Rogue Miners Are Using Google Cloud Servers to Mine Cryptocurrencies

Google's cybersecurity team warns that this is neither the first nor the last time.
Loukia Papadopoulos
The photo credit line may appear like thisgopixa/iStock

Cryptomining is a very energy-intensive process with analysis by the University of Cambridge showing that Bitcoin consumes more electricity than the entire country of Argentina. Now, Google has released a new report stating that malicious cryptocurrency miners are using hacked Google Cloud accounts for mining purposes.

The report is called “Threat Horizons” and it aims to help organizations keep their cloud environments secure. 

"While cloud customers continue to face a variety of threats across applications and infrastructure, many successful attacks are due to poor hygiene and a lack of basic control implementation. Most recently, our team has responded to cryptocurrency mining abuse, phishing campaigns, and ransomware," wrote Google in an executive summary of the report.

"Given these specific observations and general threats, organizations that put emphasis on secure implementation, monitoring, and ongoing assurance will be more successful in mitigating these threats or at the very least reduce their overall impact."

No time wasted

Google indicated that 86% of 50 Google Cloud accounts were used to perform cryptocurrency mining with cryptocurrency mining software downloaded within 22 seconds of the account being compromised in most cases. 

In addition, Google's report revealed that 10% of compromised Cloud instances were used to conduct scans of other publicly available resources on the Internet to identify vulnerable systems, and 8% of instances were used to attack other targets.

Because crypto mining is so expensive but so profitable, many fraudsters choose to do it through illegal means.

In May, we brought you news of a massive bitcoin mining rig caught operating illegally in the UK. Last July, the Ukraine police unit exposed a massive underground crypto mining farm in the city of Vinnytsia. In October of 2021, yet another illegal crypto mining plant was discovered — this time in Alberta, Canada. 

Where will the next illegal crypto mining activity surface next?

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