Australian Federal Police held two IT staff from the Australian Bureau of Meteorology for allegedly mining cryptocurrencies using the organization’s robust computers.
According to the report, Australian Federal Police questioned two Bureau of Meteorology employees for using bureau’s computers to mine cryptocurrencies.
AFP officers produced a warrant at the bureau’s Collins Street headquarters in Melbourne on February 28. Remaining IT employees ushered into a conference room and told to cooperate till the questioning session ends.
The king of cryptocurrencies known as Bitcoin is created by computers to solve complicated mathematical formulas in a process known as “mining.” To accomplish the mining process, it requires more computational power.
The previous month, a team of scientist at a Russian nuclear warhead research center was imprisoning for using supercomputers to mine cryptocurrencies.
Hence, cryptocurrency mining is lawful, but mining cryptocurrency by using bureau’s supercomputer is unlawful.
Chris Berg from RMIT’s Blockchain Innovation Hub said
“If the employees were mining cryptocurrency, they might have been using the bureau’s computers to either avoid the significant electricity bills involved in mining, or they may have been taking advantage of the bureau’s powerful computational power.”
Additionally, he added
“One possibility is that they’re trying to use some of the equipment that the Bureau of Meteorology has. The Bureau of Meteorology has some high-speed 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”.
Hence, the Bureau of Meteorology has faced many challenges over security previously. In the year 2016, cybersecurity of Australian government discloses they had been hack by foreign spies. However who stole poached an “unknown quantity of documents”.
It is also reported in February 2018 that the website of the bureau was encouraging fake ads promoting Bitcoin scams.