An Italian airport technician was reportedly arrested for allegedly using grid and power systems to mine Ethereum.
The technician is said to have installed five powerful airport computer processors for an Ethereum mining farm.
The system was only detected when technicians noticed „anomalies“ and alerted local police
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A 41-year-old IT technician at Lamezia Terme International Airport in Italy was reportedly arrested by local police after he was caught using the airport’s computer networks and harnessing power to mine Ethereum .
According to Rai News , the anonymous technician was in charge of the airport’s IT infrastructure, giving him access to network assets.
The medium-sized airport, located in the southwest of Italy’s Calabria region, serves the bustling tourist area and is also home to the Italian Army’s 2nd “Sirio” Air Regiment. According to reports, he took advantage of his unrestricted access to control areas and installed Ethereum’s mining software on airport systems, compromising their security.
“Alarmed by anomalies”
Staff at the Italian company Sacal, which operates Calabria’s seven airports and airfields, first noticed that something was wrong due to unusual network activity and high power consumption. They reported the case to the Reggio Calabria and Catanzaro Postal Police, who resumed the investigation.
In addition to dramatically increasing electricity consumption and consuming system resources, this malware also shortens the operational lifespan of infected computer hardware and in some cases is known to cause operating system failure. . This created the potential for a potential service outage that would affect the communications systems of the crucial regional airport.
Police investigators working with airport authorities carried out a computer audit of airport facilities and reportedly discovered an improvised mining farm spread across two technical rooms. The farm consisted of 5 GPUs installed in a configuration optimized for Ethereum mining.
A mining underground Full Service
The facility was connected to the Internet through systems that were to be exclusively reserved for airport management services, and it was connected to the airport’s 24-hour power supply. The miner allegedly mined Ethereum 24 hours a day. , without risk to himself and at the expense of the airport.
Investigators working with the Lamezia Terme prosecutor’s office were able to establish that the facility was used to mine Ethereum. They were also able to use the IP addresses linked to the mining processors to determine the location of the Ethermine pool the miner was working with. After a period of observation that included the use of secret cameras and criminal harassment, the employee alleged to be responsible for the violation was identified and taken for questioning.
History highlights the continuing threat of so-called “crypto-jacking” and stealth mining to network managers. In 2014, Harvard University’s cluster of supercomputers, dubbed Odyssey, was hit by crypto-mining malware that hijacked its ability to illegally mine Dogecoin. In November 2019, BeInCrypto reported that Dexphot, a sophisticated crypto-mining malware, had infected more than 80,000 computers.