Korean National Police Agency Cyber Bureau along with local law enforcement apprehended five men in South Korea led 24-year-old Kim Amu-gae, secretly installing crypto mining malware into more than 6,000 computers.
According to an official statement by authorities, the 5 suspects allegedly sent 32,435 emails containing cryptocurrency mining malware to infect desktop users in South Korea, for their processing power. These emails were sent as a ploy to victims looking for employment, between October to December in 2017. The hackers were able to accumulate their targets emails from local conglomerates in the IT industry. The cybercriminals obtained over 30,000 email addresses from various recruitment and job seeker platforms.
After obtaining the emails, it is assumed that the hackers sent emails containing the trojan crypto mining malware to the job seekers posing as potential employers. Contained in the tainted emails, were various files, that most unsuspecting individual would open, unlocking the malware hidden within and operating in the background.
Luckily with the advancement of anti-virus software, of the 6,000 infected PC’s many were cleaned of the mining malware within a few days. This left the hackers generating only $1,000 in profits.
An investigation told local news outlet Hani:
“Crypto jacking significantly reduces the performance of computers and if exposed to institutions, it could have a serious effect on the society. PC users must have secure anti-virus software in place and update browsers frequently. Also, if the performance of a computer suddenly drops, users will have to suspect the presence of mining malware.”