Chinese Cybercafé Hacked To Mine Cryptocurrency, Millions of Dirty Money Pocketed in Months

A group of hackers was reported to collude with local computer maintenance company to mine cryptocurrency via cybercafé computers by secretly installing mining malware.

Hacking cryptocurrencies is the latest craze among hackers, Korean crypto exchange Bithumb was just attacked with $30 million stolen by hackers, announced Bithumb early this morning. Bold hacker elites eye bigger on exchanges, while some have other approaches.

According to a local report, police in Rui’An city in Zhejiang province arrested 16 suspects who allegedly gained 5.1 million yuan (roughly $800,000) in a few months by hacking more than 100,000 computers owned by internet cafes across over 30 Chinese cities.

Since July of last year, local cybercafés have noticed that their well-configured computers had been unusually slow. The CPU usage rate was often up above 70% even after a restart without any program on function.

Computers being slow, the power bills of those affected internet cafes began hitting on the roof, which subsequently directed the proprietors to report the abnormal case to the police.

After investigation, it was found that computer maintenance service of all the affected internet cafes was in the charge of the same computer maintenance company, the police thus arrested the head of the local firm in August, who later revealed detailed information about the hacker group.

A network technician surnamed Liu was the mastermind of the group, who was responsible for the development of the malware that could specifically mine a cryptocurrency called siacoin. Then two guys would market it to computer maintenance companies who helped to install the mining malware on their clients’ computers when carrying out regular checkups.

According to their agreement, the three core members mentioned above could get 30% of what they gained from mining and selling siacoin whose price went up since May to a high of $0.01 during the period.

That means, 70% of the dirty money went to the pocket of those computer maintenance firms. In a few months, the malware has spread across more than 30 cities in the country with over 100 computer maintenance firms involved.

As of this April, 12 more suspects, 16 in total have been arrested across different cities in China, and the investigation is still ongoing currently.

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