Bad Actors Hijack Ukraine’s Government System to Mine Monero
Hackers have planted cryptocurrency mining malware on the computers of the Ukrainian State Judicial Administration (SJA), secretly minting privacy-centric monero (XMR) altcoin for over six months, reports Finance Magnates on June 24, 2019.
Stealthy Cryptojacking Operation Uncovered
Per sources close to the matter, Ukrainian security personnel have discovered a secret cryptocurrency mining operation that has purportedly been going on since the beginning of this year.
Reportedly, the researchers found a deadly monero (XMR) mining malware installed on the computers of the State Judicial Administration, with the primary aim of stealing system resources to mine cryptos.
Specifically, the group of unknown hackers started the mining operation earlier in January 2019, by planting the MinerGate malware.
To be clear, Minergate is a legitimate cryptocurrency mining software in itself, however, it is described as a ‘riskware’ due to the fact that it is often deployed remotely on people’s computers to secretly mine cryptoassets without the permission of the host.
Malware Disrupted the Database
According to the Security Service of Ukraine, the Minergate software hid in the server equipment of the data center as well as the entire computer infrastructure.
Due to the malware’s activities which consumes a lot of computing resources, the security agency says it led to the loss of a huge chunk of data stored on the websites of the courts, as well as the web portal of the “Judicial Power of Ukraine.”
That’s not all, the security authorities have also stated that the malware paralyzed the email service of the judicial administration and several important electronic services.
The agency said:
“In the same vein, the email service did not function in the judicial administration in the courts, other government parastatals and institutions of the justice system. Access to some electronic services provided by ESITIS was also impossible.”
Crypto Crime Steadily on the Rise
Just like in the traditional financial industry where rogue actors constantly raid banks and orchestrate other forms of illicit acts in a bid to get rich quick, the growing ubiquity of bitcoin and altcoins has also spurred crypto thieves to get more sophisticated in their game.
In January 2019, reports emerged that two notorious hacking groups had succeeded in stealing at least $1 billion worth of digital assets from exchanges.
On June 22, 2019, BTCManager informed that Florida’s Riviera Beach leaders had agreed to pay hackers a whopping $650k in bitcoin (BTC) following a severe ransomware attack that crippled its entire online operations.