An IT contractor is under fire for allegedly using government computer networks to mine cryptocurrency.
When Crypto Doesn’t Belong
A 33-year-old man in Sydney, Australia was charged by the Australian Federal Police (AFP) force for utilizing government-based equipment and laptops to mine digital currencies while serving as a tech contractor. It is estimated that the man earned more than $9,000 in Australian dollars through mining.
He is set to appear today in an Australian court. He is facing two criminal counts, including one for restricting data without authorization, and one for modifying data to “cause impairment.” If found guilty, he could face up to 12 years in an Australian prison.
Federal officials have also raided the mans home and confiscated several pieces of personal equipment including a cell phone, employee ID cards, a laptop and several “data files.”
AFP acting commander and manager of cybercrime operations Chris Goldsmid expressed his disappointment in the situation, saying that government agents in Australia should be trustworthy and shouldn’t play around with data that isn’t theirs. He states:
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.
Australia seems to be a haven for crypto-related crime. Recently, Live Bitcoin News reported that officials within the country had busted a drug ring that was comprised of three leading individuals, two of which were former crypto entrepreneurs.
In March of last year, two Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) staff members were being investigated on charges of “using the bureau’s equipment to mine crypto.” A search warrant was issued in February of 2018, and the BOM premises were being investigated.
Several other instances have occurred in Australia as of late, including a 27-year-old man who had been charged with drug-related offenses. He is being investigated for potentially running a dark net site that was being at least partially funded by cryptocurrency. In addition, a woman in Australia has been arrested for stealing over $450,000 worth of Ripple.
Scams, Scams and More Scams
Overall, approximately 100,000 units were taken through what has become an ongoing scam, and many authorities are advising traders and crypto enthusiasts not to use any of Australia’s bitcoin ATMs due to fraudulent activity that has thus far resulted in over $5,000 being stolen.
It’s strange that Australia is such a target for crypto-crime. Either criminals feel they won’t get caught, or not enough regulation exists within the country to nail all those who commit fraud, and the few arrests and charges made are relatively slim in comparison to what’s going on. Either way, every wave of negative cryptocurrency energy is likely to take the industry away from full legitimacy.