It is often said that the best things in life are free, but using your employer's electricity supply to extract cryptocurrencies is never a good idea. According to the Chinese publication HK01, a teacher from a school in Chenzhou, China, was captured using the institutions' electricity for their mining operations.
The story began when the culprit, Principle of the school, Lei Hua, bought 10,000 yuan of mining equipment. After recognizing the vast levels of energy required by the mines, Hua moved his mining platform into one of the school's in-house dormitories. Once profits began to roll, Hua spent another 40,000 Yuan on additional platforms, in order to increase his earning potential. However, with the dormitory unable to facilitate a mining facility of this magnitude, Hua decided to move her operations into the main school building.
Although electricity theft was able to go unnoticed for a plethora of months, other staff members began to notice that internal IT systems were somewhat slow. In addition, the report also states that staff members have complained that their computers were generating a significant amount of noise – something that is often the case with the extraction of cryptocurrencies.
As would be expected, once the individual was captured, the school quickly relived Hua of his academic duties. Although it was believed that the Vice-Principle of the school – Wang Zhipeng, was also involved in the operation, was able to maintain the position, albeit with an official warning.
It is not the first time that accusations of electricity theft have emerged for the purpose of cryptocurrency extraction.
Public officials, mining cryptocurrency and electricity theft
In early 2017, it was reported that Nicholas Berthaume, an employee of the Federal Reserve, would use the servers of the organization to extract Bitcoin. It is believed that the cheeky individual managed his mining activity within the Central Bank between 2012 and 2014. Although the employee was subsequently fined $ 5,000 and sentenced to one year of probation, two years of Bitcoin mining activity in a period when the competition was minimal would have potentially yielded to the individual a significant sum – at least in today's money.
Then, in 2014, it was reported that a head of computer systems at the New York Department of Education was caught red-handed in his attempt to extract Bitcoin. It was stated that Vladimir Ilyayex – the miner in question, installed a software client of data mining that had to be executed between 18:00 and 6:00. Subsequently, Ilyayex admitted to having monitored the mining program remotely from home. The individual not only lost his job, but also received a small fine of just over $ 600.
More recently, Matthew McDermott, an information manager at the Florida Department of Citrus, was arrested for official misconduct and large theft. Not only did the employee discreetly install the mining software on the department's computers, but he also used his state credit card to purchase GPUs worth over $ 22,000. An internal investigation began when the department noted that their electricity bills had increased by over 40%.
And finally, ABC News reported in March 2018 that two IT employees at the Australian Bureau of Meteorology were using organizations ultra-powerful processing systems to extract cryptocurrencies. It remains to be seen to what punishment the two unnamed individuals were used to, yet it was enough to ensure the attention of the Australian federal police. Ironically, the aforementioned Bureau were involved in an additional scam encrypted just a month earlier, as their Web site inadvertently showed advertisements related to a fraudulent Bitcoin investment scheme.
Ultimately, this should be a lesson for all of us. If you notice that your electricity consumption is going through the roof, someone could use your computer systems to extract cryptocurrencies!