Nvidia Hackers Offer to Sell GPU Hash Rate Limiter Bypass

A hacking group that claims to have infiltrated Nvidia servers is attempting to sell some of the data which includes a way to unlock graphics cards for Ethereum mining.

In late February, semiconductor giant Nvidia reported that it was investigating a potential cyber-attack that affected parts of its online business. The hacking group LAPSUS$ has claimed responsibility adding that they managed to steal 1TB (a terabyte) of data from company servers.

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According to computer hardware outlet PCmag, the group is now offering to sell that data in addition to details on unlocking high-end Nvidia GPUs for crypto mining.

The hackers claim to be in possession of customized software that is capable of easily unlocking Nvidia’s “Lite Hash Rate” limiter for its RTX 3000 series graphics cards. Social media postings from the group over the weekend showed what they were offering:

“If someone buy us the LHR, we will provide ways to [mess with] LHR without flashing anything. Without flashing = big money for any miner developer.”

Nvidia hash rate limiters

In an effort to discourage crypto miners from buying up all of their cards, and to leave some for the gamers, Nvidia introduced an “Ethereum hash rate limiter” in early 2021 on its flagship models. The effort didn’t really work since miners bought up older cards that were still powerful enough to mine, exacerbating the shortage and sending GPU prices sky-high.

The hackers have already dumped 19GB (gigabytes) of data which includes the source code for the GPU drivers and the workaround for the hash rate limiter.

The group has demanded that Nvidia lift the limiter for all of its RTX 3000 models through a software update to customers. It threatened to leak more data if the firm did not comply, some of which details Nvidia’s next-generation graphics cards, codenamed Ada, Hopper, and Blackwell.

However, the report added that the group now wants to sell the driver suggesting that they could be bluffing. Nvidia, which has seen mining-related revenue slump in Q4, did not respond to their demands and was still evaluating the data breach.

Graphics card woes

Graphics cards are still painfully expensive and in short supply, leaving gamers fuming at miners. A two-pronged problem of pandemic-induced supply issues and crypto miners snapping them all up has prolonged the issue for the past two years.

Some countries have such a shortage that a thriving second-hand market has emerged where there are three-year-old cards going for more than they cost originally. Nvidia’s top-end GeForce RTX 3090 can cost as much as $2,000, and even more on some Asian markets.

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