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Chinese Police Arrest 16 Hackers for Deploying Siacoin Miners on Public PCs

By Nitish Singh / June 21, 2018

Sixteen hackers have been arrested in China for deploying cryptocurrency miners in public cafes spread across 30 cities. All of the hackers are local IT employees who managed to infect thousands of computers across the country. The hackers took advantage of computer servicing contracts with internet cafes all across the country. The members of the group would go to the cafes to service problematic computers and installed cryptocurrency miners to mine Siacoin.

The group’s illegal hacking activities date back to July 2017 according to the Chinese police. If the café owners would complain about their PCs performing poorly, the hackers would simply claim that there is nothing wrong and the systems are working fine. However, after failing to resolve computer issues, a café owner sought third-party assistance, which led to external IT service persons finding out about the mining activity.

The hackers are believed to have set up the miners and inserted a Coinhive library into thousands of PCs across the country. The mining activities have fetched the group over $800,000(Nearly 5 Million Yuan). The Chinese authorities are trying to crack down on many similar cases that involve cryptojacking activities in the country.

With Java-based coin miners becoming extremely popular, it is getting difficult to keep public computers safe from hackers who want to exploit hardware resources to mine cryptocurrency. Japanese officials have also arrested 16 individual hackers accused of cryptojacking. One of the suspects was fined $905 by the Japanese police for using Coinhive on websites. According to Japanese officials, Coinhive is a malware regardless of how the software is used. Many website owners are now worried about using cryptocurrency miners on their websites as a means of generating revenue with officials taking a strong stance against such JavaScript cryptocurrency mining programs.

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