Cryptocurrency mining is of great interest to a lot of individuals and companies as of right now. Some people will even go as far as to use work computers for this purpose. It seems two members of Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology are under investigation for mining cryptocurrencies with the bureau’s computing hardware.
Bureau of Meteorology Staff in the hot Seat
It is evident the concept of cryptocurrency mining can be rather lucrative under perfect circumstances. Access to powerful computers is one requirement, as is the need for cheap or free electricity. In the case of two staff members of the Bureau of Meteorology in Australia, both of these things were readily available. Unfortunately for them, those computers were not designed to be used for cryptocurrency mining.
Federal police officials executed a search warrant at the Bureau’s headquarters in Melbourne last week. Two IT employees were of great interest to the officers, as they are suspected of having used the bureau’s computers to mine cryptocurrency. One of the employees questioned has been forced to go on leave, although no charges have been filed against either individual at this point. It creates a rather interesting precedent which companies will need to keep a very close eye on.
Mining cryptocurrencies using the Bureau of Meteorology’s computers is not illegal per se. However, it is a misappropriation of governmental resources, which can lead to severe punishment in the form of fines and potentially even a jail sentence. Getting involved in such risky business just isn’t worth it, as it is impossible to hide all of the evidence. Cryptocurrency mining is a very hardware-intensive process, and the increasing use of resources will eventually raise questions.
It wouldn’t be the first time a scientist or IT employee at a government facility has used powerful computers to mine cryptocurrencies. Several scientists at the Russian nuclear warhead center used some of the computing power there to mine various cryptocurrencies, although most of the details were kept under tight wraps. The allure of cryptocurrency often gets the best of people, especially those in a prime position to abuse existing resources for personal gain.
For the time being, the investigation in Australia is still underway. As no official charges have been filed, it will be pretty interesting to see what the police can turn up in this regard. One possibility is that the bureau’s computers were infected by malware designed to mine cryptocurrency. Whether or not that malware was planted by the IT employees or an external source is a different matter altogether. There may be a lot more to this story than meets the eye at first.
The allure of cryptocurrencies is not waning by any means. Even though all currency prices have declined quite a bit from late 2017, general interest in this new form of money is not slowing down whatsoever. Unfortunately, this also means people will get a lot more creative when it comes to obtaining cryptocurrencies through various shortcuts.