Surging cryptomining activities in University campuses raises risks of hacks 20846
News
Priyanka Babu
Aug 11, 2018 at 11:43 PM

A new study confirms the existence of a new group of cryptomining fans. A study conducted by Vectra, a cybersecurity company that specializes in building software that will identify mining and other issues, revealed that there was a surge in cryptomining activities by students on campus. Vectra conducted the study in 11 campuses and found cryptomining activities in all of them, reported CNBC. The study also found that the university students were setting up mining operations a maximum of four times a day.

Soaring Electricity Bills

What worries the universities most is the electricity consumption of these activities. Mining contributes computing power to a network which requires a massive amount of electricity. "I think there are a lot of universities that don't know this is happening. I don't think that they would want it to happen either, considering it costs $4,700 to mine one bitcoin. That's about 10 percent of the annual tuition at a private university," said Mike Banic, the marketing VP of Vectra.

Electricity bills are not the only trouble with mining. The campus network will be vulnerable against the malware that might be contained in some of the cryptomining software. Banic said, "Cryptomining is largely viewed as a nuisance attack because somebody else is downloading malware to a machine you own and using it to make money for themselves. What they are not thinking about is the pivot where that attacker could then use that machine to then attack the organization. And then it becomes something that they do worry about.”

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There exist many types of mining software that communicate to computers across the world. This fact makes it easier for a hacker to control a person’s computer. The hacker can access the entire network of the university through the personal computer.

Mining has also increased not only on campus. "Cryptomining is up 4.5 to 5 times. And it's across every place. Forty percent of those locations are enterprise businesses. There are probably employees who, as you walk up to their desk, they switch what they're doing because maybe what they were doing was mining bitcoin," told Banic. Banic advised that mining can be identified if businesses focus on their internal network. "You can actually kill the bitcoin mining process on the machine with the right kind of endpoint software," said Banic.

According to a Forbes report in April, mineable cryptocurrencies have more than 71% of the market value of the top cryptocurrencies. As the number of mineable cryptocurrencies has surged, the technology to mine them is also changing. New innovations like ASIC systems and Cryptonight can handle more mining power and load better results.

Image via Shutterstock

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