More than a dozen supercomputers in the UK, Switzerland, Germany, and Spain have being taken offline as a result of the hacks, disrupting current research into the pandemic
The first computer that was targeted was “Archer,” a supercomputer at the University of Edinburgh, that was being used to perform analysis of coronavirus research before being taken offline.
The only motivation visible behind the hack was installing Monero mining malware to make some money, but it is also speculated that the attack could be a major to disrupt the research going about the pandemic.
The hackers gained access to the supercomputers by stealing login credentials from compromised networks at universities in China and Poland. They exploited a vulnerability in the Linux kernel to gain root access and install Monero crypto mining software. To avoid the risk of getting caught, the crypto mining software had been set up to run only at night.