There appears to be a crack down on culprits of cryptojacking in Japan. It will be recalled that only last week, three persons were suspected to have injected mining scripts in scores of websites clandestinely. A recent report from The Asahi Shimbun, a local publication has stated that Japanese police have apprehended 16 suspects aged between 18 and 48 for cryptojacking.

 

These individuals, the report indicates are from 10 prefectures and are said to have designed and operated their own websites aimed at the computers of unsuspecting visitors to their websites. What they allegedly did was to secretly send programs to visitors to their websites to mine cryptocurrencies; the consent of visitors was not sought.

 

What 15 out of the 16 suspects did was to install Coinhive on their own websites. It appears that none of them hacked any websites and so will not be charged for hacking. It stands to reason that perhaps these individuals are being held and may be subsequently arraigned before the law courts on account of mining cryptocurrencies without the consent of visitors to their websites.

 

Hisashi Sonoda, a professor at Konan Law School who is quite abreast with issues regarding cyber attacks has confirmed the possible charge that may be slapped on these suspects but has also expressed his reservations about the arrest, referring to it as high-handedness.

 

It is much easier to gain access to this Coinhive since it is free to install. However, once installed, the developers of this software have configured it to operate a 70/30. What this means is that, 30% of every monero mined will go to the developers of Coinhive whiles the remaining 70% goes to the owner (s) of the website.

 

The reality is that cryptojacking is fast becoming all too common and ought to be tackled head-on. According to author, Vignesh Selvasundar, “Cryptojacking is the process of installing mining scripts or outright malicious malware onto computers of unsuspecting users to mine cryptocurrencies.” Selvasundar further noted that “the most popular among these is Coinhive, a javascript mining script installed on websites.”

 

Hackers typically target websites with both huge traffic and weak security. Hackers have been busy secretly installing Coinhive on such websites to mine Monero. The challenge for investigators has usually been the difficulty associated with apprehending hackers who mine Monero. This is essentially so because Monero is a privacy coin.

 

Many high-profile websites have fallen victim to cryptojacking. According to reports, well over 300 websites were injected with Coinhive as a result of a bug in Drupal. The websites infected include that of the government of Chihuahua and that of San Diego Zoo. Earlier this year, it was reported that hackers had mined Monero by installing Coinhive on Tesla`s website.

 

An official report from UK’s National Crime Agency (NCA) expressed pessimism about the prospects of tackling the challenge of cryptojacking. It stated:

“Popular websites are likely to continue to be targets for compromise, serving cryptomining malware to visitors, and software is available that, when run in a webpage, uses the visiting computer’s spare computer processing power to mine the digital currency Monero.”

Is the war on cryptojacking one that can be won and won any time soon? This question remains to be answered.

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Image from Dollar Destruction.

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