In a coordinated effort which took place over several months, Japanese police from 10 districts arrested 16 suspects believed to be involved in an ongoing “cryptojacking” case. Cryptojacking is the practice of using an unsuspecting individual’s computer to mine cryptocurrency – often for a criminal gang.
In a story broken earlier today by a local news outlet named Asahi Shimbun, a top secret coordinated effort by Japanese police which began in March and ended last week resulted in 16 suspected cryptojackers arrested. The suspects are accused of installing malware on their victims’ computers, and then using those computers to mine cryptocurrency without the permission nor knowledge of the unsuspecting computer owner.
The accused appear to have been running websites which spread their crypto mining malware. One of which is the notorious Coinhive program, used specifically to mine popular cryptocurrency Monero (XMR). The 16 men who were arrested in the “sting” are age between 18 and 48. Although the first arrests took place in March, the case was carried out in total secrecy, and details of the case were first revealed by police last week.
Coinhive – Preferred Tool Of The Cryptojacker
Coinhive was first launched in 2017, and has subsequently become one of the most notorious and widespread online tools. Coinhive enables the user to mine the cryptocurrency Monero via websites which allow them to enter an unsuspecting individual’s computer. There have been cases where Coinhive has been used to successfully target computers via YouTube. Cyber criminals looking to plant viruses and cause mayhem and disruption have used Coinhive to infiltrate government and university websites.
Crypto news website Cointelegraph reported earlier this week that the Japanese police are involved in yet another cryptojacking case that once again involves Coinhive. Three individuals are accused of running websites which spread Coinhive malware.
Online security company Palo Alto Networks recently revealed that around 5% of all Monero in circulation has been mined illegally via cryptojacking.