Mining cyptocurrency at work is a new fad among crypto enthusiast that seems an opportunity to earn free cryptocurrencies. But this sketchy behavior is growing in numbers nowadays, however, when get caught, the employee would end up in the jail. One of such incident took place in Sydney, Australia on March where a government employee, aged 33 years reportedly used his office system to mine cryptocurrency.
After arresting the IT Contractor, the Australian Federal Police revealed that cryptocurrency worth over $9000AU (~ $6,000 USD) were mined illicitly just for personal gains. The name of the Killara-based government contractor is yet to be disclosed by AFP. Moreover, the recent reports say the convicted has been sentenced with 2 criminal charges:
- unauthorized modification of data to cause impairment (maximum 10 years of imprisonment)
- unauthorized modification of restricted data (maximum 2 years of imprisonment)
Chris Goldsmid, the Acting commander of AFP stated:
Australian taxpayers put their trust in public officials to perform vital roles for our community with the utmost integrity. Any alleged criminal conduct which betrays this trust for personal gain will be investigated and prosecute.
After arrest on March, the police officials seized his mobile, personal laptop, ID cards and other files. How the contractor’s rogue act caught colleague’s attention is not yet clear, however according to the reports, unauthorized code was found running on the network. Few officials claim that the unusually high electricity bill could also be the alarming factor for the IT division of the agency.
The disclosed identity is not the first one to get caught in unauthorized crypto activity. However, the incident came as a disgrace for the federal government agency whose employee took roguish advantage of his position.
In the similar context, some of the highlighting reports of mining cryptocurrency at work came from China, Russia and Taiwan.
Last September in China, a man was accused of fueling his 50 computers and 3 electric fans from local railway’s electric supply to mine Bitcoin. The Chinese man stole electricity worth $15,000 that made him earn Bitcoin worth $17,400. He was sentenced to 3.5 years jail term and fined $14,500.
Back in February-2018, Russian nuclear scientists were alleged to have illicitly hijacked the system at Sarov’s Federal Nuclear Centre for mining cryptocurrency at work. The system used for mining Bitcoin was a Russian supercomputer capable of operating at 1 petaflop. The amount of cryptocurrencies being minted has not been disclosed.
Lastly a Taiwanese resident was arrested at the 2018-end who was accused of stealing over a massive $3 million worth of electricity to power his Bitcoin mining rigs. To remain in disguise, the person operated in 17 premises, earlier posed as cyber cafes and toy shops. The man successfully earned cryptocurrency worth $14.5 million only when the electricity board noticed abnormalities in the electricity supply followed by the police investigation.
Installing cryptomining tools for mining cryptocurrency at work may pose serious threats that could cause a number of technical issues such as introduction to malware, system malfunction due to incompatibilities or even damage to the system’s motherboard.