Google Says Bitcoin Miners Hacked Cloud Accounts

  • The company revealed that more than three-fourths of the 50 Google Cloud accounts breached by hackers recently were used in cryptocurrency mining.
  • An investigation by the global search giant revealed that “malicious actors” also used the accounts to scan other publicly available resources on the internet.
  • Google researchers have detected criminal activities carried out by hackers from Russia and South Korea.

According to American technology giant Google, miners of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have used hacked Google Cloud accounts to intensify mining activities in the cloud.

The breach of Google’s platform security was revealed in a report Wednesday by the company’s cybersecurity team. The report entitled “Threat Horizons” provides intelligence to organizations to try to maintain a secure environment in the cloud.

"Malicious actors were observed mining cryptocurrencies within compromised Cloud instances,"

the Google report stated.

Google Cloud customers can use the computing power of the platform for their activities including cryptocurrency mining. Google’s cloud service offers remote data and file storage to its customers off-site.

Google revealed that of the 50 Google Cloud accounts that were compromised, around 86% were breached by hackers to mine cryptocurrencies. According to the report, within 22 seconds of the account breach, the cryptocurrency mining software was downloaded.

Another fact highlighted in the report is that about 10% of the compromised accounts were used to scan other resources that are available on the Internet to identify vulnerable systems. 8% of the instances were used to carry out attacks on other targets.

On The Flipside

  • The rapid growth of the crypto industry, with Bitcoin leading the way, has also brought with it an increase in cybercrime related to crypto assets.
  • Reports of scams, cryptocurrency theft, and even human trafficking and other criminal activities are becoming more and more frequent. In some cases, such as the Poly Network hack, the vulnerability of the network was demonstrated.

One of the cryptocurrencies that consumes the most energy and resources is Bitcoin, which has earned it harsh criticism. Meanwhile, miners are looking for alternatives to lessen this disadvantage in a world that is marching towards decarbonization.

"The cloud threat landscape in 2021 was more complex than rogue cryptocurrency miners, of course,"

noted the report’s writers, Bob Mechler, director of the office of the chief information security officer at Google Cloud, and Seth Rosenblatt, Google Cloud security editor.

In their notes, Google researchers revealed that in late September, there was a phishing attack generated by the Russian group APT28/Fancy Bear. However, experts indicated that the company was able to block the attack successfully.

Google’s investigation also managed to identify a group of hackers supported by the North Korean regime. The criminals posed as Samsung technicians to infect the files and computers of employees of some South Korean cybersecurity companies with malicious software, the researchers added.

Why You Should Care?

  • Cyberattacks and the breach of cloud accounts of a company like Google demonstrate how far criminal crypto miners are going to obtain profits from mining Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.


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