Moreno Cryptojackers Arrested In Japan

Crime, News | June 18, 2018 By:

Japanese authorities have arrested 16 individuals from 10 prefectures for their alleged involvement in cryptojacking.

Cryptojacking is a form of cyber attack in which a hacker hijacks a target’s processing power in order to mine cryptocurrency on the hacker’s behalf.

According to the National Police Agency, the arrested individuals have been found to have embedded computer programs on their own websites to use personal computers of viewers for cryptocurrency mining without their consent. The suspects have been accused of violating the law banning the use of computer viruses.

The case against the 16 men, aged between 18 and 48, was announced on June 14, although the first arrests were made in March. The suspects were allegedly spreading crypto mining malwares, including the Coinhive program, a JavaScript library that can be used by websites for mining Monero. The largest sum of money obtained via cryptojacking by the alleged suspects amounted to 120,000 yen ($1,100 USD). Since the Coinhive program operates on a 70/30 model, the suspects only got 70 percent of the cryptocurrency mined, with the remaining 30 going to Coinhive.

It is the first time in Japan that a person has been accused of using another person’s personal computer through a cryptocurrency mining program without approval. According to the Japanese police, they have been monitoring the Coinhive program since it was released in September 2017.

Hisashi Sonoda, a professor at Konan Law School who is knowledgeable about cybercrimes, said the arrests were likely made because consent of the site users was not obtained. At the same time, he said the sudden arrests may have been somewhat excessive because there are no legal precedents on how to handle the use of such programs.

While the Coinhive program isn’t intrinsically malicious, it has become a hacking tool for cybercriminals. Coinhive has previously been discovered in Google’s DoubleClick ad services, the Ultimate Fighting Championship website, and TV network Showtime, among many others.