Tesla, the electric car manufacturer, has become the latest victim of a cryptocurrency mining malware attack after its cloud service was hijacked to mine cryptocurrency.

In a blog post on, February 20, 2018, by RedLock, a cybersecurity outfit, suspected hackers were able to gain access to the Tesla cloud environment and use its computing power to mine cryptocurrencies. According to the blog post by RedLock, the hackers accessed the Tesla cloud environment via a vulnerable Kubernetes console. The blog post further went on to say that the RedLock cybersecurity team had alerted Tesla about the perceived vulnerability of the same Kubernetes console a few months ago.

While most of the recorded cryptocurrency mining attacks have utilized public mining pools, the Tesla cloud hackers decided to alter their tactics. Instead of using a public mining pool, they installed a mining pool software and hid behind CloudFlare. The mining pool software made it difficult to detect their incursion into the Tesla cloud environment as their IP address was obscured from system administrators. Also, the hackers set up mining pool software in such a way that it did not utilize a significant amount of computing power. The undetected IP address and low computation power helped to make the detection of the hack even more difficult.

Commenting on the matter, a spokesperson for Tesla insisted that the hack did not compromise customer information stored on the company’s servers. The spokesperson also went to say that the company has a bounty bug program that invites people to research and identify bugs and vulnerabilities such as the one exploited by the hackers. CTO of RedLock, Gaurav Kumar declared that public cloud environments are susceptible to malicious digital incursions. The lack of adequate cloud threat defenses makes them a suitable target for hackers. With cryptocurrencies becoming more valuable by the day, the rise of cloud service hijacking to mine cryptocurrencies is also on the rise.

Cryptojacking is a Growing Trend

The Tesla cloud hack is the latest in a series of malware attacks that are carried out for the purpose of mining cryptocurrency. The act of creating malware to siphon processing power from computers to surreptitiously mine cryptocurrency is becoming a common trend. Earlier in the month, BTCManager reported that cryptocurrency malware infected UK government websites.

Coinhive, an illicit program that mines the Monero cryptocurrency is one of the more popular cryptocurrency mining malware programs on the web. It was responsible for most of the attacks on the over 4,000 websites that were infected with cryptocurrency mining malware earlier in the year.

Such is the extent of the problem that popular browsing platform Opera recently created a setting that prevents unauthorized cryptocurrency mining. The creation of this setting prevents hackers from cryptojacking a user’s computer for illicit cryptocurrency mining. Despite this and many other efforts, cryptojacking is still a common occurrence as illicit mining scripts are even now being attached to YouTube ads. Many of these mining attacks severely reduce the operating capacity of the victim’s computer since as much as 80 percent of the computing power can be hijacked by these mining malware programs.

 

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