A group of hackers has allegedly joined with computer maintenance firms in China to hack into computers that internet cafes own to mine cryptocurrency, as hacking cryptocurrencies has become a new trend amongst the hacking elite. According to Saturday June 16th local news report police officials arrested and charged 16 suspects in Rui’An city in Zhejiang province.

It is claimed that the group was capable of gaining 5 million yuan worth (8 hundred thousand dollars) by hacking more than a hundred thousand computers in internet cafes across 30 cities in China. The illegal hacking has been ongoing since July of last year.

How they attacked the internet cafes

The means how the hackers were able to get through those many computers was by developing some kind of malware that can mine specifically the siacoin cryptocurrency on an affected computer, then they marketed it to the computer maintenance firms who came into play by helping implant the malware into computers at internet cafes with no one’s knowledge while doing normal routine checkups. The hacks kept getting more notorious and smarter.

The report said that profits made via mining and selling the siacoins were then divided among the hackers and their accomplices.

How the internet cafes knew

The problem emerged in last year July in Rui’An when the internet cafes started to notice their computers had began running absolutely slow because even after a restart, the CPU usage rate was often at 70%. As of data from CoinMarketCap demonstrate, it was also at a time that the price of siacoin skipped by 400% in May from $0.002 to above $0.01 in July

The report stated that during that period, the utility bills such as the electricity bills of the affected internet cafes went up with a significant amount. The owners immediately reported this case to the local police officials.

Since almost all the internet cafes used a similar unnamed computer maintenance firm which was hard hitting evidence that the maintenance firm was involved, in August, the police arrested the firm’s chief executive officer who later unleashed information on the hackers.

Since the malware has now spread across more than 30 China cities with more than 100 computer maintenance firms being involved, the investigation is currently still ongoing.

In regards to reports, the chief mastermind is thought to be a network technician of an internet café software company, Jinhua. It is believed that invented the mining program.

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