Protect your Azure environment from cryptomining fraud and soaring costs with Phoenix AzGuardian.

Cryptomining fraud involves unauthorised individuals or groups gaining access to your Azure resources to mine cryptocurrencies without your knowledge or consent. They leverage the processing power of Azure’s high-performance computing resources to perform the complex calculations necessary for cryptocurrency mining, with your organisation responsible for this usage. It’s a stealthy, illegal operation that if left undetected, can lead to significant and unexpected Azure consumption costs that can severely impact on your organisation’s ability to operate and deliver services.


What is cryptomining fraud in Microsoft Azure

Soaring incidents: cryptomining fraud incidents targeting Microsoft Azure tenancies have experienced a rapid surge

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Financial implications: unauthorised cryptocurrency mining activities consume processing power, and can result in significant unauthorised cloud consumption costs. This can lead to substantial financial losses for the organisations whose Microsoft Azure tenancies have been compromised – not the service providers

Loss of service: cryptomining fraud activities can lead to a service degradation if resources are terminated, or even entire subscriptions cancelled in the event of an attack

Regulatory concerns: cryptomining fraud exposes organisations to potential data breaches. The infiltration required for unauthorised mining can also be used to provide attackers with access to sensitive data, leading to severe compliance and regulatory implications

Cryptomining fraud prevention: the challenges

Managing the risk of cryptomining fraud in Microsoft Azure presents several challenges due to the unique characteristics of cloud environments and the evolving nature of cryptomining fraud techniques. Some key challenges include:

Dynamic nature: cryptomining fraud techniques constantly evolve to bypass security measures. Attackers adapt their code, utilise obfuscation techniques, and leverage new vulnerabilities to evade detection and continue their unauthorised mining activities

Visibility and monitoring: traditional security measures may struggle to detect cryptomining fraud activities within Azure. The nature of cloud resources and the decentralised architecture make it crucial to have robust monitoring and visibility solutions in place

Scale and complexity: Azure environments encompass a vast array of resources, making it challenging to identify and mitigate cryptocurrency fraud incidents effectively. The distributed nature of cloud infrastructure further complicates the detection and prevention process

Rapid deployment: once an organisation’s Azure environment has been compromised, the resources required for cryptomining can be provisioned and up and running in a matter of minutes, with unauthorised costs being generated immediately

Addressing these challenges requires a comprehensive approach that combines robust monitoring and detection mechanisms, leveraging Azure-native security services and third-party solutions, implementing secure coding practices, and maintaining up-to-date knowledge of emerging cryptomining fraud techniques.

Real-world impacts and costs of cryptomining fraud

The below are recent examples of cryptomining fraud incidents in the UK showing what happened, the route taken to gain access, and how costly this became for the organisations:

Real-world example 1:

  1. This organisation was using Azure as part of a hybrid strategy. They had a medium level of adoption and many services running to support their organisation
  2. A threat actor gained access into their environment using a service account with elevated privileges and no security controls enabled
  3. Unknown to the organisation, the threat actor used the Azure environment to spin up cryptomining servers all across the globe, which were then left running
  4. By the time it was detected the bill was already very high and the threat actor had covered their tracks and left with the profits
  5. This resulted in a cost to the organisation of £568,000

Real-world example 2:

  1. The organisation used Azure to run one business application and would regularly spend between £200 – £300 a month
  2. This application was developed by a team of developers from a third-party where they would access the Azure environment using a shared service account
  3. The threat actor gained access into the environment by finding out the username of this account and using an authentication method called ROPC to generate an access token
  4. The threat actor waited for the current billing period to end and on the first day of the next period used a script to spin up a crypto mining farm (this took four minutes) and managed to leave this running undetected for a few weeks
  5. This resulted in a cost to the organisation of £60,000

Managing the risk of cryptomining fraud requires a proactive and layered approach, such as regularly reviewing and updating your security controls, staying informed about the latest security best practices, and engaging in ongoing security assessments and monitoring to ensure a secure Azure environment. But is this enough?

Phoenix AzGuardian: shielding you from the threats

To combat this rising threat, Phoenix have developed AzGuardian – a powerful, proactive defence mechanism designed to safeguard your Azure infrastructure from this ever-evolving threat. With Phoenix AzGuardian, you will gain:

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Comprehensive cryptomining fraud protection: cryptomining fraud attacks can silently compromise your Azure environment, leading to significant unauthorised costs being added to your Azure bill. Phoenix AzGuardian helps protect your environment from these threats and preserves the integrity of your Azure environments

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Cost control: uncontrolled resource usage on your Azure platform by threat actors can very quickly drive up your Azure costs! With Phoenix AzGuardian, you will gain peace of mind that your Azure costs are monitored, controlled, and alerted on if they start to rise due to a cryptomining fraud event

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Expert guidance from Azure specialists: when you choose Phoenix AzGuardian, you gain access to a team of Azure specialists who understand the intricacies of securing and optimising Azure environments. Our team will work closely with you, offering recommendations for best practices that address your needs

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Trusted and proven solution: Phoenix AzGuardian is the world’s first proprietary solution of its kind with a proven track record in safeguarding Azure environments, neutralising cryptomining attacks, and managing costs. Join the growing number of organisations who have experienced the benefits and peace of mind of Phoenix AzGuardian first-hand

Why Phoenix

As one of the most recognised and accredited world-leading Microsoft partners with a focus on transforming organisations across the UK, you can trust in Phoenix and our skills and specialist knowledge.

Take action now and shield your Azure environment with Phoenix AzGuardian

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.

Book a call with one of our Azure Specialists today to understand more about the service and of the real-world UK examples that have affected organisations like yours.