Cryptocurrencies are changing the money market worldwide. China, the most populated country on Earth is also investing in cryptocurrencies in spite of the negative outlook of the central government. Recently, certain men were arrested for corrupting an internet café administration to mine cryptocurrencies illegally in the country. The news broke out on Sep 3rd by a local crypto media outlet 8BTC.
The incident took place in Hengyang, a city in the south-central Hunan province. The computer administrators were helping people in an unauthorized mining operation of cryptocurrencies. This, however, was not the first attempt by these fifteen suspects; they were involved in this illegal mining for the past many months. All the cryptocurrencies they mined were sold for a hundred million Yuan ($14 million).
Anonymous news tipped off the local police that the local internet cafes were involved in illegal cryptojacking. The initial investigation suggested that the cryptojacking malware was developed by a network technology company based in Zhengzhou; head of this company is Zhang and it was him who bribed the internet café administrators to allow him to install the malware software on their system. The accused 15 men are under the custody of police and investigation is going on against them.
What is Illicit Cryptomining?
Some individuals and organizations mine cryptocurrencies using illicit and illegal methods. Cryptocurrencies are generated using the process of mining. This process requires energy and resources which in turn produces financial rewards. Cryptojacking is a way of cyber-attack where a hacker holds on to a target’s processing power and mines cryptocurrencies on the hacker’s behalf. Cryptojacking has become extremely popular to earn quick money. It updates cyber currencies’ blockchains and creates new tokens and generates fees in the process. These new tokens are then transferred to the attacker’s wallet, while the cost of mining and wear and tear of computer is on the victim’s head.
In 2018, Panda, a Spanish cybersecurity firm informed that a new cryptojacking script named WannaMine has spread to computers all around the globe. The same year the government in Britain, Canada, and the U.S. were also affected by cryptojacking because of the text-to-speech software in the government sites; the attackers put Coinhive script in the software and mined Monero using visitors browsers.
North Korea is an important example of illegal crypto-mining, the prime target of its attacks on South Korea’s cryptocurrency exchange named Bithumb has been hacked four times in the past 2 years.
Tesla Inc. was also a victim of cryptojacking when its Amazon web services software was compromised. Cryptomining was huge in 2018, but with the coming of 2019, there is a decline in crypto-mining malware. One of the main reasons could be the recent drop in prices of cryptocurrencies. Bitcoin was in a drop for the past few months; it is only in this month that it has seen a rise in its trading value.
Coinhive is one of the largest providers of mining scripts. It’s not always put in the likes of illegal mining because there have been companies which have used Coinhive for legal mining of cryptocurrencies. However, Coinhive is used by a lot of attackers to continue illicit crypto-mining. This service was shut down during March 2019.
Browser-based Cryptojacking or Crypto-mining Malware?
Both of these attacking techniques are very popular with hackers. Cryptojacking is tougher to mitigate because the infection occurs outside the server or the organization. Cybersecurity plays a very important role in keeping the different types of crypto-mining crimes at bay. The experts are always looking for hackers and ways to make the digital currency market more secure for everyone.
In China, the men were caught doing browser-based cryptojacking where they compromised some web servers and mined cryptocurrencies at someone else’s expenses and deposited all these coins and tokens to their wallet.
Tags: Cryptocurrency News, China, Cryptojacking, Tokens, Cybersecurity, Crypto-mining, Bithumb, Coinhive, AWS (Amazon web services), South Korea, Hacking, Crypto-mining Malware, Panda