Boy, 17, arrested for allegedly creating virus targeting cryptocurrency
A 17-year-old boy was arrested on Jan. 30 on suspicion of creating a computer virus that steals "private key" passwords needed to transfer cryptocurrency online and making the virus available to download, police have revealed.
The boy, a third-year high school student in Kaizuka, Osaka Prefecture, was arrested by Aichi Prefectural Police's Kita Police Station for allegedly creating illicit electromagnetic records and putting them into service.
The specific cryptocurrency that the boy targeted is monacoin. It has emerged that monacoin belonging to other people was withdrawn allegedly using the virus -- prompting the police station to also look into whether the boy carried out fraud using a computer.
Under the arrest warrant, the teenager is alleged to have created a computer virus that can steal passwords necessary to transfer monacoin from one dedicated account (wallet) to another, and then posting the virus on an online bulletin board, around Oct. 10, 2017.
The boy has reportedly denied some of the allegations, stating: "I didn't do it with malicious intent."
According to the police station, the virus in question was presented on an online bulletin board monitored by monacoin users, under the guise of being software for helping people view currency markets in real time.
A 31-year-old man from Tokyo's Edogawa Ward downloaded the virus immediately after the teenager placed it in online. Shortly afterward, there was a series of posts on the bulletin board warning others to be careful about the suspicious "software" -- prompting the man to check his wallet. He then discovered that 170 monacoins which he possessed (worth about 15,000 yen at the time) had disappeared.
The police station is also looking into whether the boy fraudulently withdrew the man's monacoins.