Cryptocurrency has been plagued by a number of issues with stockpiling and it being an easy avenue for black market activities. However, it’s the knock-on effect of crypto mining hacks that have had a serious effect on a number of businesses. The latest in these string of hacks has seen European supercomputers being targeted, infecting them with Monero mining malware.
The machines targetted include the University of Edinburgh’s ARCHER, five of bwHPC’s computer clusters, and most recently, a cluster at Munich’s Ludwig-Maximilians University. This may seem a little random on the face of it but there may be a more sinister reason lurking in the background. Many might suggest that these individuals are simply trying to get a bit of extra cash through these hacks but with institutions like these are repurposing their supercomputers to undertake COVID-19 research, some are arguing that hacks of this ilk are being pushed out to either disrupt this research or potentially steal it.
An in-depth look from Cado Security into how these hacks were able to occur saw them conclude that compromised SSH logins from universities from Canada, China, and Poland were the route in. In the case of Edinburgh’s ARCHER, the culprit used Chinese IP addresses making members of the public even warier of their involvement with this whole pandemic.
We hope that these crypto mining hacks were a simple cash grab and not an attempt to disrupt or steal COVID-19 research alluded to earlier and now that they’ve taken place, we hope these institutions bolster their security to prevent future penetration attempts.