South Korea is a country that many people admire for creating Mukbang but if there’s one thing its citizens love more than live-streaming a kimchi-eating session, its trading cryptocurrencies.
In fact, South Koreans are the third-biggest traders of Bitcoin globally and, despite making up only 0.67 percent of the world’s population, account for about 17 percent of Ethereum traders.
As such, it’s no surprise that the occasional cryptocurrency crook crops up somewhere in the Korean peninsula. Five such people were arrested this Thursday by the country’s cybersecurity police force after they tried to install a crypto-jacking virus on people’s computers.
A statement released by the National Police Agency Cyber Bureau indicates that 24-year-old Kim Amu-Gae was the criminal mastermind behind the scam.
Along with his fellow reprobates, Kim posed as an employer and, from October to December 2017, sent out close to 33,000 emails – taken from recruitment websites – to ordinary Koreans looking for jobs.
Those emails contained attachments that people receiving the emails, thinking they were part of the job application process, would download to their computers.
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Once they opened the file, it would download a virus on to their computer. That virus could then use the person’s computer power to mine cryptocurrencies.
As South Koreans have some of the highest IQ scores in the world, most people that received the email were not taken in by it. Of the 33,000-odd emails sent by Kim and his crew, only around 6,000 actually downloaded the attached files.
Even then, in most cases, computer anti-virus software detected the virus and deleted it within a week.
As a result, Kim only managed to get away with about $1000. That’s a cool 200 bucks per head.
“Because cyber security firms and anti-virus software operators responded quickly to the distribution of mining malware, the group of hackers were not able to generate a significant revenue from their operation,” said local police.
For their efforts, Kim and his associates will probably be spending some time in a South Korean prison. Let’s see them mine their way out of that.