Illegal cryptocurrency mining activities are thriving in the background even as authorities in China ramp up crackdowns against it. Hackers seem to have upped their game in pursuit of much-needed computer processing power for launching mining activities.
Internet Café hacking
Reports indicate that with the assistance of computer maintenance firms, hackers in China are hacking into computers owned by internet cafes to gain access to computer power needed to mine various digital currencies.
In Zhejiang province for example, 16 people have so far been arrested for hacking more than 100,000 computers in internet cafes, across 30 cities. The hackers are believed to have gained more than $800,000 from the illegal mining operation.
The hackers are believed to have developed a piece of malware, which they then marketed to a computer maintenance firm. The firm went on to infect computers in internet cafes with the malware while carrying out routine maintenance. In return, the hackers and the firm shared profits generated from mining the SiaCoin (SC-USD) token.
Illegal Cryptocurrency Mining Operation
The vast operation came to light in the middle of last year after some internet cafes started complaining about how their computers had become extremely slow in Rui’An city. Coincidentally it is at this time that the price of SiaCoin had skyrocketed by more than 400%, forcing hackers to engage in aggressive mining campaigns.
Slow computer speeds is not the only thing that the affected internet cafes’ had to contend with. Cryptocurrency mining being a power-intensive operation meant that the cafés had to contend with higher electricity bills than usual as well.
The illegal mining operation came to a halt after authorities arrested the Chief Executive Officer of the computer maintenance firm that had serviced all the affected computers. He went on to confess how he had conspired with the hackers to install the cryptocurrency mining malware in the internet cafés.
The crackdown on the illegal mining operations comes at a time when neighboring Japan is also planning to charge hackers believed to have engaged in similar operations.