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In brief: Ever since Nvidia started shipping Ampere graphics cards with systems to limit cryptomining performance last year, miners have been trying to find ways around it. Last week's cyber attack on the GPU maker may have provided just what these users were searching for.
Update (Mar 1): According to the hackers, they are threatening to release even more confidential information they were able to gather from Nvidia's servers. The data wouldn't be just limited to the LHR mining caps, which are enforced at the firmware level, but they are claiming to have (and potentially release) more sensitive information like the source code of DLSS and information about Nvidia's next-generation GPUs codenamed Ada, Hopper, and Blackwell.
The original story follows below.
Leaked Telegram messages this week indicate the South American hacker group which recently attacked Nvidia has obtained the algorithm behind the company’s Light Hash Rate (LHR) mining caps. Lapsus$ claims to be selling a bypass, and is threatening to leak the algorithm if Nvidia doesn’t push a firmware update to remove the LHR.
If Lapsus$ isn’t bluffing, this could lead to a real circumvention of LHR just a week after another supposed unlocker was revealed to be a fraud laced with malware.
Over the weekend the group claimed to have stolen over a terabyte of Nvidia’s proprietary data and defended against Nvidia’s counter-ransomware attack. The data includes details about GPU firmware, drivers, and schematics. Lapsus$ has posted a partial leak already. Nvidia hasn’t said anything officially since brief statements it made to The Telegraph and Bloomberg last week.
On Friday, it admitted it was investigating an “incident,” and that its business was uninterrupted. Because the attack coincided with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, some feared there was a connection, but sources told Bloomberg that isn’t the case. Lapsus$ also claims it isn’t state-sponsored and that its operations aren’t politically motivated.
In January, Lapsus$ attacked Portugal’s biggest media conglomerate, Impresa, defacing its websites with a ransom note and gaining control of the company’s Twitter account. Impresa’s websites and Internet streams were also taken down. The hacker group also hit Brazil’s health ministry late last year.