Chinese authorities have announced the arrest of fifteen men suspected of corrupting and hijacking internet cafe resources to mine cryptocurrency.
First reported on Sept. 3 by crypto outlet 8BTC, police in the city of Henyang in China’s Hunan Province arrested fifteen men tied to stealing electricity and resources from internet cafes for the purpose of mining crypto. According to the police report, the suspects have been operating the mining group since June 2017, amassing more than $20 million in cryptoassets.
Police were first notified of the illegal activity following a tip that numerous local internet cafes were being controlled remotely for the purpose of mining crypto. The data trail led authorities to a Trojan horse program developer named Zhang, who operated an advertising and value-added business. They discovered that Zhang was coercing and bribing internet cafe owners and workers into mining cryptocurrency for profit, which is still illegal under Chinese law.
Zhang was able to mask his illegal mining ring under the guise of establishing a business contract with the cafes, during which time he would implant a crypto mining program which allowed him remote access.
Authorities estimate that as many as 9000 computer administrators may have been involved in the illegal mining ring.