Why Free Software isn’t always Free
by Chris Bennett
We found something very interesting this week. We received an alert from a customer’s network that we manage for a machine with some strange software. When investigating it was found that a bitcoin miner was installed through a free install of a software program found online. We successfully removed the suspicious software. You can find more out about bitcoin mining here.
I want to discuss the impact this can have on your business. If you watch the video in the link above, you can see that mining is a hungry process. Applications will start to run slower and you will see an impact on your performance. In this instance there was no immediate noticeable difference in the performance of the network and if it wasn’t being monitored it could have run for years. The goal for the creators of bitcoin miner, is to insert lots of miners to create a large mining operation. There are two ways this type of software can be installed. 1. A user installs a piece of software not knowing that it has a mining piece embedded in it. 2. A software contains a security hole that hackers exploit and allow them to access the network and allow the installation.
Remember, malicious activity will reach your network… it is only matter of time. Do you have a plan for when it does? Do you have someone monitoring your network? Without a few key monitoring tools this miner could have used this machine for the life of the equipment. Given enough time and access, malicious activity may be rooted so deep in your network, that even replacement will not remove it. If you want to learn more about protecting your network from bitcoin miners and other malicious activity. Contact us today at 320-235-6425.