Per recent reports from a local media outlet, Police in Hengyang, a city of south-central China’s Hunan Province have arrested fifteen men on grounds of stealing electricity from Internet cafes to mine cryptocurrencies.
9000 Involved in Remote Controlling of Cafes to Mine Cryptocurrencies
In the past few months, criminals have stolen cryptocurrencies worth over a hundred million Yuan. Furthermore, 9000 computer administrators are said to be involved in the scam. The local police further revealed that many cafes were involved and were remotely controlled for crypto mining. Preliminary investigation reports found that the mastermind, Trojan horse program developer is a network technology company in Zhengzhou, and the company’s head is surnamed Zhang.
The accused Zhang bribed Internet Cafe administrators under the garb of contacting the firm and asked them to implant the “mining” program into the computer of the Internet Cafes while conducting maintenance activities, thus, gaining control over the café. After acquiring cryptocurrency, the accused converted it to RMB with the help of a third-party platform.
Cryptojacking Botnets Can Earn as Much as $30k a Month – Symantec Report
The Internet Security Threat Report, that covers cryptojacking trends and case studies, states,
The surge in the profile and value of cryptocurrencies, however, also had a detrimental impact on some people who had invested in them, with numerous coin wallets and exchanges being cleared out by cybercriminals who managed to gain access to them. In this case, the anonymity of cryptocurrencies, and lack of regulation in the space, which is a big part of cryptocurrencies’ appeal for many people, worked against it as, in most cases, it is impossible to trace where stolen cryptocurrency has gone.
The surge in activity in cryptojacking began in October 2017 and hit a peak in December—between the beginning and end of 2017 total cryptojacking activity increased by a staggering 34,000 percent. This high level of activity continued into January and February 2018, but activity fell back slightly in March and fell further in June.
The report further explains that a coin -mining botnet can earn about $30K per month. The figures are indeed alarming when it comes to the global crypto scenario and the losses faced by traders, investors and crypto holders alike.
More Instances of the Cryptojacking Menace
Interestingly, this is not the first case of cryptojacking in China. November of 2018 saw two middle school principals in Hunan Province getting punished for using the school’s IT network to mine Ether. Earlier in May, a 61-year-old grandmother was sentenced to four months in prison for stealing electricity while mining bitcoin.