A group of hackers has allegedly colluded with computer maintenance firms in China to hack into computers owned by internet cafes to mine cryptocurrency.


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According to a local news report on Saturday, the police force in China’s Rui’An city in Zhejiang province arrested 16 suspects who allegedly profited 5 million yuan (or $800,000) by hacking more than 100,000 computers in internet cafes across 30 Chinese cities since July of last year.

The report said the hackers first developed a malware that can specifically mine the Siacoin cryptocurrency in an affected device.

Then they marketed it to computer maintenance firms who allegedly helped to inject the malware to computers in internet cafes when they were doing regular check up jobs.

The profits made by mining and selling these Siacoins would then be split among the hackers and their alleged accomplices, the report said.

According to the report, the issue emerged in July 2017 when internet cafes in Rui’An – one after another – started to notice their computers had become extremely slow since the CPU usage rate was often at 70 percent even after a restart.

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Notably, it was also at a time when the price of Siacoin jumped by 400 percent from $0.002 in May to over $0.01 in July, data from CoinMarketCap shows.

Meanwhile, the utility bills of affected internet cafes in Rui’An also went up significantly during that period, the report said. Subsequently the owners reported the case to the local police.

Since most internet cafes in Rui’An used the same computer maintenance firm (unnamed in the report) for regular check up, the police arrested the firm’s chief executive officer in August, who later revealed information of the hackers.

The report further said currently the investigation is still ongoing since the affection is now widespread across more than 30 cities in China with over 100 computer maintenance firms in the country being allegedly involved.


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Author Wolfie Zhao
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