Phoenix AzGuardian: the increasing threat of cryptomining fraud and how to combat it

Cryptomining fraud is an increasing threat. Without the right protections in place, threat actors could gain access to your Azure environment and leave you responsible for significant Azure consumption bills by fraudulently using your Azure resources to mine cryptocurrencies.

Cryptomining fraud involves unauthorised individuals or groups gaining access to your Azure subscriptions to mine cryptocurrencies without your knowledge or consent. They leverage the processing power of the high-performance computers available in Azure to perform the complex calculations necessary for cryptocurrency mining. It’s a stealthy, illegal operation that, if left undetected, can lead to such significant and unexpected Azure consumption costs that your organisation’s ability to operate and deliver services could be severely impacted.

Confronting the challenges of cryptomining fraud

As the world of cryptocurrencies continues to expand, so do the risks associated with fraud and cyber attacks. Microsoft Azure operates on a subscription based consumption model, meaning your organisation pays for the Azure resources it consumes. If your organisation’s Azure environment is compromised and its resources are used for fraudulent purposes by threat actors, your organisation will be responsible for paying these additional resource costs. This is often due to:

  • Limitations or inconsistencies in the controls and policies needed to operate a secure Azure environment: many organisations believe they have the right controls in place, but inconsistencies and changes over time result in configuration drift, which can leave your organisation exposed
  • Limited monitoring and visibility of user activities within an Azure subscription: Not being kept informed of changes within your Azure environment that could indicate a threat actor has gained unauthorised access and is setting up cryptomining resources

If your organisation falls victim to a cryptomining fraud attack, the negative impact can extend far beyond immediate financial losses. The implications of cryptomining fraud are broad. The biggest implication is significant financial losses, which could lead to job losses and services being cut back due to tightening budget constraints. This underscores the urgent need for robust preventive measures.

Tops tips for spotting signs of cryptomining fraud in your Azure environment

As with most cyber attacks, spotting cryptomining fraud before it escalates is key. By having a vigilant eye on irregular activity and responding rapidly when something is detected, you will be able to help prevent attacks before they escalate. Watch out for:

  • Unauthorised access attempts
  • Unexpected or unauthorised elevation of user privileges within Azure
  • Alerts from any Azure spend monitoring that has been set up
  • Sudden spikes in network activity
  • Unexpected authentication requests
  • Unsolicited communications or emails requesting sensitive information

By staying informed about the latest tactics used by fraudsters and maintaining a proactive approach, it is possible to more effectively identify the signs and mitigate the risks of cryptomining fraud in your Azure environment.

Need some help?

Having constant, full visibility of your environment to watch out for potential threats is often a challenge, especially while balancing ever-increasing workloads. To help organisations like yours prevent and respond to threats, our Azure specialists have developed AzGuardian – a powerful, proactive defence mechanism designed to safeguard your Azure infrastructure from this ever-evolving threat.

AzGuardian provides you with fully comprehensive protection from cryptomining fraud, giving you access to:

  • Cost control features: we monitor your Azure costs and alert you of any unusual activity
  • Specialist guidance: our Azure specialists will be by your side to help you understand the intricacies of your environment to provide guidance help ensure full protection
  • A fully proven solution: AzGuardian has a proven positive track record in neutralising cryptomining fraud threats

AzGuardian uses the Prevention, Slowdown, and Stop methodology:

Prevention: adopting Microsoft best practise methodology to reduce the risk of unauthorised access

Slowdown: further limitations are placed on the environment to restrict the actions of a potential threat actor

Stop: the service automatically terminates Azure resources that are labelled as suspicious

Don’t let malicious threat actors silently gain access to your Azure environment – deploy Phoenix AzGuardian and fortify your defences against this threat, supporting the security of your Azure infrastructure and the safety of your organisation.

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Kelsey Smith
Kelsey Smith

Kelsey is a Content and Social Media Apprentice at Phoenix, working closely with the Marketing Team to develop her skills in web, email, and social media marketing. Kelsey is not only keen to learn about marketing, but also the challenges organisations face and how Phoenix supports them to overcome these.

See all posts by Kelsey Smith