These days in Japan, the police have been investigating users of a remote mining software app called Coinhive. Japanese police have been cracking down on users without their website visitor’s approval. Recently, after being investigated and got their properties impounded, users are now speaking up about the unfairness of the investigation.
The Japanese police have been actively investigating some website owners operating with programs like Coinhive to mine cryptocurrencies without their site’s visitor’s knowledge. As of late, the police from 10 prefectures of Japan caught up to 16 people using programs like Coinhive. Three of them were taken into custody while the rest had their information forwarded to the prosecutors.
Nonetheless, a few experts are worried about how the police are going forward with these cases. One popular Japanese security researcher Dr. Takagi Hiromitsu took note of a few problems. First of all, he stated that the police only started investigating Coinhive after antivirus software companies declared Coinhive to be a virus. Also, Dr. Takagi detailed that most articles about Coinhive in Japan are based on interviews with a major anti-virus firm, Trend Micro. He mentioned; “It’s a simple story, antivirus software dealers are profitable enough to threaten people. In this way, it encourages everything as a cyber-crime and advertises its own products.”
A Japanese freelance designer called Moro-san, is one of the users of Coinhive on his website. Not long ago, he shared his story and experienced to the public concerning his encounter with the Kanagawa prefectural police. Moro-san noted; “It’s embarrassing. It was the first time in my life to be taken in by the police.”
He described how it happened by stating that he started using Coinhive in late September last year but removed it from his website in early November. Three months later, in early February, he received a call from the police while at work in Shibuya. They immediately headed to his workplace, brought him back to his house, showed him a search warrant and started searching his house. Other than the charge of violating a law that bans the development of computer viruses, they did not offer any other explanations.
The police went on to question him about his website. After several hours of interrogation I realized that Coinhive seemed to be the cause, Moro-san explained, adding that the police then checked his server information and each account information, etc. After up to 10 hours of interrogation and searches, He mentioned that one desktop PC, one laptop and one smartphone were confiscated. Moro-san got interrogated a few more times until late march when Moro-san was briefly interrogated at the public Prosecutor’s Office and was fined 100,000 yen ($909). He finally said; “I’m exhausted both mentally and physically at this point, I let myself go with the flow.”