The chief executive of a renowned cybersecurity frim recently claimed that employees are increasingly taking over their employers’ computers to mine cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, according to a report published by Business Insider.
Nicole Eagan, CEO of Darktrace, a cybersecurity company that works with the likes of the City of Las Vegas, European power plant giant Drax, and the Scottish government, told attendees at the Wall Street Journal’s CEO Council event that employees taking over computing power is becoming a problem.
“We have seen 1,000 crypto-mining cases in the last six months in the US alone with employees taking over company infrastructure for crypto mining. This is becoming a big problem.”
As an example, Eagan revealed Darktrace had come across an instance where a junior banker at an Italian bank stole servers he had signed for on the company’s behalf. According to her, the junior banker took 12 servers and hid them under the floorboards of the bank’s data center to set up his own cryptocurrency mining operations.
The move went undetected for “some period of time,” until the unusual connections going outside the bank to his cryptocurrency mining operations gave it all away.
Robert Hannigan, former director of the British government’s cybersecurity agency GCHQ, appeared alongside Eagan at the conference, and added that he believes “people are doing what they’ve always done in the criminal world, which is to harness unsecured processing power from around the world.”
Hanningan added that botnets – networks of other people’s remotely controlled devices – are constantly used to mine cryptocurrencies. Using other people’s devices to mine cryptos is known as cryptojacking.
The cryptojacking trend has been on the rise, so much so that the UK’s national cybersecurity center has listed it as a “significant” threat. Notably, reports have shown that even the Egyptian government secretly mined cryptocurrencies with citizens computers at one point.
The trend has been so damaging that most anti-malware tools block cryptocurrency mining scripts. Google, as covered, recently removed all crypto mining extensions from Chrome’s store.