Tech

Dan Taylor

School principals in China busted mining crypto at work

Two enterprising principals of a school in China were found to have been using school resources to mine Ethereum (ETH), according to reports emerging in local media.

The principals were taken to task over the theft of electricity and processing power, which resulted in significant disruption to systems within the school over a period of several months from July to November.

According to reports from the HK01 network, the alarm was first raised at Puman Middle School in Hunan province when it was noted that school computers were making more noise than usual—even during school holidays and close days.

It was also noted that IT networks in the school had been running much slower than their usual pace, while the school’s energy consumption had almost doubled in just a few months.

The general manager at the school initially thought the problems were being caused by overuse of air conditions systems. However, it was subsequently discovered that senior management had installed no fewer than seven computers, set up specifically to mine ETH on school resources.

An investigation found that school principal, Lei Hua, and vice principal, Wang Zhipeng had installed the computer system worth $7,000 to mine the cryptocurrency, costing the school somewhere in the region of $2,165 in electricity over the period.

According to media reports, the principal had initially installed the system at home before becoming frustrated by the extent of the energy bills he was incurring as a result. The principal has since been removed from his post, with the vice principal reprimanded and given an official warning for their part in the swindle.

This is far from the first time an employee has attempted to use the resources of their employer for mining cryptocurrency. Back in March, employees of the Florida’s Department of Citrus were found to have used work resources for mining cryptocurrency, while employees at the Louisiana Attorney General’s office were also implicated in a similar scam.

While it might not seem as significant as other forms of workplace theft, mining cryptocurrencies in this way can incur significant energy and computing costs, which are ultimately illegitimately billed to their employer. These are just some of the high profile few that have been caught so far; however, it seems likely that this is a problem that will continue at workplaces worldwide, as crypto mining becomes more lucrative and accessible.

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