The Hackers are now attacking Russia’s govt IT infrastructure to mine cryptocurrencies, a law enforcement-affiliated expert revealed within an official conference on Thursday.
In line with Nikolai Murashov, deputy director of the National Coordination Center for Computer Incidents, hackers are actively exploiting the IT infrastructure of Russia’s government entities, defense contractors, medical entities, and research institutes to mine crypto assets. He explained this within his speech at the Infoforum conference in Moscow, though he didn’t specify actual details about these attacks, the TASS press agency reported.
While at the same time, researchers at the Group-IB cybersecurity firm added that cryptocurrency mining is really one of the smallest popular ways for hackers to boost funds, both globally and in Russia especially. Consistent with Group-IB’s “Hi-Tech Crime Trends 2020–2021” report, published earlier in the month of November, the most dangerous cybersecurity threat for businesses is encrypting malware.
“Even those hacker groups that earlier attacked banks to tug money out via card processing, ATMs, and SWIFT are now using encrypting malware,” Group-IB spokesperson Pavel Sedakov. Demanding an enormous chunk of cash directly appears to be a more attractive tactic than waiting until the mining software accumulates enough cryptocurrencies, he added. Plus, now the attackers are demanding that a victim pays twice: both for decrypting the info and for not publishing it online.
Sometimes, govts employees themselves abuse access to computers at work to mine cryptocurrencies. Earlier in December 2019, Murashov added that two Russian nationals were prosecuted for using the govt IT infrastructure, along with a municipal water utility company, for mining. Then also in 2019, several employees of the All-Russian research project Institute of Experimental Physics in Sarov were sentenced to fines and prison time for mining on computers employed at a nuclear lab.
The National Coordination Center for Computer Incidents was created by the Federal Security Service [FSB] in 2018 to take care of the security of crucial parts of the infrastructure in Russia. FSB is additionally supervising everything associated with cryptography employed by government entities in Russia, including the utilization of cryptography by enterprise blockchain projects.