Cryptojacking attack hits over 2,000 computers at Aditya Birla Group

In the first instance of a major 'cryptojacking' attack in India, more than 2,000 computers of the Aditya Birla Group were reportedly hacked by miners to mine cryptocurrencies.

"Recently, the advance threat detection systems of our Group alerted us of suspicious activity on some desktop systems. Based on this, our internal team immediately carried out an investigation and deployed countermeasures to isolate and eliminate the cause of this activity," an Aditya Birla Group spokesperson told Economic Times.

The spokesperson added that there was no data loss due to the activity.

According to a report in the economic daily, the attack was first detected a month ago at a group's overseas subsidiary and the attackers were 'cryptojacking' to mine a virtually untraceable digital currency called Monero. 

Cryptojacking is defined as the secret use of a computing device to mine cryptocurrency.

With a low barrier of entry, cyber criminals are increasingly harnessing stolen processing power and cloud CPU usage from consumers and enterprises to mine cryptocurrency.

Cryptojacking can slow devices, overheat batteries and in some cases, render devices unusable. For enterprise organisations, it can put corporate networks at risk of shutdown and inflate cloud CPU usage, adding to the cost.

"Cryptojacking is a rising threat to cyber and personal security. The massive profit incentive puts people, devices and organizations at risk of unauthorised coinminers siphoning resources from their systems, further motivating criminals to infiltrate everything from home PCs to giant data centers," Tarun Kaura, Director, Enterprise Security Product Management, APJ at Symantec recently told news agency IANS.

Companies are slowly taking note of the latest kind of cyber attack and working for solutions to prevent it. Google recently announced it would ban all extensions that involved cryptocurrency mining from its Chrome browser – regardless of whether the mining was done openly or in secret.

About Monero

Started in 2014, Monero is very different. It encrypts the recipient’s address on its blockchain and generates fake addresses to obscure the real sender. It also obscures the amount of the transaction.

Monero quadrupled in value to $349 in the final two months of 2017, according to coinmarketcap.com, placing it among a number of upstart coins that that rose faster than bitcoin, the world’s most valuable digital currency. 

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