IT contractor allegedly abused government systems for cryptocurrency mining

The profits from the alleged mining operation are estimated to be worth more than AU$9,000.

A 33 year old man from Sydney was arrested and charged by the Australian Federal Police (AFP) for allegedly manipulating the computer programs of a federal governmental agency to mine cryptocurrency while being employed as a government IT contractor.

According to the AFP statement, the man had allegedly used the processing power of the agency's computer network to mine cryptocurrency. The profits from the alleged mining operation are estimated to be worth more than AU$9,000.

The man is set to appear in Sydney Local Court on Tuesday for two charges: Modifying data to cause impairment and modifying restricted data without authorisation. 

The charges carry a maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment and two years imprisonment, respectively.

Prior to the court appearance, AFP officers had conducted a search of the man's Sydney home on 5 March 2018, and seized a personal laptop, phone, employee ID cards, and "data files".

"Australian taxpayers put their trust in public officials to perform vital roles for our community with the utmost integrity. Any alleged criminal conduct which betrays this trust for personal gain will be investigated and prosecuted," AFP acting commander and manager of cybercrime operations Chris Goldsmid said.

A similar incident occurred in March last year, when it was reported that two Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) staff were being investigated over allegations they were using the bureau's equipment to mine cryptocurrency. The AFP confirmed that it had executed a search warrant of the BOM premises on 28 February 2018 for the investigation.  

During that same month, a Victorian man was arrested and charged for allegedly directing the operations of a criminal syndicate, which used cryptocurrency accounts for the sourcing, payment, and distribution of approximately 30 kilograms of drugs.

RELATED COVERAGE

Victorian man arrested in connection to cryptocurrency-related drug syndicate

The 27 year-old has been charged with drug importation offenses, allegedly aided through the use of the 'dark net' and funded in part by cryptocurrency.

Australian woman arrested over AU$450,000 Ripple theft

The woman allegedly 'stole' 100,000 units of the cryptocurrency.

PSA: Tax authorities are not going to ask you to go to a bitcoin ATM

The warning comes after four people lost AU$50,000 to the cryptocurrency scam.

2018's most high-profile cryptocurrency catastrophes and cyberattacks

We explore the worst high-profile cyberattacks, data breaches, vulnerabilities, and cases of fraud to strike the cryptocurrency space over 2018.

BOM claims coincidence in pair of cryptocurrency-related incidents

The Bureau of Meteorology pulled 'fake news' bitcoin advertisements and helped the AFP with its investigations into staff mining cryptocurrency in February 2018, but its CEO said the incidents weren't relate

Twitter CEO: Bitcoin will be world's 'single currency' within 10 years (TechRepublic)

The cryptocurrency, and its underpinning blockchain, have serious implications for the business world, too.