A Canadian University Faces Cryptojacking, Shuts Down Network

St. Francis Xavier University located in the eastern Canadian province of Nova Scotia is the most recent target of crypto mining malware. A major cyberattack forced the whole network within the premises to be completely shut down for almost a week as IT administrators tried to resolve the issue. Many cybercriminals who are shifting toward the technology behind cryptos are turning to cryptojacking as an easy tool for their endeavors.  


Another Major Organization Falls Victim

It was announced that the attack targeted the school on 1 November, completely taking over the entire network for the purpose of the illegal mining of cryptos; it is not yet known what types of cryptos were used. As soon as the school became aware of the malware, it closed off its whole network which was pulled entirely off the grid, which in effect stopped any school activities related to online courses, storage facilities online, emails, banking transactions, and of course the WiFi.

The university released a statement about the incident on November 4 revealing that there hasn’t been any evidence pointing towards a compromise of any sensitive information during the attack and that the decision to go offline was a precautionary one while experts dealt with the problem and eliminated the malware. The statement mentions that the malware had utilized the computing power from StFX for the purpose of creating or discovering BTC for profit.  

The school assured its community that all services should be properly restored and urged every individual to change the password of their university account.

Cryptojacking Is Becoming a Huge Problem

It seems there are many stories involving cryptojacking attacks and they are increasingly becoming more complicated. Just last October fake Adobe updates were used as a group of Trojan horses for the installations of software for mining cryptos. Furthermore, the government in India was also a victim of such attacks and faced a series of them across many governmental branches throughout the country.

McAfee Labs produced a warning last September that cryptojacking attacks that have been detected reached a shocking 86% increase during the second quarter of 2018, which makes it among the fastest growing threats in cybersecurity besides ransomware. About 30% of businesses in the United Kingdom have already reported attacks related to crypto mining according to a July report, and the issue seems to be getting worse because for hackers it is quite easy and cheap to integrate these systems with large organizational networks.

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