It seems that no one is safe from the ubiquitous hacking attempts that involve cryptocurrency.

Be it that friend at work who visited a malicious site and found their computer being used to mine cryptocurrency, or that small business about which you read an article the other day, thinking how foolish they must have been to have this happen to them.

Or Tesla.

Yes, that is correct. It is not just gullible people or mom and pop stores that could have this happen to them, but state of the art, top-level companies can also fall prey to this recent and unfortunate trend.

What was the incident about?

Tesla, which uses Amazon Web Services (AWS) as its cloud storage solutions, and had its AWS account hacked and subsequently used by cryptojackers – hackers which hijack an online property to mine cryptocurrency against the owner’s will – to mine cryptocurrency using Stratum, a cryptocurrency mining application.

These findings were brought to light by RedLock, a cybersecurity firm which identified the hack.

According to details, the cryptojackers had made their way to Tesla’s Kubernetes admin dashboard as it was not sufficiently password protected (Kubernetes is a Google-powered interface which works for cloud applications).

The access to Kubernetes opened doors to Tesla’s AWS interface, and from there it was free hand for the cryptojackers, who discreetly used the cloud’s computing power to start mining cryptocurrency until their actions were identified, upon which Tesla rectified the issue immediately.

As per a spokesperson from Tesla, the company uses a “bug bounty program” where it encourages individuals and companies to look into such issues and earn significant rewards in return upon their successful identification and resolution.

However, the company was quick to reassure its users that no personal data or confidential details had been compromised during the hack and that it had only been limited to the AWS account where some obscure information had been saved.

The spokesperson said in the written statement:

“The impact seems to be limited to internally-used engineering test cars only, and our initial investigation found no indication that customer privacy or vehicle safety or security was compromised in any way.”

Hacking incidents have been increasing lately

This is not the first time that a major company’s cloud server has been hacked to use it for cryptocurrency mining.

As per RedLock, two of the most notable instances of a similar nature had been experienced by British insurance company, Aviva, and the world’s largest manufacturer of SIM cards, Gemalto.

These companies had their AWS and Microsoft Azure accounts hacked by similar cryptojackers, which used their cloud’s computing power to start mining cryptocurrency through it.

However, like the companies, the attacks also vary in terms of execution and severity, and while most of them only end up in using the computing power to mine cryptocurrency, it is a possibility that they could turn into a hybrid of not just using the computing power for cryptocurrency mining but also to use any confidential data from the companies for malicious purposes.

Therefore, it is imperative that every entity – no matter how small in operation or how security sufficient it is – employs constant vigilance to ensure its safety from these attacks.

Since these attacks will only get smarter with time, we hope that security companies could develop solutions that are just as proficient in helping keep the protective parties’ defenses strong enough to repel them.