Bureau of Meteorology staff questioned by AFP over cryptocurrency mining: Report

The ABC first reported that staff are being investigated by the Australian Federal Police for allegedly mining cryptocurrency on the bureau's computers.
Written by Asha Barbaschow, Contributor

It has been reported the Australian Federal Police (AFP) is investigating two Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) staff over allegations they were using the bureau's equipment to mine for cryptocurrency.

As first reported by the ABC on Thursday, two BOM IT employees are being investigated for allegedly running the operation using the bureau's "powerful computers".

AFP confirmed with ZDNet it executed a search warrant at the Docklands, Melbourne premises on February 28, 2018.

AFP also said the investigation is ongoing.

BOM received a new Cray XC-40 supercomputer in November 2016 to bolster the organisation's ability to predict the weather.

The Cray XC-40 supercomputer runs on a Linux-based operating system, specifically designed to run large, complex applications and scale efficiently to more than 500,000 processor cores.

It houses 2,160 compute nodes, with 51,840 Intel Xeon cores, 276TB of RAM, and a usable storage of 4.3PB.

The bureau announced in June 2015 that it had signed the AU$77 million contract with Cray to replace the ageing Sun Microsystems machine that was commissioned in 2013.

The BOM originally revealed its intentions to upgrade its supercomputer in August 2014, with the bureau's now-CEO Dr Rob Vertessy telling ZDNet at the time that implementing the new supercomputer will address two main issues of weather forecasting, and provide the system resilience that the organisation needs.


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