Hacker Used Tens of Thousands of Computers for Crypto Mining
The increasing popularity of cryptocurrencies has attracted not only legitimate investors but also cybercriminals who have found ingenious ways to exploit this emerging technology. Recently, a story emerged of an ethical hacker who had gained control of tens of thousands of computers and used them to mine cryptocurrencies.
Zombie Crypto Miners
Ryan Montgomery is an ethical hacker who had made a name for himself by exposing pedophiles online. However, during an interview on the Shawn Ryan Show podcast, Montgomery revealed that he had also hacked into tens of thousands of computers and had these machines mine cryptocurrencies for him.
According to Montgomery, he had complete control of the computers he had penetrated and used them to mine Bitcoin and Litecoin. The interesting thing about his method was that he only used the computer’s resources when it was idle so as not to interfere with the owner’s activities. This way, the victims would have no idea that their computer was taken over by a hacker.
“I had quite a few infected computers that were always mining. The thing I did was, what you might call “nice” was that when the computer was idle, it would use 100% of the processor and graphics card to mine the coins. And when the computer was in use, it only used 20%, so they don’t have a horrible experience with their computer crashing all the time.”
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Tens of Thousands of Acquired Miners
Montgomery hasn’t revealed how many computers he had penetrated, but he estimates that he had put tens of thousands of machines to work in this way. All the computers were then connected to one mining pool, enabling him to earn a sizeable income. However, at some point, Montgomery felt that this was no longer ethical, and he decided to pursue other business goals.
It’s important to note that while Montgomery calls himself an ethical hacker, using other people’s computers to mine cryptocurrencies is not ethical. Most crypto mining requires significant processing power, which comes at a cost to the computer’s owner in terms of electricity bills and reduced performance. In many cases, the owner of the infected computers would have no idea that their machine was being used for mining.
As cryptocurrencies continue to gain mainstream acceptance, it becomes essential to protect against such attacks. One way to stay safe is to invest in good antivirus software that can detect and remove malware from your system. Another is to be wary of emails from unknown senders and links to suspicious websites. Finally, keeping your software up to date and using strong passwords can go a long way in protecting you from hackers.