Cryptojackers target internet cafes in China

June 19, 2018
Chris Wheal

Authorities around the world appear to be turning up cases of cryptojacking as China became the latest to announce a spate of attacks, allegedly to mine cryptocurrencies through computers in internet cafes.

Chinese cryptojackers allegedly targeted internet cafes: ShutterstockPolice in China’s Zhejiang province arrested 16 suspects at the weekend who allegedly profited by CNY5m ($800,000) by hacking computers in internet cafes across 30 Chinese cities in 2017.

Mining malware

Cryptojackers use malware that, when installed on someone else’s computer, can open a background program – unknown to the user – that mines cryptocurrencies for the cryptojacker.

A local news report said the hackers had developed a malware program that mined the siacoin cryptocurrency.

Using accomplices at computer maintenance companies, the malware was installed on computers in internet cafes during regular check-ups.

Computer owners are none the wiser – but notice a significant slowdown in processing rates.

Slow computers, high electricity bills

Indeed, the cryptojacking activity was first noticed in July 2017 when cafes in Rui’An began to notice their computers had become extremely slow and electricity bills rose significantly.

The local report said that since most cafes in Rui’An used the same maintenance firm, the chief executive was arrested by police and gave up his accomplices on questioning.

Cryptojacking is becoming an increasingly dominant theme of criminal behaviour surrounding the cryptocurrency industry.

Japanese cryptojackers

Japan has also reported a recent spate of cryptojacking, where malware producers set up fake websites to attract crypto-enthusiasts, which then installs the malware remotely and mines coins for the hackers.

Indeed, Japanese authorities announced 16 arrests at the weekend – all men between 18 and 48 who are likely to be charged under laws that prohibit the use of computer viruses.

Post written by Chris Wheal
Chris Wheal is editor of OpenLedger's news and features service. An award-wining business journalists himself, he runs a team of freelance journalists from across the UK and north America.

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