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South Korean City Servers Infected with Crypto Mining Malware

South Korean City Servers Infected with Crypto Mining Malware

Tim AlperTim Alper

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| 2 min read

The Daejeon Expo Bridge in Daejeon, South Korea.The Daejeon Expo Bridge in Daejeon, South Korea.
Source: iuliia_n/Adobe

Crypto mining malware has been found on two government servers in the South Korean city of Daejeon, an audit has found.

Per MBN, the nation’s Ministry of Public Administration and Security commissioned biannual audits of the city government’s servers.

During the most recent audit, in June last year, auditors found that Daejeon City’s “information system was infected with malicious code.”

The code, they said was “used for purposes such as virtual currency mining.”

The city of Daejeon marked on a map of South Korea.
Map adapted from work by TUBS. (CC BY-SA 3.0)

The auditors said they had found “a series of cyber breaches” on two of the city’s servers.

They said that one of the compromised servers was “infected with” mining malware that made use of “exposed” administrator account passwords.

Another server, they said, had been used “as a hacking transit point.” The point allowed attackers to “further infect” the network with crypto mining malware.

The city’s cyber response team said they had detected “abnormal” activities “within eight days.”

The team then quarantined the network and discovered the malicious code. It then reported details to the National Intelligence Service (NIS).

The NIS is South Korea’s top intelligence agency, and deals with breaches of public data.

The auditors, however, stated that a lack of “additional security measures” had allowed hackers to strike with impunity.

Security ‘Oversights’ Let Crypto Miners Hack South Korean Servers?

The audit team noted that the city had failed to use “secure” administrator account password protection.

And the team said that 98 of the city’s 467 information system server devices had “not undergone necessary annual diagnostic checks.”

The ministry ordered the Daejeon Mayoral Office to “thoroughly carry out related work” to “prevent the recurrence of similar cases in the future.”

In 2021, citizens in Seoul were shocked by the news that a government employee had been using city-provided energy to mine Ethereum (ETH) underneath the country’s most prestigious opera house.

Inspectors found the two ETH mining rigs with sophisticated graphics cards. The devices were connected to power outlets in a basement under the opera house’s Calligraphic Art Museum.

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