Is your PC Infected with a Crypto Miner? Here's How to Find Out


June 12, 2024

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Is your PC Infected with a Crypto Miner? Here's How to Find Out

Cryptojacking is the act of taking over a person's hardware resources by compromising the PC with a modified crypto miner. Basically, criminals install a crypto miner application that uses the victim's hardware for their benefit. Fortunately, quite a few telltale signs can betray the presence of a crypto miner on a system.

Mining for crypto is a legitimate activity, and a lot of people choose this route, but it's expensive. Criminals figured that they could use other people's hardware to mine for crypto to skip the related costs.

While crypto mining can generate profits, it does so by drastically increasing the electricity bill, not to mention that it will increase wear and tear on the hardware. All of this comes at a cost that easily translates into symptoms that anyone can observe.

Of course, suppose you're rocking a security solution such as Bitdefender Premium Security. In that case, you won't have to worry about crypto miners on your system unless you install them. If you're not using this security solution, here are a few indicators that you might be harboring a crypto miner that’s using your PC for someone else.

High CPU or GPU Usage

One sign that a system might be compromised is that the CPU or the GPU (graphics card) is working even when there's no current task. In fact, many people start to suspect that something might be wrong when, for example, their favorite game starts working poorly, even if it ran just fine in the past. You can usually spot the culprit in the Windows Task Manager because it will eat a lot of resources.

Increased fan noise and overheating

When a CPU or a GPU receives intensive tasks, they heat up, making the fans work harder. If you're not doing anything that would require the fans to work at capacity, some other process may be responsible. In fact, the situation can become dire enough that fans can't even keep up, and the system periodically overheats.

Decrease in performance

Games are not the only ones affected by crypto miners. Some of these apps are so aggressive that they even influence simple activities such as browsing the web or watching a movie. When the mining process uses substantial system resources, fewer resources are available for regular tasks.

Unexplained Network Activity

Crypto miners communicate with external servers to coordinate the mining process and update blockchain transactions, so it's possible sometimes for users to discover unusual network activity.

Crashes and more crashes

Pushing the hardware to the limit and constantly overheating the system can put a strain on the OS, leading to crashes. This is a very good indicator when combined with other symptoms.

Short battery life

Intense CPU or GPU usage by cryptomining software drains battery life much faster than usual on mobile devices or laptops. This type of malicious activity is easier to spot on devices that run on batteries.

Unknown Processes in Task Manager

If you can't recognize some processes running in the Windows Task Manager and they consume a large percentage of system resources, you might want to check online to see if they are not crypto miners disguised as regular apps.

Blocked access to system monitoring tools

One way that malware tries to remain under the radar as long as possible is by disabling access to the task manager or other system monitoring tools to hinder detection.

Crypto mining can be legitimate, but it needs to be under the users' control. Criminals who use malware to control people's hardware for profit will never go away, which is one extra reason to use Bitdefender Premium Security and fully control what kind of software you want to run.




Silviu is a seasoned writer who followed the technology world for almost two decades, covering topics ranging from software to hardware and everything in between.

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