China: 650,000 euros of mined Siacoins by hijacking computers from cybercafés
In China, a group of hackers allegedly collaborated with computer maintenance companies to use computers in cybercafés to undermine cryptocurrencies.
According to a local news site, police in Rui'An, a town in Zhejiang Province, have reportedly arrested 16 individuals suspected of participating in a cryptocurrency mining operation. They managed to obtain the equivalent of 5 million yuan (650,000 euros) by diverting last year more than 100,000 computers placed in cybercafés of 30 cities in China.
They have developed a malware that allows them to undermine the cryptocurrency Siacoin (SIA) on infected devices. They would then have solicited several computer maintenance companies, so that they benefit from routine checks to inject this software into the computers of cybercafés.
The profits related to the resale of these Siacoins would then have been shared between the pirates and their alleged accomplices.
The hijacking allegedly occurred in July 2017, when some Rui'An cybercafe executives began to notice that their computers had become extremely slow: the CPU utilization rate regularly reached 70%, even after a restart. At the same time, their electricity costs increased significantly, which led them to report this problem to the police force.
It will be remembered that the SIA then rose by around 400% in the space of a few weeks, from $ 0.002 in May to $ 0.01 in July.
Since most cybercafés in Rui'An use the same computer maintenance company (whose name was not mentioned in the report), the police arrested its director general in August. He then revealed information about the hackers he was working with.
The investigation is still ongoing: the malware would still be present in cybercafés in more than 30 Chinese cities, and more than 100 computer maintenance companies in the country would be involved.