US authorities accuse three Chinese citizens of running a global cryptojacking scheme

The US prosecutor’s office has accused three Chinese citizens of organizing a global hacker campaign to steal confidential data from more than 100 companies and install malware for mining.

According to the May 2019 indictment released this week, Jiang Lizhi, Qian Chuan, and Fu Qiang have been active for many years working for the Chinese cybersecurity firm Chengdu 404 Network. Technology Co.

Three Chinese citizens are accused of money laundering, conspiracy and identity theft. They also faced charges related to computer systems. The US authorities are based on claims that the hackers used an extensive cryptojacking scheme and installed mining malware on victims’ computers.

In the indictment, prosecutors say Chengdu 404 executives attacked at least 100 “victimized companies, organizations and individuals” in a multi-year fraudulent scheme that used “big data” analytics to maximize impact.

In May 2014, the three defendants “agreed to organize a massive network of computer hacks targeting secure computers belonging to hotels, video game developers, technology and telecommunications companies, research universities, non-governmental organizations and other organizations around the world.”

They allegedly stole source code and customer data from companies, carried out “supply chain hacks” to disable victims’ computers, infected networks with ransomware, and installed mining malware to increase the Chengdu 404’s bottom line.

“The main overall goal of the conspiracy was to achieve commercial success of the Chengdu 404 and personal financial gain for the participants in the scheme by hacking into secure computers,” the prosecutor’s office said.

Jiang, vice president of engineering for Chengdu 404, intended to “get more domains to increase computing power” for one of the targeted companies in Singapore. “Let’s see what the profit would be if we capture a total of about 10,000 devices,” he told an unnamed fourth hacker.

Jiang allegedly advised him to look into French and Italian companies as potential targets, saying, “The only thing is, the time difference is a bit of a hassle. We’ll have to work at night. ” The indictment does not indicate which cryptocurrencies the suspects were trying to mine.

Recall that, according to a recent study, the number of hidden cryptocurrency mining attacks through browsers in the second quarter of this year increased by 163% due to the growth of the cryptocurrency market.

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