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Japanese Police Widen Crackdown on Crypto Mining Software

Tim Alper
Last updated: | 1 min read

Police forces in Japan are tightening their regulation of Japanese websites that run cryptocurrency mining software, labeling mining apps as “viruses,” and hitting web publishers across the country with fines.

Source: iStock/Rich Legg

As reported earlier this week, police in Yokohama fined a music site developer with a fine worth just over USD 900 for running Coinhive’s Monero mining tools on his site. The program makes site visitors’ CPUs (central processing units) mine Monero, distributing 30% to Coinhive’s developers and 70% to site publishers.

The developer has since announced that he intends to appeal the decision, and wants his case to be heard by a jury at the Yokohama District Court.

And now it appears that police have widened their web across the nation, with Mainichi reporting that 10 prefectural police forces have charged a total of 16 people with mining-related offences, in Kanagawa, Chiba, Tochigi and other provinces. The media outlet says that the software in question in each case was developed by Coinhive in 14 of the 16 cases.

Kanagawa police, meanwhile, say they have made three arrests in an illegal mining case allegedly involving the prefecture’s website management system.

Publishers accused of running illegal mining software include the operators of sports and music news sites.

Per Mainichi, regional police forces consider that “unlike conventional web advertisements that viewers can easily recognize and block or navigate away from, they will not notice that their CPUs are being used to mine unless this is explained to them.”