Japanese boy arrested for developing cryptocurrency stealing malware

Japanese kid using a laptop.

A teenager has been arrested for creating a cryptocurrency stealing malware used in stealing MonaCoin, world’s first Japanese cryptocurrency.

Just days after the biggest hack in the history of cryptocurrency business in which Japan-based cryptocurrency exchange Coincheck was hacked and 58 billion Yen of the virtual currency “NEM (Nemu)” ($534 million – €429 million) was stolen from its digital wallets authorities are cracking down on hackers and cybercriminals involved in anything related to illegal activities against cryptocurrencies.

On January 30th, 2018, Japanese police arrested a 17-year-old boy for developing a malware that steals “private key” passwords required for users to access or transfer cryptocurrency through their online wallets.

The teenager who is a third-year high school student from Kaizuka city, Osaka Prefecture was arrested by Aichi Prefectural Police. According to local Japanese news website Mainichi, the teenager whose name has not been revealed yet created a malware app disguise as cryptocurrency markets lookup software in real time, however, in reality, it stole passwords for MonaCoin wallets.

According to the arrest warrant, around October 10th, 2017 the teenager posted a link to the malicious app on an online bulletin board. The app was downloaded by a 31-year-old man and shortly after the installation, he found out that 170 MonaCoin from his wallet which is around 15,000 Yen (USD 668 – Euro 537) were missing.

Upon questioning, the kid has denied the allegations stating that “I didn’t do it with malicious intent.” However, the police is also investigating if the boy targeted other unsuspecting users and whether he stole more funds or not.

MonaCoin (MONA) is a decentralized, open-source cryptocurrency launched in January 2014 in Japan. It is also classified as the world’s first Japanese cryptocurrency and currently, one MonaCoin is equivalent to almost $4 and 434 Yen.

This is not the first time when a Japanese teenager has been arrested for creating a malware. In June 2017, a 14-year-old was arrested for creating ransomware software that would attack computers and lock their data to demand ransom. In September 2017, a 13-year-old Japanese kid was arrested for selling malware designed for targeting smartphone including iPhone.

Image Credit: Shutterstock/Hung Chung Chih

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