GPU resources by an unknown process
  • Microsoft Defender is not working
  • How dangerous is the Pnputil.exe miner?

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

    Firstly, Pnputil.exe virus makes your computer overloaded. It is unable to run your applications now, since all CPU power is consumed by a malware. That malware does not care for your demands, all it pays attention to is generating income on you. Even if you are patient, and you waited until browser is open, you will likely struggle with exceptionally slow efficiency. Pages will open for years, any kind of logins will likely take about a minute – just a horror story for a person who works online.

    Pnputil.exe Technical Summary.

    File Name Pnputil.exe
    Type Trojan Coin Miner
    Detection Name Trojan:Win32/CoinMiner
    Distribution Method Software bundling, Intrusive advertisement, redirects to shady sites etc.
    Similar behavior Loadus.exe, Loadus.exelator, Robocopy.exe
    Removal Download and install GridinSoft Anti-Malware for automatic Pnputil.exe removal.

    “Visible” harm is not a single negative thing coin miners perform to your system. Pnputil.exe coin miner also deals damage to your OS. To perform all malicious operations successfully, it ruins the protection components of your system. You will likely see your Microsoft Defender disabled – malware stops it to avoid detection. If you check the HOSTS file, you will likely see a lot of new entries – they are brought in by Pnputil.exe coin miner to connect your computer to a malicious mining network. All these changes 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, performing at peak power for long times may cause damage to your device as well as increase electricity bills. Hardware elements are designed to easily deal with high load, but they are good with it only when they are in a good shape.

    Small and well-protected CPU fan is not very easy to crack. Meanwhile, GPUs have large and easy-to-access rotors, which can be easily cracked if touched while working, for example, by the user much before the malware injection. Malfunctioning cooling system, together with the really high load caused by Pnputil.exe virus can easily lead to GPU failur2. Video cards are also prone to have fast wearing when utilized for crypto mining. It is surely an undesirable case when {your GPU’s performance|the performance of your video card decreases on 20-30% just after 1-2 weeks of being exploited in such a way.

    How did I get Pnputil.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 widespread malevolent programs through “serious” malware. Adware sometimes works as a carrier for Pnputil.exe malware injection: it demonstrates you the banners, which have a link to malware downloading. Sure, this abstract “malware” may belong to any kind – another adware, spyware, rogue or backdoor. But the statistics say that about 30% of all viruses spread with the malicious banners are coin miners – and Pnputil.exe is right among them.3

    Unwanted banners adware

    The example of malicious banners you can see in the Internet

    One more way you could get this thing on your PC is by downloading it from the unreliable web page as a part of a program. Users that spread hacked versions of favored programs (which do not need the license key) have small chances to get paid. Hence, there is a huge temptation to add malware to the final package of the hacked app and get a coin for each installation. Prior to criticizing these guys for hacking and malware distribution, ask yourself – is it OK to avoid buying the program in such a way? It is much cheaper to pay $20-$30 at once than to pay a much bigger sum for antivirus software as well as new parts for your computer.

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

    The best way to get rid of Pnputil.exe virus is to use anti-malware software

    Getting rid of such a virus involves using specific tool. Proper antivirus should have high capability at scanning and be lightweight – in order to create no problems with utilization also on weak systems. On top of that, it is better to have on-run protection in your security tool – to stop the virus even before it launches. Microsoft Defender does not have these elements for different factors. That’s why I ‘d advise you to use a third-party anti-malware program for that purpose. GridinSoft Anti-Malware is a great option that fits each of the mentioned qualities.4

    Before the virus removal, it is important to reboot your system into Safe Mode with Networking. Since Pnputil.exe miner consumes a lot of processor power, it is required 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, just like the majority of non-crucial operating system components, are not launched with the system start. That allows you to clean the system without dealing with high CPU usage of Pnputil.exe miner process.

    Remove Pnputil.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 trial license

    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 Pnputil.exe Virus ⛏️ Trojan Coin Miner

    Name: Pnputil.exe

    Description: The Pnputil.exe is a Trojan Coin Miner that uses the infected computer’s sources to mine electronic money without your authorization. This Pnputil.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. Detailed explanation of how does cryptomining work.
    2. About unwanted effects for GPUs in the process of cryptomining.
    3. Read more about various malware type on GridinSoft Threat Encyclopedia.
    4. 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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