Tech 7 November 2018Dennis Wafula
Canadian university shuts down network after cryptojacking attack
The St. Francis Xavier University, located in Nova Scotia, Canada, has found itself targeted by a cryptocurrency mining malware—also known as cryptojacking—forcing the institution to shut down its entire network.
On Monday, GlobalNews.ca reported that the university shuttered its operation for four days last week while its administration looks for ways to remove the malware. The cryptojacking attack started last November 1 when the malware infiltrated the university’s network, and began mining an unknown cryptocurrency using the educational institution’s processing power. Upon detecting the malware, officials shut down its entire network which has caused things to come to a standstill.
The University released an official statement on November 4, explaining that the attack has not caused any harm to members of the university and no sensitive information had been stolen. The university added that it would restore its network once its IT experts are done fixing the security breach. Some services, however, have been restored, including access to email, Wi-Fi, debit transactions, the school’s online course system, shared storage space and drives on the St. FX network, according to St. Francis Xavier University.
To protect themselves from possible harm, the university asked all members from their facility to change their password.
Miners have resulted in cryptojacking activities to avoid the high cost that comes with cryptocurrency mining. This has caused unsuspecting computer users, both personal and industrial, to suffer this cost on behalf of the miners. Crytojackers use malware to penetrate computers or networks that have high processing powers. The user through ads and extensions installs most of the malware unknowingly.
Once installed the malware helps the cryptojackers to mine currencies using the users processing power and electricity. To mine more coins, some miners have targeted large institutions like the St. Francis Xavier University to access the largely available power. They are also targeting government websites with high traffic to mining their coins.
These cryptojackers are making vast sums of money from their operations. To avoid being detected by the authorities, cryptocjackers are developing new ways to prevent their malware from being notices. Last month, some miners were using fake Adobe flash update which they used as Trojan horses to install crypto mining software into user computers.
Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (SegWit) chain are referenced as BTC coins; tokens on the Bitcoin Cash ABC chain are referenced as BCH, BCH-ABC or BAB coins.
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