Juan loves going to the gran plaza movies. It’s one of the most beautiful buildings in Mexico City, with its signature twin towers rising from a garden full of flowers, trees and fountains. Moreover, Juan’s favorite part of the plaza is the smell of fresh bread coming from a nearby bakery that sells delicious artisan loaves.

But something happened this week which will fundamentally change how Juan thinks about La Gran Plaza: a hacker broke into every single phone in the area and raided it for cryptocurrency.

Once news broke of what had happened, people were stunned and outraged—some even describing it as “the worst thing” that could happen in Mexico City.

1. How exactly did this happen?

The hacker installed a virus on the phones of every visitor to La Gran Plaza, which he then spread with a worm that activated when the victims tried to use their phones. The virus was programmed to make the phone send out cryptocurrency every minute or so to a specific address, whereupon the hacker would be able to cash out.

2. What exactly happens when you get hacked?

When a phone gets hacked, it starts making tons of outgoing calls and sending out cryptocurrency—and it won’t stop until its battery dies or you unplug it from the wall. The hacker has to set up a number of different phone numbers to catch all the outgoing calls, and then direct them to his own cryptocurrency wallet. The infected phones are making so many calls that they’re congesting the networks.

The authorities have asked people to stay calm, because most of the information is not sensitive: it’s just your phone number and some of your data.

3. What can you do if your phone gets hacked?

If you find that any of your devices are sending out large amounts of data, you absolutely should backup all your data right away—and then switch off the device and unplug it from power until you can get a brand new one.

4. What’s the worst that could happen?

Some people have speculated, with good reason, that criminals could use this to track people down.

“This means it is possible for criminals to use an infected phone for paid phone calls, collect contact lists, track locations, and steal data from within the phone such as bank account information,” said security analyst Graham Cluley. “This incident also makes it easier for other cyber attacks or malware to breach phones.”

5. What about those crypto-raids on La Gran Plaza?

They didn’t make a dime of cryptocurrency money—they used the phones’ SIM cards to generate a huge amount of fake money from their own cell phones. “I have been told selfies of ritzy restaurants and stores, even show-girls in bikinis and skimpy underwear, can be bought for about $100 using the ‘Coin Hive’ CoinHive is a web-based Crypto Miner that secretly mines Monero on the users computer without their permission after being tricked into installing it,” said security expert Graham Cluley.

So there you have it: an artfully designed garden plaza packed with beautiful buildings might soon be filled with hordes of scammers and thieves, stealing private information from your phone, hacking your spyware when you try to use it, selling your sexy selfies to every Tom, Dick and Hacked Phone Guy in 2222.

6. Will this change Juan’s opinion of La Gran Plaza?

Probably not. It’ll take more than that to make Juan think twice about something as idyllic as La Gran Plaza. But it will change his opinion of phones, because they’re basically the worst now, and are therefore the worst invention of all time.

7. For that matter, does this even count as a “hack”?

A hacker is someone who steals a data-magnifying device from someone’s room and then uses it to cause mischief when the owner isn’t looking; a hacker is something far more sinister. Juan isn’t going to change his opinion of the hackers—whoever they are.

8. Is this the worst thing that can happen?

I’m not sure. It depends on how you define “worst”. If anything, this is good news: it means that people are completely stupid. They don’t lock their doors, they keep their phones on them all the time, they click on links and dl-files sent by people they don’t know—and now they’re sending money to random crypto-addresses and mining crypto-coins on their own phones. So maybe this is a good thing?

9. What will happen next?

The Mexican government has already announced that it plans to pass a law that will make it illegal to install cryptocurrency miners on other people’s devices. However, this will only happen after the police have thoroughly studied the situation and figured out who is exactly responsible for what happened.

10. Should I be worried?

Yes, you should. Your phone is far more dangerous than your gun, your knife, and your sword combined.

“Our phones are always on us,” said Juan as he finished his cold beer. “And if you’ve ever been in a confusing area or unfamiliar place, and you’re looking for directions, it’s easy to download an app that has a virus in it.”

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