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ST. LOUIS – A federal grand jury indicted a pair of Iranian nationals last week for allegedly hacking a St. Charles tech company and using its computers to generate or “mine” cryptocurrency.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, this is the first cryptojacking case to be prosecuted in the Eastern District of Missouri.

Defendants Danial Jeloudar and Saeeid Safaei were each charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Both men are believed to be living abroad and are not in federal custody.

Cryptocurrency (like BitCoin or Ethereum) is a digital-only currency that is used to buy goods and services. People use their computer’s processing power to generate and “cash-out” cryptocurrency.

Jeloudar and Safaei are accused of gaining access to a St. Charles business’ cloud server and authorizing it to install several new computer servers in the cloud. Those new servers were used to mine cryptocurrency.

The scheme was discovered after the tech company received a bill of more than $760,000 from the cloud service provider related to the new servers that were installed.

Federal authorities recommend the following cybersecurity practices to minimize your risk of cryptojacking:

  • Two-step authentication will make it harder for criminals to gain access to your online accounts.
  • Monitor log-in history to detect suspicious activity early.
  • Audit cloud storage to verify contents.