12 Feb 2018

First documented cryptocurrency malware attack on a SCADA network

Radiflow, a provider of cybersecurity solutions for critical infrastructure, has announced that the company has revealed the first documented cryptocurrency malware attack on a SCADA network of a critical infrastructure operator.

Radiflow discovered this cryptocurrency malware attack as part of routine and ongoing monitoring of the OT network of a water utility customer. The company reports that the attack infected several servers in the OT network in order to mine the Monero cryptocurrency.

This type of attack increases device CPU and network bandwidth consumption, causing the response times of tools used to monitor physical changes on an OT network, such as HMI and SCADA servers, to be severely impaired. This in turn reduces the control a critical infrastructure operator has over its operations and slows down its response times to operational problems.

Radiflow’s research team uncovered that this cryptocurrency malware was designed to run in a stealth mode on a computer or device and even disable its security tools in order to operate undetected and maximize its mining processes for as long as possible.

“Cryptocurrency malware attacks involve extremely high CPU processing and network bandwidth consumption, which can threaten the stability and availability of the physical processes of a critical infrastructure operator,” explained Yehonatan Kfir, CTO at Radiflow. “While it is known that ransomware attacks have been launched on OT networks, this new case of a cryptocurrency malware attack on an OT network poses new threats as it runs in stealth mode and can remain undetected over time.”

This cryptocurrency malware attack was discovered by Radiflow’s iSID industrial intrusion detection system while monitoring the network of the waste water site of this utility customer. iSID identified and alerted in real-time to several abnormalities, including unexpected HTTP communications and changes to the topology of the customer’s OT network as well as communication attempts with suspicious IP addresses.

“PCs in an OT network run sensitive HMI and SCADA applications that cannot get the latest Windows, antivirus and other important updates and will always be vulnerable to malware attacks,” continued Kfir. “The best way to address this risk is using an intrusion detection system that passively monitors the communication in the OT network and detects anomalies in real-time caused by such malware.”

Radiflow’s research team is continuing to research the events in close cooperation with local regulatory authorities.

“We are very proud to report that our technology has prevented this potentially damaging attack. Given the attractiveness of cryptocurrency mining and its increasing need for processing power, we will not be surprised if we will continue to see such attacks on other OT networks,” added Ilan Barda, CEO of Radiflow. “This case emphasizes the need for a holistic cybersecurity solution for OT networks, including access control, intrusion detection and analytics services with the relevant expertise.”

Most popular news in Telecoms & networks

PowerVR Series2NX neural network accelerator cores unveiled
The flexibility of DECT and functionality of desktop in single device
Hitch & Deutsche Telekom to roll out Smart Home technology in Norway
Microchip’s unveils UNICENS software for in-vehicle infotainment
G+D Mobile Security & Senet partner to strengthen LoRaWAN security

All news in this channel | All news


Share this page


Want more like this? Register for our newsletter






The benefits of replacing plain old paper with e-paper displays in automotive assembly plants HD Lee | Pervasive Displays
The benefits of replacing plain old paper with e-paper displays in automotive assembly plants
Efficiency is at the heart of automation, and that is nowhere more apparent than in the manufacture of automobiles. The Ford Motor Company is widely credited with inventing the moving assembly line, but the concept of moving the assembly, rather than the worker, dates back centuries.









Radio-Electronics.com is operated and owned by Adrio Communications Ltd and edited by Ian Poole. All information is © Adrio Communications Ltd and may not be copied except for individual personal use. This includes copying material in whatever form into website pages. While every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of the information on Radio-Electronics.com, no liability is accepted for any consequences of using it. This site uses cookies. By using this site, these terms including the use of cookies are accepted. More explanation can be found in our Privacy Policy