Growing Cryptojacking Problem Gains FTC's Attention

Today’s topics include non-JavaScript cryptojacking reaping more than $144 million for attackers, and Google’s preemptible GPUs providing extra performance at a major discount.

According to a report released June 11 by security firm Palo Alto Networks, unauthorized crypto-currency mining, commonly referred to as cryptojacking, is a growing problem for enterprises and individuals and is now gaining the attention of the U.S. Federal Trade Commission.

The FTC's new complaint system for cryptojacking enables individuals to file complaints about alleged cryptojacking. Cryptojacking occurs when an attacker gains unauthorized access to compute resources to mine crypto-currency.

Monero is the most sought-after crypto-currency in attacks, and Monero addresses are where the mined coins are held. Palo Alto security researcher Josh Grunzweig determined that the value of Monero that have been mined is approximately $144 million.

Starting this week, Google is making its preemptible pricing model generally available for GPUs attached to preemptible virtual machines on Google's cloud.

The preemptible option allows companies to get certain Google cloud computing resources for up to 70 percent lower prices than on-demand computing pricing models on the understanding that Google can take over—or preempt—the resources at any time and with very little notice.

The company has positioned the pricing model as ideal for companies that need only temporary or infrequent access to high-performance computing resources—such as GPUs—and are unable or unwilling to pay the premium prices associated with committed usage models.

"Preemptible GPUs are ideal for customers with short-lived, fault-tolerant and batch workloads such as machine learning and high-performance computing," Google Product Manager Chris Kleban wrote in a blog.