Ukrainian police have arrested a hacker who allegedly used compromised servers belonging to an American company to secretly mine cryptocurrencies.
The Ukrainian cyberpolice revealed the individual was able to create a million virtual servers on which he proceeded to install cryptojackers - cryptocurrency miners that try to operate in the background and without the knowledge or consent of the endpoint’s owners.
The individual, an unnamed 29-year-old man, had been allegedly active since 2021. He first brute-forced his way into 1,500 accounts of a subsidiary of “one of the world’s largest ecommerce companies” - although the name of the affected company was not disclosed.
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After brute-forcing his way into the devices, the criminal created a million virtual computers and installed the cryptocurrency miners. Everything he managed to mine, he moved using the TON wallet. The police claim the volume of the transactions amounted to approximately $2 million.
The hacker was arrested on January 9, during which the police confiscated computer equipment, bank and SIM Cards, electronic media, and other evidence. He is now facing criminal charges.
To successfully mine cryptocurrencies, a person would need a high-end computer and an internet connection. Mining the tokens is a compute-heavy operation, which makes the computer practically useless for anything else. Furthermore, the operation uses a lot of electricity, too, racking up the energy bill quickly.
That’s why hackers often try to compromise corporate servers - they’re powerful devices that can mine plenty of coins, while leaving the headache of the electricity bill to someone else.
Furthermore, while the servers are too occupied mining the coins, they are too slow to be used for their original purpose, which increases the expenses for the victim company even further. Those are just some of the reasons why some analysts claim that for every $1 of cryptocurrency mined, the victim suffers roughly $53 in damages.
Hackers usually use cryptojackers to mine Monero (XMR), a privacy-oriented coin which, allegedly, is practically untraceable. XMRig is one of the most popular cryptominers out there.
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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.