Hackers demanding million-dollar prize for leaked Nvidia GPU mining bypass

(Image credit: BTC Keychain (Flickr))

The hackers behind the Nvidia cyberattack have slapped a $1million price tag on an alleged cryptomining limiter tool.

Among the terabyte of sensitive data stolen from the computing giant by LAPSUS$ was information that could help some Ethereum miners double their productivity.

Ethereum, the world’s second-biggest blockchain network, operates on the Proof-of-Work concept, the same as Bitcoin.  In layman’s terms, that means to obtain the Ether currency, one needs to “mine”, or have a computer do some cryptographic heavy lifting. That’s why state-of-the-art GPU units, such as the ones Nvidia has on offer, have been selling out like crazy, as they provide the best ROI.

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More Nvidia woes

To discourage Bitcoin miners from swallowing up all of the supply, and to allow other users to get a chance of buying one of the newer units, Nvidia was forced to limit the hash rate on their devices, essentially making it unprofitable for miners to go for these GPUs.

Allegedly, the RTX 3000 GPU can only work with some 50% capacity, for Ethereum mining.

Now, LAPSUS$ says that it has built a tool that can bypass Nvidia’s Lite Hash Rate limiter without “flashing” or updating the firmware on the device. 

“Without flashing = big money for any miner developer,” the group said earlier this week.

However there is more than one reason why anyone considering obtaining this tool should think twice. First, there’s no guarantee that it actually works, as LAPSUS$ did not provide a proof of concept, or demo, to show the tool in practice. 

Second, it could very well be a scam, or a way to distribute malware. It wouldn’t be the first time people claimed to have cracked the hash rate limiter, only to be exposed as frauds.

Third, the Ethereum network is phasing out Proof-of-Work and shifting towards Proof-of-Stake, which would completely eliminate the need for any mining on endpoints, and thus, the need for any GPUs. 

While it’s hard to determine the timeframe of the migration, it does raise the question of the profitability of buying the tool for $1 million.

Via: PC Mag

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.