Home Malware Programs Potentially Unwanted Programs (PUPs) Claymore CryptoNote

Claymore CryptoNote

Posted: March 19, 2015

Threat Metric

Threat Level: 8/10
Infected PCs: 79
First Seen: March 20, 2015
OS(es) Affected: Windows

The Claymore CryptoNote, a Potentially Unwanted Program that uses your PC's hardware to generate or 'mine' cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, also doubles as a cryptocurrency miner. Although this function does not categorize the Claymore CryptoNote as threatening software, malware experts often witness Bitcoin miners like the Claymore CryptoNote being exploited by real threats. If you find that the Claymore CryptoNote was installed automatically, then you should remove the Claymore CryptoNote from your PC along with any potential threats through anti-malware scans and other, standard security procedures.

The Possessed Claymore Swinging through Your CPU

The Claymore CryptoNote is a freeware program that lets its users generate Bitcoins, Litecoins and other currency automatically by setting a percentage of their hardware for use with its calculations. Under normal circumstances, the Claymore CryptoNote requires your consent for its installation, along with an account on the Minergate website. However, malware experts have seen some cases of threats installing and running the Claymore CryptoNote automatically, turning infected systems into illicit revenue sources.

The threat installing the Claymore CryptoNote currently is unidentified and may include other threats. However, most infections observed by malware researchers thus far are traceable to pirated software downloads and torrenting activities, with functional program installers including bundles. Although the Claymore CryptoNote doesn't use stealth features of its own, third-party programs have been known to make various efforts to conceal its presence. Examples of such stealth routines predominantly exploit corrupted scripts disguised as Svchost.exe (a default component of Windows). If the Claymore CryptoNote is active, you may identify the Claymore CryptoNote through its unusual percentage usage of your CPU in Task Manager's Processes tab.

If left unchecked, cryptocurrency mining may cause system instability, degraded performance or even permanent damage to your hardware (in a worst case scenario). In addition to these risks, malware researchers occasionally see the Claymore CryptoNote-related threats implementing file encryption attacks. Such attacks may prevent you from using files of specified types (such as Office documents) by encrypting their data. Usually, this payload has the aim of forcing you to pay a ransom for a decryption service that may or may not be functional.

Dulling the Bite of the Claymore CryptoNote

To verify the total removal of unwanted installs of the Claymore CryptoNote, you should use anti-malware products for scanning your PC thoroughly and identifying any unwanted or toxic software. Active instances of the Claymore CryptoNote, like other cryptocurrency miners, normally are identifiable through visible symptoms, such as unusual system resource allocation. However, the threat responsible for installing the Claymore CryptoNote may not always show symptoms of its presence and may be a continued threat to your PC's security until deleted.

The recent, illicit campaigns for distributing the Claymore CryptoNote, besides placing importance on safe download sources, also show how legal software is exploitable for illegitimate purposes. Monitoring your computer for any unrecognized software may not allow you to detect sophisticated rootkits or other, high-level threats directly, but it can let you catch the symptoms of their payloads before any meaningful damage occurs.