Mining cryptocurrencies has faced a number of challenges since the advent of Bitcoin (BTC) and other proof of work (PoW) cryptocurrencies – extensive use of electricity, environmental hazard, scam mining pools/site and the most prevalent, mining malware in unsuspecting people computers. The last challenge mostly occurs on individual computers but recent reports show that the Ukraine State Judicial Administration computers were infected with malware. The malware took up the computing power and mined cryptocurrencies without the knowledge of the state agency for over six months.
The security officials in Ukraine are yet to find the associated criminals who have spread the malware to the computers in the agency since January.
The cryptocurrency mining scam was only discovered following the loss of over 3 weeks’ worth of news on the SJA court website and also on the “Judicial Power of Ukraine” web portal. . This prompted a search of the computer systems and the data centers of the agency leading to the discovery of the malware.
MinerGate Malware Used to Mine Monero (XMR) Cryptocurrency
According to the reports released to news stations in the country, the hackers are believed to have used a mining software dubbed MinerGate, which infects the computer systems using highly effective technics such as file-less infection attacks. The security officials further found that the hackers were mining Monero cryptocurrency, a privacy-enabled crypto, making the search for the culprits more difficult.
Other servers were compromised leading to failure of the Judicial Administration as explained by the report:
“At the same time, the e-mail service did not function in the judicial administration in the courts, other bodies and institutions of the justice system. There was no access to a number of electronic services provided by ESITIS.”
The wallets connected to the hackers are yet to be discovered due to the privacy encryption Monero provides its users.
Ukraine Government: “Yes to Cryptocurrency, no to Mining”
Ukraine is one of the multiple Eastern Europe countries that are looking to adopt cryptocurrencies. The government announced late last year the possibility of adding a state-backed cryptocurrency, Hryvnia cryptocurrency. Additionally, the state regulators introduced tax havens for blockchain and cryptocurrency related business to boost adoption in the country. In April, the country also announced its plans to add a digital assets payment service on Kiev’s public transportation system.
Despite the increased campaigns to use cryptocurrencies in the country, the state maintains its stance on not regulating the cryptocurrency mining market. Users participating in mining activities face a hefty fine and further disciplinary action from the authorities.
The crackdown on unregulated cryptocurrency mining is taking effect across the world especially on miners using public electricity to conduct their mining activities.