Bureau Of Meteorology Staff Caught Mining Cryptocurrency After AFP Raid

Bureau Of Meteorology Staff Caught Mining Cryptocurrency After AFP Raid

Someone decides to run a sneaky cryptocurrency miner on their work PCs. Not the most honest thing to do, but sure, it’s not the end of the world. But what if those PCs are owned by the Bureau of Meteorology? For two unfortunate staffers in the BOM’s IT department, that’s when the Australian Federal Police gets involved.

On February 28, the AFP paid the BOM’s Melbourne headquarters a visit, after it was alleged the weather organisation’s “powerful computers” were being used for crypto-mining purposes, writes the ABC’s Dylan Welch.

According to the story, the AFP spoke to the BOM’s IT department and while no arrests were made or charges laid, one staff member went “on leave”.

Before you ask, no, they didn’t use the BOM’s Cray XC-40 supercomputer, which the bureau received back in 2016. Mining was done on desktop machines, the AFR’s Ben Potter clarified.

Rather than needed raw grunt, the culprits probably just wanted to save on power bills — cryptocurrency mining is not the most energy efficient endeavour, as the ABC’s article explains:

“One possibility is that they’re trying to use some of the equipment that the Bureau of Meteorology have. The Bureau of Meteorology has some very fast computers. Another possibility, though, is that they’re just trying to get the Bureau of Meteorology to pay for the electricity. Mining is a very electricity-intensive task and they probably didn’t want to pay for it themselves,” said [Dr Chris Berg, RMIT’s Blockchain Innovation Hub].

Thrifty, I guess, but not exactly environmentally-friendly.

[ABC, via ZDNet]

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