Sci-tech

Supercomputers involved in COVID 19 research in Europe hacked to mine crypto

Supercomputers involved in COVID 19 research in Europe hacked to mine crypto”

Supercomputers in European countries including Germany, the United Kingdom and Switzerland were forced to shut down amid a series of intrusions made with the goal of installing cryptocurrency-mining malware, according to ZDNet.

We don't know how much MXR the hackers might have gained from their crypto-mining malware but numerous organisations where the supercomputers are situated were prioritising research on the Covid-19 outbreak, says the ZDNet report.

As noted by ZDNet, this isn't the first time that malware has been loaded onto supercomputers in an effort to mine cryptocurrency, but it's the first time that it's been carried out by hackers.

The Jülich Supercomputing Centre (JSC) in Germany confirmed an IT security incident last week which led to shut down of its JUDA, JURECA, and JUWELS supercomputers.

Several supercomputers targeted in the attacks, including Edinburgh's ARCHER, were prioritizing COVID-19 research, work which has now likely been obstructed by the intrusion and the resulting shutdown. Clusters in the Leibniz Computing Center, or LRZ, an institute under the Bavarian Academy of Sciences, the Julich Research Center in the town of Julich, Germany, the Faculty of Physics at the Ludwig-Maximilians University in Munich, Germany, and the Swiss Center of Scientific Computations, or CSCS, in Zurich, Switzerland were all counted amongst the victims. The Technical University in Dresden also announced that it had to shut down its Taurus supercomputer as well.

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Those credentials belonged to researchers in Canada, Poland and China, ZDNet, reports.

The hacker group stole login credentials to hack into the system.

. In two incidents, the hacker group connected to the supercomputers using a compromised SSH account.

Security researcher, Chris Doman, co-founder of Cado Security, told ZDNet that the malware was created to use the supercomputers' power to mine Monero XMR cryptocurrency.

According to Doman, hackers installed malware that mined the Monero (XMR) cryptocurrency, after accessing the supercomputers' controlling nodes using an exploit for a CVE-2019-15666 vulnerability, allowing root access to the computers.



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