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Researchers at Dell's SecureWorks Counter Threat Unit CTU have identified an exploit that can be used to steal cryptocurrency from mining pools — and they claim that at least one unknown miscreant has already used the technique to pilfer tens of thousands of dollars in digital cash.
By broadcasting malicious network routes via BGP, the attacker was able to redirect traffic from legitimate currency-mining servers on one network to bogus servers on another network that masqueraded as the genuine article. These spoofed mining servers allowed clients to keep mining cryptocurrency but they never issued any payouts. All proceeds from the mining activity instead went straight into the attacker's pockets.
Using BGP, attackers diverted traffic from the correct route left to a spoofed mining server right Source: Dell SecureWorks Click to enlarge. Obviously, most of that was probably Bitcoin, since it's the only crypto-cash with any significant real-world value.
But the Dell team says Bitcoin wasn't the only currency that was skimmed. One miner the researchers interviewed said he estimates he lost around 8, Dogecoins during one hijacking incident toward the end of March. The Dell researchers eventually traced the bogus BGP broadcasts to a single router at an unnamed Canadian ISP, but no culprit in the attacks has been identified. While the hijacking attacks were real and victims lost crypto-coins that could be traded for real money, however, the Dell team says the risk of future such attacks is "minimal.
In fact, the SecureWorks CTU says two likely possibilities in the attacks they observed are that a rogue employee of the Canadian ISP was responsible, or that a former employee was able to compromise a router using an old password. Cryptocurrency miners, on the other hand, have an even easier solution available: The Register - Independent news and views for the tech community.
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