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NSA Leak Fuels Rise in Hacking for Crypto Mining: Report

A new report says hackers have used a leaked US government software tool to step up illicit mining of cryptocurrencies like bitcoin and monero. PHOTO: Yahoo/AFP/Olga Maltseva

19 September 2018

YAHOO (AFP) — Illicit cryptocurrency mining has been surging over the past year, in part due to a leaked software tool from the US National Security Agency, researchers said Wednesday.

A report by the Cyber Threat Alliance, an association of cybersecurity firms and experts, said it detected a 459 percent increase in the past year of illicit crypto mining — a technique used by hackers to steal the processing power of computers to create cryptocurrency.

“Activity has gone from a virtually non-exist issue to one that almost universally shows up at the top of our members’ threat lists,” said a blog post by Neil Jenkins, chief analytic officer for the alliance.

One reason for the sharp rise was the leak last year by a group of hackers known as the Shadow Brokers of “EternalBlue,” software developed by the NSA to exploit vulnerabilities in the Windows operating system. […]

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