According to a report from Legal Daily in China, police have 20 suspects from a massive hacking ring that targeted a million computers. The ring are said to have made over $2 million in crypto over the space of two years. The arrests took place in Dalian, the southernmost peninsula in the country. The report states [translated from Chinese]:
During the two years, a total of more than 26 million DGB coins (“DigiByte”), DCR coins (“Decred coin”), and SC (“Siacoins”) were mined, and a total of more than 15 million yuan was illegally gained.
The hackers infiltrated users’ computers by creating a variety of Internet browser plugins, which claimed to have various functions such as increasing speed or security. The plugins appeared as pop-ups, which would then release the malware at the installation stage. According to the report, there was about a 20% uptake in this, which shows how convincing and sophisticated the pop-ups were.
As is often the case with mining hacks, the infiltrators chose to target lesser-known coins, as a lot less computing power is required to mine. The report states that the goal of the hackers was to use significantly less than 50% of the machine so as not to attract the attention of the users or any anti-malware software they might have installed.
These attacks, despite being better policed, are not reducing in size or number. Hackers are getting smarter and more innovative, and we are now seeing larger and larger hacking groups join together to infiltrate larger numbers of machines in one go. Indeed, Siacoin has been the target of illicit mining operations in China this year already. It is expected that the Chinese authorities will be harsh in their trials of the hackers if it comes to that, in order to send out a clear message that consequences will be severe.
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