Feeds

Boffins build FREE SUPERCOMPUTER from free cloud server trials

Who cares about T&Cs when there's LIteCoin to mint?

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

Researchers Rob Ragan and Oscar Salazar have built a free LiteCoin-mining botnet that generates $US1750 a week using free cloud signup promotions.

The pair will outline the exploit at Black Hat next month, but have blabbed to Wired about how they used automatic tools and processes to spread a currency-mining botnet across some 150 popular free services that each generated about 25 cents a day -- all on the providers' electricity bill.

LiteCoin became the pair's crypto-currency of choice because BitCoin is hard to generate without graphical processing units these days.

The duo will demonstrate their bot and release the tools required to build one at Black Hat in Las Vegas next month, along with some defensive mechanisms cloud providers could deploy to fend off freeloaders.

The attack worked because of cloud providers' ongoing efforts to recruit customers with free promotions. It appears that none of the providers the pair targeted took much interest in what the researchers were doing with their free servers.

"A lot of these companies are startups trying to get as many users as quickly as possible [which are] not really thinking about defending against these kinds of attacks," Salazar told Wired.

The bot was bult on free and fast tools including Mandrill and FreeDNS.afraid.org for email address registration, variations on public data breach databases, a custom program on Google App Engine, and the Python Fabric to manage scripts controlling the hundreds of cloud instances.

To keep the lawyers off their backs, Ragan and Salazar terminated most of their fraud bots leaving a handful to mine coins to test the failed defenses of cloud providers. It was unclear if freeloading off free cloud subscriptions would breached various computer crime laws which range from vague to non-existent, but it likely breached terms and conditions nine ways to Sunday. ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
SMASH the Bash bug! Apple and Red Hat scramble for patch batches
'Applying multiple security updates is extremely difficult'
Apple's new iPhone 6 vulnerable to last year's TouchID fingerprint hack
But unsophisticated thieves need not attempt this trick
Hackers thrash Bash Shellshock bug: World races to cover hole
Update your gear now to avoid early attacks hitting the web
Oracle SHELLSHOCKER - data titan lists unpatchables
Database kingpin lists 32 products that can't be patched (yet) as GNU fixes second vuln
Who.is does the Harlem Shake
Blame it on LOLing XSS terroristas
Researchers tell black hats: 'YOU'RE SOOO PREDICTABLE'
Want to register that domain? We're way ahead of you.
Stunned by Shellshock Bash bug? Patch all you can – or be punished
UK data watchdog rolls up its sleeves, polishes truncheon
Ello? ello? ello?: Facebook challenger in DDoS KNOCKOUT
Gets back up again after half an hour though
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.