Hackers infect 16 computers from a tech store with cryptocurrency mining software

A couple originally from Spain has been accused of hacking 16 computer equipment in a store in the town of Tarragona in order to use them to mine cryptocurrency. The defendants, 33 years old, caused losses of more than $20,000 USD, for which they face various criminal charges.

It all started in mid-October, when the defendants entered an electronics store in a shopping mall and inadvertently installed software capable of conducting various transactions remotely and obtaining cryptocurrency commissions.

This is a practice known as cryptojacking and consists of using the computing resources of an affected system to solve complex operations and obtain virtual assets, which greatly consumes the affected devices.

Cryptocurrency mining requires specific software for the resolution of these complex mathematical problems; once this process is completed, the cryptojacking software obtains a variable amount of cryptocurrency. The faster these operations are processed, the more likely it is that a reward will be obtained.

Although the equipment compromised by the defendants was blocked by store staff, the hackers managed to inject the mining software undetected. However, store employees noticed that despite being new, these teams worked very slowly and their fans made too much noise.

An expert confirmed that these computers had been manipulated and controlled remotely, quickly consuming the capabilities of their graphics cards and other components, generating considerable loss for the store owners. Although the defendants used a hacking tool to make employees believe the operation was coordinated from the U.S., security cameras at the store demonstrated the exact moment the attackers infected computers.

The couple was arrested on October 28 at their home, so they were presented to the corresponding authorities. The defendants will face trial in freedom, although they have been prohibited from leaving the city and presenting themselves again as soon as they are called by the authorities.

To learn more about information security risks, malware variants, vulnerabilities and information technologies, feel free to access the International Institute of Cyber Security (IICS) websites.