According to press reports, the malware for cryptocurrency mining that infected more than one million computers in China, earned its creators more than USD $ 2 million in two years.
According to a press release published today, police in the Chinese city of Da Lian arrested 20 suspects of a computer technology firm that allegedly gained control of a large number of computers, in order to obtain illicit profits in cryptocurrencies.
The hackers created and embedded the malware within the Internet browser add-ons that they developed for various purposes, including improving browsing speed, which were shown in display ads that reached 5 million computers in the country.
According to the police, by clicking on the ads on the display and installing the add-ons, more than one million computers became infected, extracting a total of 26 million Digibyte, Decred and Siacoin tokens over the course of two years.
Hackers apparently chose to extract lesser known cryptocurrencies, because they do not require such large amounts of computing power, which allows the back-end mining process (data access layer) to be more discreet and, therefore, less likely to be detected by the victims.
The report also indicated that hackers developed a network of more than 100 intermediaries to help spread illicit logging software, through working relationships with cybercafés.
The news follows previous information indicating that another group of hackers was also arrested in China for allegedly plotting with local computer maintenance firms to hack more than 100,000 computers owned by cybercafes, also to extract the Siacoin cryptocurrency.