Hacker group threatens to release bypass of Nvidia’s hash rate limiter

Nvidia was the victim ransomware attack a few days ago. The group that claims to be responsible for the attack claims to have had access to Nvidia servers for a week, gained admin rights, and pulled out at least 1 TB of data (across Tom’s Hardware). The group threatened to sell or release the data unless Nvidia contacted them and lifted the mining performance limiter on their RTX 30-series GPUs. Nvidia introduced its mining limiter (Nvidia RTX LHR) last year to limit the hash rate of RTX 30 series cards whenever the drivers detected it was being used for Ethereum mining. This was supposed to be a deterrent for crypto miners who were hoarding GPUs for mining, which in turn contributed to the global graphics card shortage over the past two years.

South American hacker group Lapsus$ claimed responsibility for the recent attack and threatened to either sell or release the “hw folder” unless Nvidia immediately removed the limiter from its 30-series RTX cards. The folder contains schematics, drivers, and other internal data that Lapsus$ says is very valuable to Nvidia.

Including “all about the falcon”, whatever it is.

There have been recent attempts to find workarounds for the limiter that either unlocked only a fraction of the overall Ethereum GPU mining performance or installed malware instead. But there is speculation that the group is already selling some way to bypass the second version of the hash rate-limiting algorithm for GA102-GA104 GPUs. Although this has not been confirmed, as far as we can tell.

According to Nvidia, the hack was initially described as “relatively minor” and explicitly stated that it had nothing to do with the war between Russia and Ukraine. The group also stated itself, “We are not government-sponsored and we DO NOT get involved in politics AT ALL” from screenshots of Telegram messages shared by Videocardz.

According to the same Telegram message series, Nvidia has not yet contacted the hackers and Lapsus$ says it will go ahead and release some of the data as a torrent.

Tips & Tricks

How to buy a video card: tips for buying a video card in the desert silicon landscape of 2022

We reached out to Nvidia for comment, and a spokesperson responded with the following statement:

“We are investigating the incident. Our business and commercial activities continue uninterrupted. We are still working on evaluating the nature and scope of the event and at this time we have no further information to share.”

Lapsus$ says it’s all done to help the “mining and gaming community,” although these seem to be mutually exclusive, however. We understand how forcing Nvidia to release a hash rate limiter will help miners, but how it will benefit gamers, we don’t know. After all, the two communities were rarely unanimous.

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *