detect-cryptocurrency-miner-using-performance-analyzer

Did you ever wonder about misuse of your VMware environment for the purpose of mining crypt currencies? As there is real money to be made mining Bitcoin, Ethereum, Monero and co. especially when using energy one doesn´t need to pay for – some users might be tempted.

Exactly that happened to a customer of us when he first setup the Performance Analyzer trial, with the new Starter Dashboard that can be downloaded here, and noticed some extremely high figures for CPU Ready and especially Co-Stopping.

Cryptocurrency Miner VM

Check CPU Usage

Check CPU Ready, CPU Co-Stopping

That was the moment for our client to dig deeper why these VMs were having these load patterns: CPU Usage, CPU Ready, CPU Co-Stopping. 

While many people think that mining crypto coins is only feasible having powerful specialized hardware using many GPUs and ASIC, there is a pretty simple way to switch miner from utilizing CPUs instead of GPUs. The mining software just needs to be compiled in a different way or the miner configuration needs to be changed.

It´s definitely correct, that most coins using proof of work (mining based on calculation and solving mathematical challenges) can´t be mined in an efficient way using CPUs and virtual machines. But that scenario changes when mining is cheaper than the coin price (just to mention Monero) or you don´t have to pay for the energy. Even if you detect a Monero miner on your system, you can´t really prove who the recipient is. Some software is even hidden in Javascript and runs when your browser has a certain website open. 

If you don´t track who installed the software, started it or opened the website, its hard to trace the guy that activated it. Furthermore, when more websites are using the Javascript mining, its becoming harder to proof if somebody was using that software on purpose or wasn´t aware of it.

Miner CPU utilization

The first case our customer found in that example was pretty straight forward as a VM was configured with 50 vCPUs and was pretty busy using them.

You might ask, why does nobody notice a VM configured to use 50 vCPUs? There should be a guideline. In that case the environment was fairly big and some departments were allowed to create and deploy their own virtual machines. The charge back was done by the amount of CPU Cores and not based on utilization. As the machine was idle most of the time, somebody had the idea to use it for a "better" cause and started to mine coins. 

In fact, using a system you don´t have to pay for energy can be very profitable when running a cryptocurrency miner during idle times. While the provider or you as a company providing the virtual hardware don´t like that idea too much, you still need to be aware of the fact to counter act.

Using Performance Analyzer is a great and simple start as you can deploy the virtual appliance in a matter of minutes, add the VMware vCenter and check the dashboard.

The charts in Performance Analyzer automatically check for normal figures and use yellow and red coloring to point out resource utilization that exceeds thresholds based on best practices. That makes it very easy to spot potential noisy neighbors and of course potential misuse of your virtual environment. As we collect data over time, you can compare your most recent performance data with these some days, weeks or even months ago. Checking for anomalies or confirming normal usage has never been easier.

Download Performance Analyzer

Start your free Performance Analyzer trial today and check out if your virtual environment is used the way you like it. And you will be surprised what else you can detect when Performance Analyzer is part of your daily routine using our powerful dashboards and precise data collection – despite unwanted software like the blog-covered cryptocurrency miner.

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Metrics and Logs

(formerly, Opvizor Performance Analyzer)

VMware vSphere & Cloud
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Performance monitoring for your systems and applications with log analysis (tamperproof using immudb) and license compliance (RedHat, Oracle, SAP and more) in one virtual appliance!

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Use Case - Tamper-resistant Clinical Trials

Goal:

Blockchain PoCs were unsuccessful due to complexity and lack of developers.

Still the goal of data immutability as well as client verification is a crucial. Furthermore, the system needs to be easy to use and operate (allowing backup, maintenance windows aso.).

Implementation:

immudb is running in different datacenters across the globe. All clinical trial information is stored in immudb either as transactions or the pdf documents as a whole.

Having that single source of truth with versioned, timestamped, and cryptographically verifiable records, enables a whole new way of transparency and trust.

Use Case - Finance

Goal:

Store the source data, the decision and the rule base for financial support from governments timestamped, verifiable.

A very important functionality is the ability to compare the historic decision (based on the past rulebase) with the rulebase at a different date. Fully cryptographic verifiable Time Travel queries are required to be able to achieve that comparison.

Implementation:

While the source data, rulebase and the documented decision are stored in verifiable Blobs in immudb, the transaction is stored using the relational layer of immudb.

That allows the use of immudb’s time travel capabilities to retrieve verified historic data and recalculate with the most recent rulebase.

Use Case - eCommerce and NFT marketplace

Goal:

No matter if it’s an eCommerce platform or NFT marketplace, the goals are similar:

  • High amount of transactions (potentially millions a second)
  • Ability to read and write multiple records within one transaction
  • prevent overwrite or updates on transactions
  • comply with regulations (PCI, GDPR, …)


Implementation:

immudb is typically scaled out using Hyperscaler (i. e. AWS, Google Cloud, Microsoft Azure) distributed across the Globe. Auditors are also distributed to track the verification proof over time. Additionally, the shop or marketplace applications store immudb cryptographic state information. That high level of integrity and tamper-evidence while maintaining a very high transaction speed is key for companies to chose immudb.

Use Case - IoT Sensor Data

Goal:

IoT sensor data received by devices collecting environment data needs to be stored locally in a cryptographically verifiable manner until the data is transferred to a central datacenter. The data integrity needs to be verifiable at any given point in time and while in transit.

Implementation:

immudb runs embedded on the IoT device itself and is consistently audited by external probes. The data transfer to audit is minimal and works even with minimum bandwidth and unreliable connections.

Whenever the IoT devices are connected to a high bandwidth, the data transfer happens to a data center (large immudb deployment) and the source and destination date integrity is fully verified.

Use Case - DevOps Evidence

Goal:

CI/CD and application build logs need to be stored auditable and tamper-evident.
A very high Performance is required as the system should not slow down any build process.
Scalability is key as billions of artifacts are expected within the next years.
Next to a possibility of integrity validation, data needs to be retrievable by pipeline job id or digital asset checksum.

Implementation:

As part of the CI/CD audit functionality, data is stored within immudb using the Key/Value functionality. Key is either the CI/CD job id (i. e. Jenkins or GitLab) or the checksum of the resulting build or container image.

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