Beware - that Nvidia RTX LHR Mining Unlocker is actually malware

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Malicious actors are preying on greedy Ethereum miners by trying to distribute malware through places where it hurts them the most - their precious GPU devices.

As reported by Tom’s Hardware, the Nvidia GeForce RTX 30- and RTX A-series graphics cards come with a limiter of sorts in an attempt to make them less attractive to the cryptocurrency miners. 

However, it wasn’t long before someone pushed something called the "Nvidia RTX LHR v2 Unlocker to the web". It is being advertised as a tweak to the card’s BIOS, a modification to the firmware, which removes the performance cap for miners.

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Distributing malware

In reality, this firmware update is nothing more than malware. The YouTube channel Red Panda Mining Live! tested the firmware, and streamed the whole ordeal. Among the numerous red flags that the researchers spotted, was the fact that the program was timestamped as created in 2009, and not in 2022. 

Taking to Twitter, news editor at Wccftech, Hassan Mujtaba, said all links to the Github asset download page have been removed “since this tool is apparently infused with malware”, and asked the miners to avoid downloading, or using it, in any capacity, on their endpoints.

Cryptocurrency miners are polarizing not just the crypto community, but also GPU makers, politicians, environmental activists, lawmakers, and others. On one end, mining is the essential element to the elimination of third parties in financial transactions, while miners are deemed pivotal for the security of the Ethereum network. At the other end, the rising popularity of mining is making it almost impossible to obtain a new, strong graphics card, as all demand is eaten up in an instant, hiking the prices into the stratosphere.

Furthermore, miners are often criticized for wasting enormous amounts of energy, thus leaving a major carbon footprint. Crypto advocates, on the other hand, are saying that the energy spent on mining is negligible, as it takes up only a fraction of the excess energy that is wasted around the world. 

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Sead is a seasoned freelance journalist based in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. He writes about IT (cloud, IoT, 5G, VPN) and cybersecurity (ransomware, data breaches, laws and regulations). In his career, spanning more than a decade, he’s written for numerous media outlets, including Al Jazeera Balkans. He’s also held several modules on content writing for Represent Communications.