According to a series of reports published by several institutions, Europe's supercomputers are being attacked by hackers in order to mine cryptocurrencies on them.
The EGI Computer Security and Incident Response Team claims that "a malicious group is currently targeting academic data centers for CPU mining purposes. The attacker is hopping from one victim to another using compromised SSH credentials."
The attackers are attempting to mine Monero (XMR).
The University of Edinburgh has issued a statement reporting this is a major problem for the academic community, as several computers are affected not only in the UK, but also in the rest of Europe.
Bitcoin mining involves the solution of complex mathematical problems. Once they are solved, miners receive as a reward a small portion of the crypto that is being mined. Miners usually use powerful specialized mining devices (ASICs). However, attackers prefer to install malicious software on other computers so that they do all the work, which means they do not have to pay the expensive electricity bills legal miners must pay.
It is not a surprise that hackers are trying to access these supercomputers, as they are in fact perfect for crypto mining due to their high power capacity.
A study published in early 2018 concluded over 4% of all XMR tokens in circulation have been illegally mined.
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