20 Suspects Arrested in Cryptojacking Case Affecting Over One Million Computers in China

20 suspects have been arrested in China in a large-scale Cryptojacking case. According to a recent report by local news source Legal Daily, the cyber theft allegedly affected more than one million computers and generated about $2.2 million (15 million Yuan) in illicit profits.
For those who don’t have an idea about what cryptojacking is, it is the practice of using the processing power of a computer to mine for cryptocurrencies, without the owner’s knowledge or permission.
In January 2018, the security team at Tencent, the tech company that developed Wechat, notified the Weifang city public security bureau about a mining script hidden in freely-downloadable plugins which prompted a full-scale investigation by the bureau according to local sources
The supposed “Trojan horse” patterned mining script was described to be programmed to run whenever it detected that the utilization of the CPU in the computer is below 50 percent.
Local media reported that the Qingzhou Public Security Bureau established a dedicated task force to carry out the investigation after the mining script developers were tracked down to the city of Qingzhou.
The task force subsequently discovered involvement of a company called Daliang Shengping network technology based on the information disclosed at the trial of one allegedly involved person arrested in March 2018.
This discovery led to the arrest of 16 more suspects, and the company was purported to have advertised free downloads to about 2.89million computers, choosing over 1million of these devices for cryptojacking.
On April 18, two men working for another company were charged with integrating the malware into a network management software used by internet cafes in the province of Heilongjiang. Interestingly, another individual was arrested concerning the seizure of the mining program by the bureau’s task force on April 19. 11 of the suspects have now been released on bail.
The cryptojacking scheme has illegally mined the sum of 15million yuan ($2.2million) in crypto over the past two years. Just last month, McAfee labs, a cybersecurity firm published a report disclosing that certain forms of cryptojacking rose to an astonishing 629 percent in the first quarter of 2018, in relation to the last quarter of 2017.
It was disclosed by a cybersecurity firm in June 2018 that, Monero (XMR) had infected about 40,000 devices across different industries as part of a combination of malicious traffic manipulation and digital currency mining campaign.
Cryptojacking is rapidly becoming a popular way for cyber crooks to make money. For instance, it was estimated that around 5 percent of the cryptocurrency Monero currently in circulation is believed to have been mined illegally according to a cyber security firm, Palo alto.

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