Chinese Authorities Arrest 20 Suspects Involved in Crypto-Jacking Scandal
This week, news outlets reported a major break in a crypto-jacking scheme resulting in the arrest of twenty related persons of interest involved in the case. The entire scandal is reported to have included over one million computers across the country and resulted in almost two-million-dollars’ worth of illegal assets.
An illegal method worldwide, crypto-jacking allows one user to vigorously mine cryptocurrencies through another computer without proper authorization or access through malicious software intended for that very purpose. After WeChat developer, Tencent, reported the sighting of a new mining code embedded in free downloads, an official case was opened earlier this year.
Essentially, a crypto-jacker disguises mining software and malware as authorized information or programs and hides them on a user’s computer, mining crypto through their processors without them being aware. The new mining program used during the virtual heist was reported to function while a computer's usage was minimum, possibly as a means of determining whether the authorized user was sitting at their computer or not.
The technology itself emerged from Qingzhou as reports state, followed by an investigation by local authorities conducting a full-time effort into capturing the responsible individuals.
Information obtained from some arrested suspect lead authorities to arrest more involved individuals from a technology company under the name of Dalian Shenping and uncover its involvement in the criminal plan. Dalian Shenping was accused of supporting and acting out crypto-jacking activities by offering free downloads to users with the coding scripts embedded in each download.
April resulted in three more arrests, namely suspects believed to have designed the invasive software used during the scam. McAfee labs reported a massive spike in crypto-jacking malware this year, with a prime example of how long an elaborate scam can go undetected provided by the two-year run of China’s crypto-jacking scheme.
Malicious malware is infecting countless computers, personal devices, and mobile phones, as seen by the Monero incident involving almost fifty thousand infected phones with attempted mining schemes involved.