A principal of a Chinese high school in Hunan was fired for allegedly stealing electricity from my cryptocurrency, according to the South China Morning Post.
According to local media, teachers became suspicious of "a buzz that continued day and night" and a huge electric bill: 14,700 yuan ($ 2,113 USD, £ 1,628) for about a year.
"Oh, that's just the air conditioners and the stoves!" Reported the principal, Lei Hua.
It is said that Lei Hua collected its first Ethereum mining facility for about 10,000 yuan (£ 1107, $ 1,437 USD) and started the extraction of cryptogens at her home in June 2017.
Like all those who know something about mining for Crypto will tell you, this has certainly led to a huge electricity bill. In fact, the machine consumed almost 21 kilowatt hours of electricity a day.
So, to save money on your electric bill, you would have transferred the car to the school where you were working. At the time the installation was discovered about a year later, it would connect seven other mining computers to the school's computer room. His deputy director allegedly remained involved in the mania, took a ninth machine for himself in January, and added it to her eight plants.
She was fired last month after the power theft was detected. His deputy received an official warning. The profits went farewell: a local authority responsible for "disciplinary inspection" would have seized the money you and your deputy would have made.
That computer room, with its nine mining computers of Ethereum buzzing, must have become quite smoky. Matthew Hickey, a computer security expert at Hacker House, told the BBC that he would be throbbing with all that power and activity:
The noise and heat of nine active mining machines would have been very evident.
Unfortunately, the cost of electricity really consumes profits and stealing it is a way in which people try to maximize their income, he said:
By avoiding these costs, it is possible to drastically improve the yields of a mining operation.
Energy costs are not the only thing that can eat in that sweet, sweet cryptogenin payoff. Here's another one: the collapse of cryptocurrency rates. Ethereum prices have dropped more than 70% from their peak in February and are currently trading at around $ 214 USD.
If you and your deputy are in fact guilty, they will not be the first to try to dig into the hole by stealing electricity. According to the SCMP, the Xinhua state news agency reported that the police arrested six people in northern Tianjin in April for stealing electricity from the local network to power 600 Bitcoin mining machines.
The BBC also reported in February that scientists were arrested for allegedly encrypting Bitcoin with supercomputers in a secret nuclear warhead, the same one that made the country's first nuclear bomb.
All this makes sense, in a criminal and fundamental way. To make real money with coin-mining, you need a lot of electricity to provide a lot of processing power on a lot of computers.
You have options: you can rent a space in a gigantic server farm for coin management – for example, in Iceland, where electricity is cheap, the weather is cold enough to prevent the collapse of your computers and where 39; mining was on its way to zapping more energy than families this year.
Then again, you can simply steal other people's electricity by connecting their stores. But as those who have been arrested for doing so certainly attest, this has the negative side of being evident.
This is one of the reasons why a new form of malware called cryptojacking has arisen: the theft of electricity, processing power and air conditioning, which inflicts malware that sneaks cryptominer into networks, browsers, coffee shops and more.
You pay the bills, the criminals pocket the proceeds – no computer detector, gangly cables, overheated computer rooms or constant buzzing involved.
If you're curious to learn more about criptomining malware, SophosLabs has published a technical report in January it offers a fascinating look at how much effort cybercriminals are willing to put in place to get their encryption code accepted in the Android Play Store, and then make it rubberstamped by Google.