Hacked to Mine Cryptocurrency?
According to a local news report in China’s Da Lian city, 20 arrests have been made in suspicion to hacking over a million computers and using these computers to mine or “generate” cryptocurrency using their victims’ computer processing power. Cryptocurrency is a form of digital “money.”
How did the Hackers do it?
The hackers created and embedded the malware inside internet browser plug-ins they developed for multiple purposes, such as improved browsing speed, which were shown in display ads that reached 5 million computers in the country.
When clicking the display ads and downloading the plug-ins, over a million computers were breached, mining a total of 26 million digibyte, decred and siacoin tokens over the course of two years, according to the police. China reported this hack has earned its creators more than $2 million.
Hackers apparently opted to mine more minor cryptocurrencies or alt coins since they don't require such significant amounts of computing power, allowing the back-end mining process to be quieter and less likely to be spotted by victims.
The report also indicated the hackers developed a network of more than 100 agents to help propagate the illicit mining software, such as through working relationships with internet cafes.