Russian authorities have arrested some employees at the Russian Federation Nuclear Center facility because they are suspected for trying to using a supercomputer at the plant to mine Bitcoin.
The peaks reached by the values of principal cryptocurrencies is attracting criminal organizations, the number of cyber-attacks against the sector continues to increase, and VXers are focusing their efforts on the development of cryptocurrency/miner malware.
In a few days, security firms have spotted several huge botnets that were used by crooks to mine cryptocurrencies.
This week, security experts at Radiflow, a provider of cybersecurity solutions for critical infrastructure, have discovered in a water utility the first case of a SCADA network infected with a Monero cryptocurrency-mining malware.
“Radiflow, a provider of cybersecurity solutions for critical infrastructure, today announced that the company has revealed the first documented cryptocurrency malware attack on a SCADA network of a critical infrastructure operator.” reads the press release published by the company.
The Radiflow revealed that the cryptocurrency malware was designed to run in a stealth mode on a target system and even disable security software.
“Cryptocurrency malware attacks involve extremely high CPU processing and network bandwidth consumption, which can threaten the stability and availability of the physical processes of a critical infrastructure operator,” explained Yehonatan Kfir, CTO at Radiflow. “While it is known that ransomware attacks have been launched on OT networks, this new case of a cryptocurrency malware attack on an OT network poses new threats as it runs in stealth mode and can remain undetected over time.”
A cryptocurrency malware infection could have e dramatic impact on ICS and SCADA systems because it could increase resources consumption affecting the response times of the systems used to control processes in the environments.
While the story was making the headlines, the Russian Interfax News Agency reported that several scientists at the Russian Federation Nuclear Center facility (aka All-Russian Research Institute of Experimental Physics) had been arrested by authorities charged for mining cryptocurrency with “office computing resources.”
The nuclear research plant is located in Sarov, in 2011, the Russian Federation Nuclear Center deployed on a new petaflop-supercomputer.
The scientists are accused to have abused the computing power of one of Russia’s most powerful supercomputers located in the Federal Nuclear Center to mine Bitcoins.
The supercomputer normally isolated from the Internet, but the researchers were discovered while attempting to connect it online. the Federal Security Service (FSB) has arrested the researchers.
“There has been an unsanctioned attempt to use computer facilities for private purposes including so-called mining,” Tatyana Zalesskaya, head of the Institute’s press service, told Interfax news agency.
“Their activities were stopped in time. The bungling miners have been detained by the competent authorities. As far as I know, a criminal case has been opened regarding them,”
(Security Affairs – Russian Federation Nuclear Center facility, Mining)