Japanese Police Arrest 16 Persons for Illegally Mining Cryptocurrency

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Japanese Police Arrest 16 Persons for Illegally Mining Cryptocurrency

While the entire crypto ecosystem is still trying to find lasting solutions to crypto-related financial crimes such as money laundering, crypto theft, hacks and heists, bad actors keep formulating new ways to benefit from the digital currency revolution at the expense of others. Now, Japan’s security forces have arraigned sixteen people for similar cryptojacking on June 15, 2018.

Mining Crypto for free

Per a Japan Times report, the police have caught sixteen people who used secret cryptocurrency mining software installed on their websites to illegally mine blockchain-powered digital monies from visitors’ personal computers, without their consent.

According to investigators, such practice is a violation of the law that banned the use of all forms of computer malware and viruses in the country.

Out of the 16 accused persons, about three are in police custody while some others have been slapped with a 100,000 Japanese Yen (~$905) fine. The report further noted that of the 16 people charged with the offense, four men are in their forties, seven are in their twenties, and another four people are aged 30, with only one teenager among them.

Most of the people involved in the act claimed to have used the Coinhive program to perpetuate the crime. The software makes it easy for people to mine altcoins like Monero. It splits the mined coins on a 70 to 30 ratio, giving thirty percent to the creators while 70 percent goes to the owners of the website that the code was embedded.

Cryptojacking on the Rise

While there have been several reported cases of crypto heists involving Japanese exchanges, officials claim that this is the first time Japan’s police will arrest people for a cryptojacking offense.

For the uninitiated, cryptojacking is the process of making use of people’s computer processing power without their approval, to mine cryptocurrencies from a remote location through a malware installed on the person’s personal computer.

Since the price of bitcoin hit high the heavens in 2017, triggering a pent up interest in people around the world in the nascent digital currency space, the menace of cryptojacking has been on a maddening increase.

On March 26, 2018, BTCManager reported that Sweden witnessed a 10,000 percent surge of cryptojacking attacks in quarter four of 2017. “It has just gone through the roof. I’ve never seen such a big change in the short term,” said a security expert at Symantec, Ola Rehnberg.

Similarly, back in January 2018, reports emerged that cyberpunks had devised a means of embedding malicious codes in YouTube ads to mine Monero.

It’s worthy of note that unlike ransomware attacks that take control of a victim’s entire computer and demand compensation, cryptojackers are only interested in using people’s computer resources to generate cryptos.

However, the process is frustrating for as it slows down the victim’s computer and could even lead to a hard disk crash if care is not taken. Cryptojacking remains an unlawful act, and it will do the entire cryptocurrency industry a lot of good if more stringent punishments are hammered on offenders.

Ogwu Osaemezu Emmanuel

Ogwu Osaemezu Emmanuel is a graduate of Mass Communication and Media Studies. He joined the blockchain movement in 2016 when a friend of his introduced him to an investment platform accepting bitcoin. He has never looked back since then. Emmanuel believes the world needs real change and freedom from poverty. He sees crypto and the underlying distributed ledger technology as the catalyst to a better future for all.