Oct 10, 2019

US Charges Singaporean Miner Who Stole $5M Worth of Cloud Computing Power

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American prosecutors have indicted a man from Singapore for using stolen identities to illegally utilize Amazon Web Services’ cloud computing power for crypto mining.

According to the indictment filed on Oct. 1, Ho Jun Jia was charged with eight counts of wire fraud, four counts of access device fraud and two counts of aggravated identity theft.

Impersonating a game developer

The document states that, from October 2017 to February 2018, Ho Jun Jia — also known under the aliases Matthew Ho, Prefinity and Ethereum Vendor — has stolen several identities and accounts, including from an unnamed Los Angeles-based game developer. 

Ho then used social engineering to gain access to admin privileges and large amounts of cloud computing power on Amazon Web Services (AWS). The prosecutors claim that he used illegally accessed virtual machines to mine cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin (BTC), Litecoin (LTC) and Ethereum (ETH).

Over $5 million worth of computing power

According to the indictment, the total worth of computing services used by Ho amounted to over $5 million. The prosecutors also allege that at some point he even became the largest AWS data consumer, adding:

"In the few months his scheme remained active, Ho consumed more than $5 million in unpaid cloud computing services with his mining operation and, for a brief period, was one of Amazon Web Services (AWS) largest consumers of data usage by volume. Some of the bills were paid by the California game developer’s financial staff before the fraud was detected."

The prosecutors claim that Ho also stole identities from a man in Texas and an Indian business owner, likewise using them to reserve virtual machines on AWS and Google Cloud.

Police arrested Ho in late September. When the case goes to trial, he could face charges in the Seattle Western District Court if extradited — which is possible thanks to an extradition treaty between the U.S. and Singapore.

As Cointelegraph reported on Oct. 3, cryptocurrency exchange HitBTC has denied allegations that it froze Brazillian investment startup Atlas Quantum’s funds, claiming the evidence was forged.

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