Multiple supercomputers across Europe that worked on COVID-19 research have been targeted by cryptocurrency-mining attacks over the past week, according to media reports. Leading to lengthy outages Bitcoin bulls are still focused on breaking the resistance at $10,000. The weekend session was characterized by increased selling pressure. For instan Read the latest in-depth cryptocurrency market analysis and opinion on leading cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, Ripple and ICOs.
Several high-performance computers working on COVID-19 research have been forced offline following a string of attacks
Multiple supercomputers across Europe that are working on COVID-19 research have been targeted by cryptocurrency-mining attacks over the past week. The reports of the incursions started pouring in last Monday, when supercomputers in the United Kingdom and Germany were among the first victims.
Last Monday, the UK’s National Supercomputing Service ARCHER announced that it’d disabled access to its system following the exploitation of its login nodes. The incident is under investigation; according to the notice on the organization’s website, all of the Secure Shell (SSH) keys and ARCHER passwords will be rewritten and no longer be valid. “When ARCHER returns to service all users will be required to use two credentials to access the service: an SSH key with a passphrase and their ARCHER password,” said the center.
Meanwhile, the Baden-Württemberg High Performance Computing of Germany said on its website that it was attacked on the same day as well, leading it to take five of its clusters offline citing a security incident.
However, it wasn’t the only German supercomputer center to be hit. On Thursday, the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre announced that it was temporarily closing access, with the Jülich Supercomputing Centre following suit by taking its JURECA, JUDAC, and JUWELS systems offline due to a “security incident”.
BleepingComputer said that as many as nine German supercomputers may have fallen victim to the attacks.
And that’s still not all. The Swiss National Super Computing Center also acknowledged an attack and said over the weekend that academic centers in Europe and around the world alike were fighting off cyberattacks and since it detected malicious activity as well, it was shutting off external access to its center.
“We are currently investigating the illegal access to the center. Our engineers are actively working on bringing back the systems as soon as possible to reduce the impact on our users to a minimum,” said CSCS’ director Thomas Schulthess.
The European Grid Infrastructure (EGI) published the findings of its Computer Security Incident Response Team (EGI-CSIRT), which investigated two of the security incidents that may or may not be related. Based on their analysis, the bad actor used compromised SSH credentials to gain access to the systems and use them to mine Monero. EGI-CSIRT pointed out that there are victims in Europe, as well as in China and North America; however, it wasn’t able to confirm how the SSH credentials were stolen.
As of now, there is no official statement on whether the attacks were carried out by one threat actor or by various groups. But one might speculate that there might be some relation between them, since the targets were similar, and the attacks were carried out over the span of one week.
ESET cybersecurity specialist Jake Moore had this to say about the attacks: “What’s interesting about this is that it seems hackers have targeted the supercomputers completely remotely for the first time, as before there has always been an insider who installs the cryptomining malware used for the attack. All the SSH login credentials will now need resetting, which may take a while, but this is vital to stop further attacks. Once a list of credentials is compromised, it is a race against time to have these reset. Unfortunately, the lead time is usually enough of a head start for threat actors to take advantage of the mining software,” he added.
Author: Amer Owaida
European supercomputers hacked, apparently to mine cryptocurrency
Supercomputers across Europe were infected with cryptocurrency mining malware, forcing operators to shut the systems down to investigate the attack.
Many of the impacted systems are used to run workloads that hope to help in the fight against Covid-19, along with other important research.
While there have been several reports of cyber attacks on Covid-19 research institutions by foreign nation-states, this currently does not appear to be the case with this recent spate of attacks. The European Grid Infrastructure (EGI) security team released details on two of the recent attacks, stating they found mining malware on supercomputer servers. “If true, it is more likely these are criminal financially motivated attacks than the espionage attacks against research centers that the FBI has warned about this week,” security company Cado said in a blog post.
The University of Edinburgh was the first to declare that something was wrong, last Monday reporting a “security exploitation on the ARCHER login nodes.”
ARCHER, one of the UK’s most powerful supercomputers, is still offline as the system is scanned and all of ARCHER’s existing passwords and SSH keys are rewritten. The university said that it is working with the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) and system manufacturer HPE/Cray.
