Tue, November 29, 2022

Hackers Attacked Supercomputers to Mine Cryptocurrency

Germany and its economy

Crypto-related crimes represent a serious problem for the industry. Moreover, such cases may have a negative impact on the process of crypto adoption. Last week, hackers attacked multiple supercomputers in different parts of Europe and they wanted to use supercomputers to mine cryptocurrency.

As a result, as least dozen of supercomputers in the U.K., Germany, and Switzerland have been forced to shut down to investigate those accidents. Furthermore, another possible attack took place on a high-performance computer center in Spain.

Interestingly, most of the attacks targeted universities. For instance, the University of Edinburgh, which runs the ARCHER supercomputer, reported the first accident on May 11. Moreover, high-performance computing clusters located in the major universities in the state Baden-Wurttemberg, Germany also reported problems.

Furthermore, hackers attacked institutions located in other parts of Germany. They attacked Leibniz Computing Center and Julich Research Center among other institutions. Also, another victim is the Faculty of Physics at the Ludwig-Maximilians University in Munich. Moreover, they targeted the Swiss Center of Scientific Computations located in Zurich.

Supercomputers and cryptocurrency Crypto industry and legal aspects

It is worth mentioning that, hackers exploited a Secure Shell (SSH) connection. Academic administrators are using SSH to log in to the system remotely. Interestingly, hackers stole university members’ SSH credentials in Canada, Poland, and China.

As a result, they managed to gain access to the supercomputer clusters. As a reminder, SSH is a cryptographic network protocol and thanks to the protocol it is possible to operate service securely over an unsecured network.

This information comes from a U.S.-based cyber-security firm, that had the possibility to review the malware samples thanks to CSIRT. The Computer Security Incident Response Team released the samples. Interestingly, CSIRT is a pan-European organization that coordinates research on supercomputers in different parts of Europe.

Universities should work together with cybersecurity experts to learn more about the attacks. This way, they will experience to deal with such cases in the future.

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