Chinese authorities have reportedly carried out sting operations against a Trojan development and distribution group believed to have gained illegal access to over 380 million computers, with 1 million systems silently mining for them.
According to a report by Legal Daily, the recent joint effort by Chinese security agencies yielded 20 arrests. The scheme was first detected by the Tencent Keeper Program, a Tencent division specifically set up to curb the distribution of unauthorized third-party gaming software.
The Trojan Project
The arrests were the result of an ongoing collaboration between the Tencent Keeper team and Chinese authorities. It linked to a previous investigation involving Yang Mobao, who was arrested on March 8, 2018.
He confessed to using a gaming plugin to access the computers. Dalian Shengping Network Technology founder, He Mou, was later on found to have been behind the project. The project began in 2015 when he allegedly instructed his research department to develop a mining Trojan.
An ad campaign touting ‘free’ plugins is said to have led to the high number of installations.
According to a Block Tribune report, Tencent Keeper initially contacted the Weifang City Public Security Bureau after noticing a hidden miner within browser plugins.
Infected computers had a mining script as well as computer usage monitoring software that triggered the miner to start as soon as CPU utilization went below 50 percent. The hackers mined 26 million Decred, Digibyte, and Siacoin coins with a net value of about $2.2 million in the course of two years.
Cryptojacking on the Rise
Ransomware incidences were down 30 percent in 2017 – 2018 as compared to 2016 – 2017 when there were about 2.6 million reported incidences.
On the other hand, the number of users who encountered miners rose from about 2 million in 2016 – 2017 to almost 3 million in 2017 – 2018. Overall mobile miner infection figures are still below 10,000.
(Featured Image Credit: Hamedog)
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