Hackers Target Microsoft Azure Servers to Illegally Mine Crypto

These servers are generating massive computing power needed for machine learning applications.

The machine learning cluster of Microsoft Azure cloud computing services has become the recent target of hackers for mining digital currencies.

In a blog post published on Wednesday, the technology giant revealed the attack on its services which allowed perpetrators to mine cryptocurrencies at the expense of the customers who rented Microsoft’s cloud computing services.

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Machine learning needs massive computing powers which often pushes third-party developers to rent cloud computing services instead of maintaining hardware.

Hackers simply exploited misconfigured nodes to mine crypto by redirecting the computing powers to mine crypto instead of performing the originally designated tasks of running machine learning codes.

Similar to other crypto jacking incidents, the hijackers mined Monero on Microsoft servers.

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According to the Redmond-headquartered company, compromised clusters it discovered counted in “tens”

The company specified that the infected clusters were running Kubeflow, an open-source framework for machine-learning applications in Kubernetes. This application is used to deploy scalable applications across a large number of computers.

The changes in the systems made using a vulnerability on a dashboard which can only be accessed by the administrators.

“Azure Security Center has detected multiple campaigns against Kubernetes clusters in the past that have a similar access vector: an exposed service to the Internet,” Yossi Weizman, a security research software engineer at Microsoft, noted. “However, this is the first time that we have identified an attack that targets Kubeflow environments specifically.”

Enterprise servers are often becoming targets

Cryptojacking becomes popular with the skyrocketing value of digital currencies. Though mostly confined to personal computers, hackers are also targeting enterprise servers to make more profits using massive computing power.

Just last month, a security firm report confirmed that at least 1,000 enterprise computers were targeted by the hackers to illegally mine digital currencies.

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