Given how serious, Japanese regulatory bodies are about cryptocurrency exchanges, the Japan police has taken it a notch.
On Monday, a local Japanese news portal Mainichi reported that Japan police are no longer allowing people to mine cryptocurrencies on personal computer.
The report said, “Investigators suspect that 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. The incident is being pursued jointly by multiple prefectural police departments including those in Kanagawa, Chiba and Tochigi in central Japan.”
The program is known as Coinhive and 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.
The portal said that the investigators working on the case judged this to be a criminal case because those programs were included on the computers without the consent of the users. Apart from that the machines were forced to function in ways that were not intended by the legitimate owners.
So far three people have been investigated in this case, including a website designer. One of them has been ordered to pay a penalty amount of 100,000 yen for illegally storing a computer virus. However, the defendant says that it is not a virus as it operates through a similar method used to distribute advertisements online.
Intending to see this through, the lawyer representing the defendants said, “It’s not right that only Coinhive is painted as the bad guy.”
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