The Asahi Shimbun reported on June 15 that Japanese prosecutors from ten different prefectures arrested 16 individuals accused of involvement in an ongoing investigation into cryptojacking.
Cryptojacking is stealing computer processing power to create cryptocurrency and make a quick, untraceable profit.
The report says that the accused installed malware on their victim’s computers. The malware was used to mine cryptocurrency on the hacker’s behalf. The suspects ran websites to spread the malware, including Coinhive to mine for Monero (XMR).
The report from the Asahi Shimbun says the suspects only received 70 percent of the cryptocurrency mined, with 30 percent going to Coinhive.
Meanwhile, Professor Hisashi Sonoda of the Konan Law School says that the arrests may have been an excessive response. He notes that there is currently no legal precedent in handling similar cases.
Coinhive is one of the most widespread programs to mine Monero on websites using their visitor’s computer. The program is used to target computers via Youtube, as well as on government and university sites.
Coinhive is also used by legitimate websites to mine for cryptocurrencies. The UNICEF website asks for their visitor’s permission to mine for cryptocurrencies and Salon.com does the same.
5 percent of all XMR mined was through cryptojacking, a study from Palo Alto Networks revealed last week.