Japanese police make 16 arrests in cryptojacking case

June 18, 2018
Chris Wheal

Japanese authorities arrested 16 individuals this weekend suspected of cryptojacking following a police probe across several of the country’s prefectures.

Japanese authorities arrest 16 individuals suspected of cryptojacking: Shutterstock

Cryptojacking is the unauthorised installation of mining software on victims’ computers to harvest their processing power. This is usually accomplished using a fake website.

Illegal installations

Indeed, the alleged suspects are believed to have set up websites in the autumn of 2017 to illegally install the mining software on the computers of visitors those websites. The alleged cryptojackers then used their victims’ computer processing power to mine monero tokens.

Police were reported last week to have investigated three individuals. The arrests over the weekend, therefore, represent a large advance in the case.

The first arrests were made in March, according to the Asahi Shimbun, but the case centres around 16 men aged between 18 and 48 – with the most money earned by any of the suspects being a paltry Y120,000, or $1,100.

Computer virus law

While Japanese law – like many legal systems dealing with new forms of cybercrime – does not yet have the legal framework in place to prosecute cryptojacking as criminal offence, it is expected the suspects will be charged under laws that prohibit the use of computer viruses.

One of the programs used by the alleged cryptojackers was Coinhive for mining the monero tokens.

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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