“There is currently nothing to suggest that any research, client or personal data has been impacted by this issue and all relevant stakeholders are being updated,” a University of Edinburgh spokesperson said.
Later that day, bwHPC, the group coordinating research projects across Baden-Württemberg, supercomputers in Germany said that five of its high-performance computing clusters had to be shut down due to similar “security incidents.”
Among the affected systems is the powerful Hawk supercomputer at the University of Stuttgart.
Then, over in Spain, security researcher Felix von Leitner on Wednesday claimed that a supercomputer in Barcelona had been hit, and was brought offline to clean the system.
The next day, the news continued: First, the Leibniz Computing Center declared a security breach, and took its cluster offline. Next, the Jülich Research Center shut down the JURECA, JUDAC, and JUWELS supercomputers, followed by the Taurus system at the Technical University in Dresden.
Over the weekend, it was revealed that a cluster at the Faculty of Physics at the Ludwig-Maximilians University in Munich, Germany had been impacted, and that the Swiss Center of Scientific Computations (CSCS) was equally affected.
“Artificial intelligence and supercomputers are at the forefront of the coronavirus response,” the European Commission said in a tweet last month.
“Three powerful European supercomputing centres in Bologna, Barcelona and Jülich are currently being used to research and develop vaccines, treatments and diagnoses for the coronavirus.”
The attacks may have spread outside of Europe, with Cado Security claiming that they “found an additional server that belongs to a super-computer cluster operated by a well-known University in the United States” The company said: “We are reaching out to them as they may also be compromised.”
Author: May 18, 2020
Cryptocurrency Market News: Bitcoin break above $10,000 imminent even as Ethereum longs surge
Bitcoin bulls are still focused on breaking the resistance at $10,000. The weekend session was characterized by increased selling pressure. For instance, a bearish price action confirmed the support at $9,500 before the Asian session on Monday turned bullish. BTC/USD has advanced higher by 2.14% on the day; from the opening value of $9,672 to $9,874 (market value). An intraday high was reached at $9,957 (marking the end of the brief bull-run. At the time of writing, the trend has started to turn bearish once again while the volatility remains high.
As reported earlier, Ethereum is among the biggest single-digit gainers of the day. The second-largest cryptocurrency has corrected upwards from $207 (opening value) to $216 (prevailing market value). Ether’s trend is strongly bullish and coupled with the high volatility, the price is likely to shoot upwards while aiming for $220 and $230 respectively.
XRP/USD has not been left behind by the ongoing bullish wave. The crypto is up 3.15% on the day to trade at $0.2075. On the upside, XRP is dealing with the resistance at $0.21. The high volatility and strong bullish grip show the potential for more upward action.
On a wider scope, Litecoin (LTC) is among the best-improved coins of the day. LTC/USD is up 5.66% and followed closely by Bitcoin Cash (5.24%). Other cryptocurrencies in the top 30 performing exceptionally on Monday include Dash (4.23%), EOS (4.53%), Monero (4%), Ethereum Classic (3.64%) and NEO (3.52%).
Ethereum is experiencing an avalanche in long positions especially on Bitfinex, one of the leading futures trading platforms in the industry. Data shows over a million Ether has been added to the long positions in spring alone; representing 1% of the network’s total supply. It is also twice the previous long amount. On the other hand, short positions fail to match up to the longs as they currently stand at roughly 125,000 ETH. In other words, many traders are betting on Ethereum price being able to rally in the near term. The positive sentiments are attributed to the soon to launch ETH 2.0 staking.
JCB, the largest credit card issuer in Japan is reportedly partnering with TECHFUND, a renowned technology accelerator to develop a robust transaction system using blockchain. A recent statement by JCB said that the collaboration hopes to tap into TECHFUND’s expertise especially on security token offerings (STOs) as well as staking, to build a platform that will support huge volume transactions. JCB has recently shown immense interest in the blockchain technology to the extent of planning to take on a new business-to-business (B2B) payment solution mainly based on the technology.
Bought more gold silver Bitcoin. GOLD [currently] at $1700. Predict $3000 in 1 year. Silver [currently] at $17. Predict $40 in 5 years. Bitcoin [currently] at $9800. Predict $75000 in 3 years. (@Robert Kiyosaki).
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