Why did bitcoin miners hack into AWS?
This is not your typical hacking incident when a hacker enters the network of a cloud provider to take the sensitive data of millions of customers and sell them on the dark web for millions of dollars.
This is a rather bizarre case where hackers compromised the powerful AWS cloud network to mine the crypto currency bitcoin!
According to a report from RedLock, the hackers wanted a computer to mine bitcoins. In the process, they realized that the admin consoles of AWS cloud servers are not password protected. As a result, two major companies, namely Aviva and Gemalto, were affected. It is not known whether data was stolen and how many customers were affected. So far, Amazon, Aviva and Gemalto have not come forth to give any statements in this regard.
But overall, this is an interesting and worrying trend, especially if hackers want to use different tools to hack into a system just to use it for mining a cryptocurrency. If you’re wondering why this is worrying, it’s simply because mining bitcoins is super energy intensive and could be extremely costly in terms of electricity costs. When someone wants to mine these coins, they could spend a lot of money on utility costs. To avoid this, they hack into powerful servers and use the resources of these servers.
Why this is alarming is because it can affect cloud companies without their knowledge. While hacking will also affect them, this is a completely different kind of crime that can go unnoticed. When the utility costs go up by a few thousand dollars, it won’t even be so obvious to the company. But at the same time, hackers are exploiting a vulnerability for which customers or the company itself is paying the price.
In fact, this bitcoin mining is spreading faster than you may think. Many bitcoin miners are coming together to form groups to share the costs that come with it. These miners put together complex algorithms to find the best computers to mine and that’s probably how a few reached AWS in the first place.
As of October 7th, bitcons were worth about $4,300 each and this mining can happen until there are 21 million bitcoins available on the Internet. But, mining becomes difficult as years pass because almost every technique is explored and exhausted.
In this scenario, the big question is how are companies going to protect their assets not just from hackers, but also from bitcoin miners?