Illegal crypto-mining: Australian man could face 10 years in jail for illegally mining cryptocurrencies using government devices

An unnamed man from Killara in New South Wales, Australia, is being charged by the Australian authorities for making use of government computer systems to mine cryptocurrencies for self-gain. The man, formerly an Australian government employee, worked as an IT contractor and has been accused of converting government computers into cryptocurrency mining devices.

The man made himself more than A$9,000, according to an announcement by Australian Federal Police. The charges he is likely to face are the unauthorized modification of data to cause impairment and unauthorized modification of restrictive data. The charges, if proven in court, can result in a maximum of ten and two years of imprisonment, respectively.

According to Acting Commander Chris Goldsmid,

“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.”

Since cryptocurrency mining requires large amounts of electricity to run the corresponding mining equipment, government computers were specifically targeted by the accused individual.

However, this is not the first time government resources have been used for illegal crypto-mining purposes. Xu Xinghua, a Chinese man, was previously caught using electricity from a local railway operator and powering his Bitcoin mining rig. The man managed to steal $15,000 worth of electricity.

In another case, a Chinese school principal, Lei Hua was reported to have run an Ethereum mining rig at the cost of the school’s electricity bill. The principal was later fired.

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