Europe's supercomputers hijacked by attackers for crypto mining

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Europe's supercomputers hijacked by attackers for crypto mining

  • 18 Might 2020
Supercomputer at Edinburgh University
Picture caption The Archer supercomputer in Edinburgh was a type of affected

No less than a dozen supercomputers across Europe have shut down after cyber-attacks tried to take management of them.

A pan-European supercomputing group says they seem to have tried to make use of the machines to mine cryptocurrency.

"A security exploitation" disabled entry to the Archer supercomputer, on the College of Edinburgh, on 11 Might.

Employees stated they have been working with the National Cyber Safety Centre to revive the system, which had just lately installed a pandemic modelling software.

"We now consider this to be a serious concern throughout the tutorial group as several computer systems have been compromised within the UK and elsewhere in Europe," the group stated.

The NCSC stated: "We are conscious of this incident and are providing help.

"The NCSC works with the tutorial sector to assist it improve its safety practices and shield its institutions from threats."

Also on 11 Might, one other attack shut down five supercomputers in Germany.

Others adopted elsewhere in Germany in the following days, in addition to in Switzerland, and reportedly Barcelona.

They exploited an Secure Shell (SSH) connection, which educational researchers use to log in to the system remotely.

And once inside, the attackers appear to have deployed cryptocurrency-mining malware.

The security group on the European Group Infrastructure foundation stated: "A malicious group is presently concentrating on educational knowledge centres for CPU [central processing unit] mining functions.

"The attacker is hopping from one sufferer to a different using compromised SSH credentials."

Jamie Akhtar, chief government of UK safety company Cybersmart, stated: "Universities are residence to a few of the most superior research tasks on the planet across many disciplines - including pc science - but they're also notoriously weak to assault if they are related to the wider university community."