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Business trends

'Cryptojackers' access people's phones to mine virtual currencies

Hackers steal computing power, causing devices to slow down

"Cryptojacking," or surreptitiously using a computer's number-crunching power to mine virtual currencies, is the latest trend among cybercriminals. (Photo by Yoshiyuki Tamai)

TOKYO -- If you've noticed your computer or smartphone acting sluggishly after visiting an unfamiliar website, the problem may be more than just the usual file clutter. Your PC may have been hijacked to mine cryptocurrency.

Hackers specializing in "cryptojacking" gain access to computers and smartphones, using their computing power to unlock the code that brings them profit in the form of virtual currency. The mining programs, which use the popular JavaScript computer language, operate on a device without the website visitor's knowledge.

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