Brain the size of a planet, and somebody uses it to create virtual coins

The Crimson reports somebody's had a stern talking-to by the people in charge of a powerful Harvard research computer network after managers noticed it was being used to "mine" or create dogecoins, a Bitcoin-ish "cryptocurrency."

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Interesting paper

I think it's somewhere in the compost heap of trade magazines atop my desk: a brief analysis of the costs/benefits of hiring CPU cycles on hacker botnets to mine *coins.

A major feature of hiring on the black market, IIRC, was that one could get more cycles more cheaply than one could if one had to deal with granting agencies' procurement processes, and make all the costs like electricity and environmental management a complete externality. It was the externalities that really made this a winner, not merely the cost per cycle.

If I figure out where I found the article, I'll post a cite, but this isn't my highest priority right now.

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ZeroAccess was a recent example

A couple months back, Microsoft, Interpol, and some other organizations partnered to take down the"ZeroAccess" botnet. The hijacked CPUs were mainly being used to mine coins and to surf the web on fake web sites, "viewing" and "clicking" ads on those sites. The click fraud was simple yet clever, using real users' cookies and recorded mouse movement patterns to avoid fraud detection. I wonder whether coin mining or add clicking had a better ROI?

http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/news/press/2013/dec13/12-05zeroaccessbotn...