Xmr-stak.exe Virus ⛏️ (Coin Miner Trojan) Removal

Written by Robert Bailey
Xmr-stak.exe process comes from a malevolent application that can properly be defined as a coin miner trojan. That malware type uses your hardware to mine cryptocurrencies, primarily – Monero or DarkCoin1. It makes your computer roughly unusable as a result of high CPU utilization.
GridinSoft Anti-Malware Review

It is better to prevent, than repair and repent!

When we talk about the intrusion of unfamiliar programs into your computer’s work, the proverb “Forewarned is forearmed” describes the situation as accurately as possible. Gridinsoft Anti-Malware is exactly the tool that is always useful to have in your armory: fast, efficient, up-to-date. It is appropriate to use it as an emergency help at the slightest suspicion of infection.
GridinSoft Anti-Malware 6-day trial available.
EULA | Privacy Policy | GridinSoft

@topcybersecuritySubscribe to our Telegram channel to be the first to know about news and our exclusive materials on information security.

What is Xmr-stak.exe process?

Xmr-stak.exe is a malicious process created by coin miner virus

As I have pointed out previously, Xmr-stak.exe is a coin miner trojan. The names of the executive file may be diverse, but the consequences are usually the same. Since coin miners focus on cryptocurrency mining, they utilize all possible hardware capacity of your desktop to conduct this process. This malware doesn’t care about the fact that you may want to make use of your device for other tasks – it will constantly take over 80% of your processor power.

Xmr-stak.exe Windows Process

Xmr-stak.exe – Very high CPU/GPU use

Besides CPU usage, some of the coin miners additionally utilize GPU power for their operations. In that instance, you will struggle also to see the mouse cursor moving – GPU is usually used on 100%. It is not as critical as CPU for system work, so Xmr-stak.exe coin miner viruses do not waste time on trifles and utilize it all. It sometimes may cause unhappy effects.

Shortly about cryptocurrency mining

Crypto mining means the action of calculating the transaction block hash. That is a basic part of anything based on the blockchain technology. Since this action takes a lot of calculations, a high-end desktop is needed. Exactly, the GPU is better for this task, because they have more cores available. Cryptocurrency mining farms usually consist of tens and hundreds of graphic cards to conduct their activity effectively. Such computer systems are not usable for “classic” purposes, like gaming or web browsing. 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

  • Microsoft Defender is stopped;
  • CPU and GPU is loaded at 80-90% exactly after the system start
  • Cooling fans are running at high speed and create a lot of noise
  • A single process in Task Manager consumes all CPU and GPU power
  • How dangerous is the Xmr-stak.exe miner?

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

    First, Xmr-stak.exe malware makes your system overloaded. It is not able to run your applications anymore, since all CPU power is consumed by a malware. That malware does not care for your necessities, all it pays attention to is generating profits on you. Even if you are patient, and you waited until browser is open, you will likely experience exceptionally sluggish efficiency. Pages will open for years, any sort of logins will likely take about a minute – just a nightmare for a person who does a job online.

    Xmr-stak.exe Technical Summary.

    File NameXmr-stak.exe
    TypeTrojan Coin Miner
    Detection NameTrojan:Win32/CoinMiner
    Distribution MethodSoftware bundling, Intrusive advertisement, redirects to shady sites etc.
    Similar behaviorDriver.windows, Serverapp.exe, Kernelx64.exe
    RemovalDownload and install GridinSoft Anti-Malware for automatic Xmr-stak.exe removal.

    “Visible” harm is not a single negative activity coin miners do to your PC. Xmr-stak.exe coin miner also deals damage to your OS. To complete all malicious functions effectively, it wrecks the security mechanisms of your system. You will likely see your Microsoft Defender disabled – malware stops it to avoid detection. If you open the HOSTS file, you will likely see a number of new entries – they are added by this coin miner to connect your system to a malicious cryptomining network. All these adjustments are about to be gone back to the initial state in the process of PC recovery.

    Hardware effects of coin miner activity

    Besides making your PC slow, performing at peak level for a long period of time may trigger damage to your machine and raise power costs. PC 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.

    Tiny and well-protected processor fan is not very easy to broke. Meanwhile, GPUs have big and easy-to-access rotors, which can be easily broke if touched while working, for example, by the user much before the coin-miner injection. Malfunctioning cooling system, together with the unusually high load caused by Xmr-stak.exe miner can easily lead to graphic card failure3. Graphic cards are also tend to have increased wearing when utilized for cryptocurrency mining. It is likely an unwanted situation when your GPU’s performance plunges 20-30% only after several weeks of being exploited in such a way.

    How did I get Xmr-stak.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 prevalent malicious programs through “severe” viruses. Adware sometimes serves as a carrier for Xmr-stak.exe malware infiltration: it demonstrates you the banners, which have a link to malware downloading. Yes, this abstract “malware” may belong to any kind – an additional adware, spyware, rogue or backdoor. But the statistics say that around 30% of all malware spread through the malicious banners are coin miners – and Xmr-stak.exe is right one of them.4

    Unwanted banners adware

    The example of malicious banners you can see in the Internet

    One more way you could get this thing on your computer is by downloading it from the suspicious website as a part of a program. Users who spread hacked variants of well-known programs (which do not demand the license key) have small chances to earn money. For this reason, there is a huge temptation to include malware to the final package of the hacked app and receive a coin for every installation. Prior to criticizing these individuals for hacking and malware distribution, ask yourself – is it okay 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 figure for antivirus software and new parts for your PC.

    How to remove the Xmr-stak.exe miner from my PC?

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

    Removing such a virus needs making use of specific app. Appropriate anti-malware program should have high capability at scanning and also 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 security in your security tool – to stop the virus even before it starts. Microsoft Defender lacks these features for different reasons. That’s why I’d advise you to use a third-party anti-malware program for that goal. GridinSoft Anti-Malware is a perfect choice that fits all of the specified qualities.5

    Prior to the malware removal, it is important to boot your system into Safe Mode with Networking. Since Xmr-stak.exe miner consumes a lot of processor 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 PC is in Safe Mode, all third-party software, 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 the coin miner.

    Remove Xmr-stak.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 Xmr-stak.exe Virus ⛏️ Trojan Coin Miner

    Name: Xmr-stak.exe

    Description: The Xmr-stak.exe is a Trojan Coin Miner that uses the infected computer’s sources to mine electronic money without your authorization. This Xmr-stak.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

    Sending
    User Review
    3.25 (4 votes)
    Comments Rating 0 (0 reviews)

    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.

    Spanish Turkish

    About the author

    Robert Bailey

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

    Leave a Reply

    Sending

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.