Hackers successfully attacked supercomputers in Europe and mined cryptocurrency on them. Many of these computers were used to search for vaccines against Covid-19.
Hackers infected supercomputers in several European countries with malware that mines Monero (XMR). Chris Doman, Co-Founder of Cado Security, told ZDNet today that while there is no official evidence to confirm that all the intrusions have been carried out by the same group, evidence like similar malware file names and network indicators suggests this might be the same threat actor.
According to the report, supercomputers in the UK, Germany, Switzerland and, possibly, Spain fell victim to this hacker attack. Many of the supercomputers that were forced to shut down as a result of the hack were also used to search for a vaccine from COVID-19.
Apparently, hackers used social engineering methods to attack. They gained access to computers through credentials stolen from university members given access to the supercomputers to run computing jobs. Researchers in Canada, Poland and China have such level of access, reports ZDNet.
According to ZDNet, these incidents aren’t the first time that crypto-mining malware has been installed on a supercomputer. However, this marks the first time when hackers did this.
In 2018, employees of the Russian Federal Nuclear Center (RFNC-VNIIEF, Sarov, Nizhny Novgorod Region) were detained for using the agency’s supercomputer to mine bitcoins.