You've probably heard of bitcoin. It's the poster child for something called a cryptocurrency.
A cryptocurrency is an anonymous, secure, decentralized money system only available online. People get the currency - usually a virtual "coin" - by running special computer programs or "mining." Click here for an in-depth video explanation of cryptocurrency.
Dogecoin is one of these new cryptocurrencies, and a hacker found a faster way to mine his Dogecoins. He uses other people's computers.
Two researchers at Dell's Secureworks found that a hacker had broken into a group of external storage units and turned them in Dogecoin mining machines. Combined with unknown computers at other sites, they figure the hacker made off with $620,000 worth of Dogecoins.
"To date, this incident is the single most profitable, illegitimate mining operation,” Pat Litke writes in a blog post explaining the findings. The two researchers concede, however, that they can only prove a small fraction of the coins were mined from the hacked storage boxes, and it’s not clear what other machines—compromised or not—the hacker used to mine such significant Doge riches.
Given how successful this was, I'm sure more hackers are going to start using hacked computers and large botnets to mine virtual currencies for them. I'm sure we'll be hearing about this type of attack again in the future.