Earlier this month, reports in Japanese local daily emerged that a program named Coinhive was being installed by hackers to illegally mine cryptocurrency Monero.
The Japan police had told a news portal Mainichi that they were contemplating press criminal charges against the perpetrators as “the case is a violation of the law banning use of computer viruses. If police press charges, it will be the first case in Japan where illegal use of computers in cryptocurrency mining would become a criminal case.”
In an updated report, it was revealed that 16 people were arrested for installing the malicious program in unsuspecting victims’ computers.
According to a report in Toshi Times, “The arrests took place in 10 different prefectures across the country and the first of these may have occurred as early as March. The suspects are accused of installing a range of software on their victims’ computers without consent. This included the notorious Coinhive program, which is used to mine Monero through the victim’s web browser.”
The details revealed from the arrest said that the largest amount that has been generated and seized from the illegal mining was around 120,000 JPY aka Japanese Yen (around $1000). This is based on the 70/30 model of Coinhive, which charges 30% for fees and allows miners to keep 70% of the ‘loot’.
However, a professor at the Konan Law School in Tokyo, Hisashi Sonoda, who specialises in cybercrime did not agree with the arrests. He said, “The immediate arrests may have been premature, as there is no legal precedent which has been set for this case. However, it soon might be as the practice of cryptojacking is on the rise; last week three suspects in Yokohama were also arrested over cryptojacking charges, one being ordered to pay a $900 fine.”
Crypto-News India had earlier reported that computer security companies such as Trend Micro have repeatedly warned people against the program. Trend Micro has reportedly “detected 181,376 terminals running mining software from January through March 2018 in Japan, marking an explosive increase from 767 in the same period a year ago.”
According to investigators, people involved in the case, allegedly set up websites in 2017 to install a program on users’ computers and use it to mine Monero cryptocurrency.
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