Crypto mining scams have come in all shapes and sizes over the years, with Ukrainian military personnel, Federal Reserve employees, and Chinese principal getting in on the act. One Singaporean man has cut out the extravagances however, and the need for hardware, and mined various cryptocurrencies using Google Cloud and Amazon Web Services (AWS) through identity and credit card theft. His ruse having been discovered, he now faces over 30 years in prison, proving once again that illegal crypto mining really isn’t the smartest thing to do, especially when you have to steal people’s identity and credit cards to do it.
Citizen of Singapore indicted in scheme to steal cloud computing power for cryptocurrency mining — Masqueraded as California video game developer to access cloud computing services https://t.co/Pt8GNqT22D
— WDWAnews (@WDWAnews) October 9, 2019
$5 Million Worth of Data Usage
29-year-old Ho Jun Jia, who also goes by Matthew Ho, ran a massive cryptocurrency mining operation from October 2017 to February 2018 using the stolen identity and credit card information of a prominent California video-game developer. Ho used the stolen credentials to open accounts at multiple cloud service providers, which he used to mine various cryptocurrencies during the historic bull run before cashing out through exchanges. Ho combined fake email accounts with social engineering techniques to trick cloud computing providers into approving increased account privileges, computer processing power and storage, and offering him deferred billing. At one point during the period he was one of AWS’s biggest customers by data usage volume. Ho had other victims during his five-month spree, including a Texas resident and the founder of an Indian tech company, all of which resulted in unpaid data services bills amounting to $5 million.
Ho Facing Singaporean and US Charges
Being based in Singapore, Ho presumably thought he could operate undetected to US authorities but, like many others have found to their cost, the US authorities have long arms, and Ho was taken into custody by the Singapore Police Force last month. He is currently being investigated for various alleged offenses committed under Singapore law, but will be handed over to US authorities once they have finished with him. Ho faces charges of wire fraud, access device fraud, and aggravated identity theft which carry a maximum sentence of 30 years.